Frequently Asked Questions
When does the season start?
Club water polo is played all year round. There are programs in each of the four seasons for all age groups. Below are the times when each season begins and ends.
- Spring Season: February-April
- Summer Season: May-July/Early August
- Fall Season: August-November
- Winter Season: November-January
Can a player join in at any time?
We welcome players of all levels, from novice to advanced. A player can join in any session at any time. We will prorate the registration fees accordingly. For the younger players, we also have beginner Splashball Programs (6th Grade & Younger). Anyone can try out the club before they need to complete registration. If the player is not officially registered, a parent must remain at the pool at all times while their child is in the water.
What if a player has never played water polo before and knows nothing about the game?
That’s why we’re here! Part of Thunder Water Polo’s mission is to promote the sport of water polo. For the younger players, we also have beginner Splashball Programs (6th Grade & Younger) which introduces the basics and focuses on fun and development. For the newer player with basic swimming skills, the best way to learn the game is to just “jump in!” We have players of all levels. Coaches will help to get new players started, but water polo is one of those games that is best learned by playing! You just need a few basic skills which can be learned quickly. No experience is necessary to play.
What is Splash Ball?
Splash Ball is a non-contact kid friendly version of water polo played in a shallow pool and/or with a noodle for support. All the fundamentals of water polo will be taught in a fun and safe atmosphere. We have Splashball programs for 6th Grade & Younger/12u athletes at all the Thunder Water Polo Practice Locations seasonally. Splashball is designed to introduce the sport of water polo to children who are 12u. The intent is to provide basic skills and understanding of the sport in a recreational format. Although water polo is known for its toughness and endurance, Splashball harnesses all the fun, dynamic aspects of the game in a safe, easy to learn aquatic experience that will motivate kids to swim and stay fit.
What is the difference between League Game Days and Weekend Tournaments?
The North Texas Water Polo Leagues are competed each season of the year with various age groups and divisions (a little different each season). For the League Game Days, the different practice locations throughout the DFW area compete. All league fees are included in each season’s club dues.
For “weekend tournaments”, all athletes from the Southlake, Grapevine, Flower Mound, and Denton programs will come together and play as Thunder Water Polo. Participation is optional for the “weekend tournaments”. The idea is that athletes don’t have to go, but if they want to and are able to do so, the opportunity is there for them. For the “weekend tournaments”, there will be additional tournament entry fees, travel costs, USA Water Polo membership fees, etc. We enter as many teams as needed into these tournaments to maximize playing opportunities for everyone.
When do I need to sign up for USA Water Polo?
An athlete’s club seasonal dues pay for practices, pool rental, coaching, equipment, and league entry fees. If an athlete chooses to play in a “weekend tournament”, we require athletes to sign up as a Silver or Gold Member of USA Water Polo. If an athlete participates in the Southwest Zone Championship in Early June and/or the National Junior Olympics, athletes will need to be Gold Members of USA Water Polo.
Why do I have to join USA Water Polo as well as pay the Thunder Water Polo registration fees?
USA Water Polo is the national governing body for the sport of water polo. It is under the auspices of the United States Olympic Committee. We require membership in USA Water Polo for those playing in “weekend tournaments” for insurance purposes. In addition, a player cannot be rostered for “weekend tournaments” unless your USA Water Polo membership is valid.
About USA Water Polo
USA Water Polo, Inc. is the national governing body for water polo in America , overseeing our United States Olympic program as well as 20 different championship events annually, such as the National Junior Olympics, Men’s and Women’s National Championships, and Masters Open Championships. With more than 35,000 members, USAWP is also the sanctioning authority for more than 400 tournaments nationwide. USAWP is committed to the development of the sport nationwide. It fosters grass-roots expansion of the sport, providing a national system of affiliated clubs, certified coaches and officials.
What are the “Age Groups” and when does a player move up?
For the Fall, Winter, and Spring Seasons (the school year), age groups are based on an athlete’s year in school (Example: 8th Grade & Younger). For the Summer Season, age groups are determined by their age (18U, 16U, 14U, 12U, 10U). An athlete’s age each summer is determined by their age on August 1st. For example an athlete who turns 17 on June 29th, their age for the entire summer season will be 17 and that athletes would be placed in the 18U Age Group.
What can a player do to maximize his or her potential?
Make sure to attend as many practices and competitions as possible. A player will develop skills, as in all sports, by working hard, having good attendance, really listening to the coaches, and asking questions. We have the best coaching staff in Texas. They all know what they are talking about! The coaches goal is to not just coach a player what to do but to also teach the player WHY they are doing skills, drills, team concepts, etc. If a player would like to take his or her game “up a notch,” one of the best things to do would be to join a swim team concurrently.
What kind of equipment do I need to start out?
Boys just need a speedo style suit or jammers while girls just need to use to bring a regular swim suit (swim caps are optional). Goggles are optional for the athletes (we are not a swim team). We will do short warm-ups at the beginning where goggles could be used. Goggles do need to come off once the balls are in the water polo. If you are new to Thunder Water Polo, there will be seasonal opportunities to purchase team suits, t-shirts, hoodies, backpacks, sweats, etc. Don’t forget to bring a towel!
What if my son isn’t comfortable wearing a Speedo (brief)?
That’s OK, he can start out wearing a jammer, but will eventually have to make the transition to a regular water polo suit. Don’t worry, it will happen!
What are the Black, Silver, and Yellow teams?
For weekend tournaments, we enter as many teams as needed to maximize playing opportunities for everyone. We strive to give all players tournament opportunities and since we have players at all levels, we often have teams that are designated “Black, Silver or Yellow”. Roster decisions are made solely by the coaches (not by the team coordinators or parents). If there are any questions with regard to rosters, players should discuss this with their coaches. Rosters are made up taking the following into consideration: practice participation, giving all players an opportunity to compete, dedication, focus, & skill level. Players should feel free to ask their coaches for feedback and ways to improve their game.
What if I have to miss a practice or tournament?
You will get as much out of the club as you put in. The more an athlete plays the better the athletes will become. If you will be missing a practice, just let the coach know before or after. There is no need to contact a coach immediately with regard to missing a practice. We all understand that life intrudes on water polo sometimes and that homework and family occasionally prevent attendance at practice and competitions.
What happens if there is a schedule change?
Water polo is a very fluid sport. Schedules tend to come out late and change frequently. The club does it’s best to notify our members of any changes, but it is the player’s responsibility to monitor the website for any changes. The final responsibility lies with the player!
What happens if I only want to train and not enter tournaments yet?
Athletes are free to play as much as can. We encourage participation in as much as possible. Athletes will choose to play in weekend tournaments. All athletes will be listed on a roster for the League Game Days. Bear in mind though, that one of the best ways to learn the game is to play in it!
How much training is there? Can I attend training at any of the satellites?
One of the strengths of Thunder Water Polo, is that we have three major practice areas: Southlake-Grapevine, Flower Mound and Denton. Generally, 2 week night training sessions per age group are available at each our satellites. With your club seasonal dues, athletes are entitled to train at any and all of the practice locations. Attend the local practice locations and make the other practice locations when you can. The training schedule is on the website and should be checked often as occasionally, changes and cancellations occur .
What is common training?
Common training is an opportunity for players from all practice locations, to train together. These trainings are some of the most important to attend, as you will be with all of the players from your age group in addition to your head coach for each age group. These trainings are posted on the website and are held periodically each season.