Always Room for Improvement

Bernard Chen, Asst. News Editor

With the creation of a new water polo team at Diamond Bar comes the difficulties of inexperienced but devoted players. Despite the many losses that DBHS’ water polo has fought through, there is still hope for improvement and a better future.

“It’s tough for a new sports team to transition into something great, especially when you concern the rigor that comes with water polo. However, the traditions and foundations are being set and the ‘family feel’ of the team is starting to get there. Coach [Alexander] Matal, Coach [Kevin] Hammond, and I all believe in the potential this team has,” senior Derek Peng, one of the captains of the varsity team, said.

The team is already progressing rapidly, especially from the small number of experienced players at the beginning of the year. Of the 60 players, only three were trained in the sport before the formation of the team.

“The team has been great as far as attitude towards learning and wanting to improve. For [this] season, it’s going to be tough for us in league because the teams in our league have had water polo programs for many years. Plus, they have club players which is a huge advantage,” Diego Hammond, one of the few experienced players, said.

Therefore, as with any other developing organization, the water polo team must learn from its losses to build a winning team, pinpointing the opponents’ strategies and skills that may help them in upcoming games. This type of improvement is encouraged by the coaches.

During these post-game practices, the coaching staff meets with the team to discuss the areas that need improvement and to ensure that the players learn from their mistakes. From these weaknesses, the coaches are able to structure practices made to improve upon the skills that are most lacking.

“It’s true that most of our games have been losses. However, half of the losses were only lost by one point. The team has much to learn, and I believe failure is the first step to success. Sure, we’ll experience the bitter taste of defeat, but we learned that no matter how hard we get hit, it’s all about coming back up again,” Peng said.

Matal is making plans for year-round training as well as a youth program to help feed players into the Diamond Bar program.

“[The team is] progressing every game that they play. [They use] these games as motivation to continue to improve and strive to be competitive in their future games,” coach Matal said.
Funds are also a necessary factor as the players plan to raise money to support the team. One of coach Matal’s long-term goals is to create one of the most distinguished and premiere water polo programs in the area.

“Our team really does have a wide and optimistic view of the future. We hope to gather enough funds for more water polo equipment and become a serious contender in state games,” Peng said.