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Great Britain’s Junior Men (U17) enjoy a successful training camp in Walsall ahead of their end-June Euro Qualifiers. -

Following a very successful training camp in Manchester on the 22nd and 23rd May 2021, the reduced GBR squad of 22 players (18 outfield and 4 goalkeepers) came together for another round of intensive training between Saturday 29th May – 4th June 2021 in Walsall. The aim of this camp was not only to finalise the selection of the team that will represent GBR Junior Men in the U17 European Water Polo Championship qualification tournament which will take place in Maribor, Slovenia between 24th – 27th June 2021, but also to embed the team’s tactical approach with the players, coaches and Team Management.

The enforced period of time this squad has spent out of water owing to COVID-19 restrictions has been used effectively to maintain fitness by way of regular strength and conditioning (S&C) training under the direction of S&C Coach Callum Benson. The squad has also spent many hours on ‘Zoom’ together developing their tactics with HC Claudio Palumbo and ACs Steve Bond, Dariusz Kadziak and John Halstead, analyzing high level international games played in the last few years in order to develop a set of tactics which the coaches feel will equip the players to deal with the different challenges which they will face against Russia, Romania, Slovenia and Austria in the forthcoming qualifying tournament.

Team Manager Terri Halstead spent many hours ensuring that the squad had sufficient pool time to augment the fitness regimes and practice tactical play. During the week, gym work at Walsall Gala Baths was complimented by Sports Psychology sessions delivered remotely by Laura Kiemle-Gabby and Lucy Ballinger, who have been expertly supporting this squad for the last 16 months in preparation for the qualifying competition.

With team cohesion and camaraderie likely to be such an important part of this team reaching its potential, especially as in all likelihood the qualifying competition will be played in line with the strict LEN COVID-19 sanitization rules and in a COVID-19 secure bubble environment, the squad stayed together in a nearby hotel, ate together (in groups of 6) each evening and following dinner undertook additional tactic sessions.

Across the 7 day training camp, the players trained in the pool at Walsall for at least 4 hours on 6 of the days.

On the Bank Holiday Monday (31st May), while the squad had a rest from the pool, they completed further S&C training, were trained by a sports psychology on visualisation techniques and enjoyed the much anticipated Team Building challenges, run by  an experienced Physical Training Instructor from the RAF.

Many thanks to Claudio Palumbo, Steve Bond, John Halstead, Dariusz Kadziak and Terri Halstead for the info and images

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