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Covering Water Polo

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by biggy0125, Mar 19, 2015.

  1. biggy0125

    biggy0125 Member

    Drew my first water polo assignment this afternoon and I was curious to know how those of you with experience have handled prep water polo coverage. Game is tonight at 6 PM CDT, so I expect to wing it a bit out there and load my gamer with quotes, but I hope to draw at least a few more water polo gigs this spring (provided I don't bomb this one) and I'd love to get a better understanding of covering the sport.

    Any insight would be appreciated.
  2. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    Water polo's simple, one of my favorite sports to cover outside football, basketball and baseball/softball.

    There's six field players and one goaltender. One of the field players sets up in the middle right in front of the goal and directs the offense, much like a point guard in basketball. He/she is called the 2-meter player or hole set. The other five are called field players or drivers.

    There will be a lot of whistles blowing when fouls occur. Don't worry about keeping track of them. A flagrant-enough foul, and one team will be in a man-up situation for about 20-25 seconds, or until the ball is turned over. It's similar to a power play in hockey. An even-more flagrant foul will merit a penalty, or 5-meter, shot. Again, like hockey, shooter and goaltender mano-a-mano.

    And, of course, have fun.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2015
  3. biggy0125

    biggy0125 Member

    Ya, it was definitely an easy follow and I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. I knew enough of the basics going in to ask a couple moderately pointed questions, but I think my big obstacle now is developing a deeper understanding of some of the technical aspects of the game. I've always felt like talking strategy in post-game elicits more engaging dialogue and gives a gamer a lot of color, especially in instances where space is tight and I don't get to add much color myself.

    Anyways, I appreciate the help and I'd still love to hear any advice anybody might have on how they cover the sport. Here's my gamer from last night for a frame of reference to where I'm at right now. Keep in mind, I'm in the whiparound so I only get about 400 words.

    Neuqua Valley rallies to beat Waubonsie Valley - DailyHerald.com
  4. Mr. Sunshine

    Mr. Sunshine Well-Known Member

    What did you think of the horses?
  5. biggy0125

    biggy0125 Member

    They were a tough interview.
  6. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    If you find yourself covering a lot of local water polo, you'll start to notice certain referees that are used a lot in the area games. If there's one in particular that you notice, or who you know also coaches a team (some high school coaches also may be refs/umpires, often for the college-, and even junior-national and national-team levels), I'd try to talk to them/get to know them a little bit, and get a contact phone number, so you can use him as a resource when needed.

    In an esoteric sport like water polo, that is more technical than it seems, and where there are a lot of little-known rules and unseen, underwater action, it can be really helpful to have a knowledgeable voice to talk to in order to add details and depth, particularly with regard to technical aspects or stories related to club- or elite-level games/athletes.

    I had one referee/coach who was always a tremendous, knowledgeable, articulate source for me when it came to water polo. He was somebody who worked high-level, even Olympic, games, as well as being a coach of a successful high school team and serving as a referee on the local scene. So, although I didn't turn to him real often for rules/elite insider type stuff, I could, and I did, when needed, and it always added great nuance to the stories.

    People connected to the so-called "minor" sports, even the refs, are often very open, knowledgeable and willing to share. I always loved covering them, and water polo actually got to become a particular favorite.
  7. Tucsondriver

    Tucsondriver Member

    Don't stress. Water polo is a fucking cool sport. Fun to watch. Not a lot of pressure. Relatively easy to keep stats (or grab/confirm from scorekeeper). Athletes/coaches appreciate the coverage too. Enjoy!
  8. Kmac7

    Kmac7 Member

    * AP style states that numbers under 10 be spelled out.

    * the Neuqua Valley girls water polo team is an it, not a they

    * try not to write in passive voice. (IE Waubonsie sophomore goalie Nicole Conway had turned away 14 shots to that point and the Warriors defense had been stout.)

    * Koopman got a great look? What does that mean? Is it an open look? Was it close? describe the play.

    * Good job explaining why the game started early.
  9. biggy0125

    biggy0125 Member

    Thanks for the critique. The numbers thing is a Daily Herald decision and I'm not really privileged as to why, but from what I've seen in the four months I've been stringing for the DH, it appears that the idea is to use the numerical in reference to any statistic or score.
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