CT Premier WPC is excited to bring the 6-8 Challenge to our players. The 6-8 Challenge was designed by Tony Azevedo, 5-time U.S. Olympian and Olympic Silver Medalist, and Maggie Steffens, 2-time U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist, to give players an objective look at their fundamental water polo skills. Based on the scores of each challenge, players, coaches and parents have a measure of the athlete’s strengths and weaknesses. With this objective information about their skills, players can access tools designed by 6-8 Sports to better understand where to focus their efforts and how to improve their fundamental water polo skills. Taking the Challenge at various points in time also lets players know how much and where their efforts are paying off.
The 6-8 Challenge Skills Assessments
Results show the speed of an athlete’s shot. Tony & Maggie are not big proponents of shot speed but when looking for potential talent, an extremely fast shot can show promise if the athlete also scores high on a few of the other exercises.
Results gauge how high the athlete can jump out of the water. This shows leg explosion, strength and the potential for an athlete to shoot, block or steal the ball in a game situation.
In water polo, athletes mostly work over the hips. The better players in the world are experts at using a minimum number of strokes and mostly utilizing legs. If results are low (higher time) players know they need to focus on these specific drills. This is one of the most important drills to learn in our sport and one that younger players need to focus on.
Demonstrates the athlete’s ability to not only move laterally over their hips but to see their comfort level swimming with the ball. You can be fast in our sport but being able to zig zag stop and go with the ball is more relevant. A faster time means the athlete is comfortable swimming with the ball in all directions and has good lateral movement.
Medicine Ball Hold
This tests an athlete’s pure leg strength. A coach will be able to see when the athlete doesn’t spread his/her legs wide enough or when his/her leg strength is low. Strong leg strength is absolutely necessary in water polo. It is hard to excel in college and beyond without above average results in this test.
12.5 M Sprint
Results show how fast/quick an athlete is in water polo swimming. Not being able to use the wall to push off, this is the most relevant sprint in our sport. Many people have fast swim times but lack this explosiveness over the hips to get open on a counter attack or drive. Tony always says that at 12.5 meters with a water polo start he would beat Michael Phelps!
This drill tests an athlete’s passing strength and accuracy. In water polo, athletes need to be able to make long and accurate passes under pressure.
Note: goalies can pass through any of the above drills (it’s up to the coach) but the common ones are Vertical Jump, Med Ball Hold, 12.5 M Sprint and Passing. They also do an additional 3 goalie-specific drills:
25 M Breaststroke Sprint
This is a standard goalie test using breaststroke. It indicates the goalie’s leg strength and explosiveness.
Goalie 8 Touch
Evaluates the over-the-hip lateral movements and quickness/effectiveness of goalie’s movements.
Goalie 4 Corner
Evaluates the goalie’s full range of motion and ability to go laterally both high and low.