S1E3 – Matthew “Mundy” Mundelius

Matthew “Mundy” Mundelius is the current club director for 680 Drivers… based out of Northern California they have had success at every level both in men's, women's and age group water polo. At the 2021 JOs were on the podium in 6 of 9 of the championship groups.

A few accomplishments:

680 Co-Founder 2017 to Present | Technical Director 2007 to 2017 | 14u Boys Head Coach 2000 to 2006 | Founder and Head Director of Danville Boulevards Water Polo Club 2000 to 2006 | Head Men’s Varsity Coach: San Ramon Valley High School 1997 to 1999 | Women’s Varsity Coach: San Ramon Valley High School Coached numerous High School All-Americans 1978 Montair Field Day Winner (3 legged race partner James Wright)

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Podcast Transcript

And and he turned around, we're in a in a, you know, a conference room there at Stanford, he turns around and he looks right on me. He goes, I do not understand this question. What is off season? And everybody's looking at him like. And one of the panelists, I don't know if it was Brenda or Adam, just like jumped up and was basically like, you know, after the high school season because factors like there is no off season, I don't understand.

Hey, this is Shawn Stringham with game on Live Studio. We're all about helping grow the sport of water polo through understanding best practices from the perspectives of athletes, parents, coaches and the legends of water polo. If you're looking to get into water polo or want to see water polo grow as an athlete, supporter or coach of the game, then you should subscribe. Click on the bell and get notified every time we release a new podcast game on. All right, we'd like to welcome Matthew Mondello's to or Mondi to the show with us here today on Game on the Water Polo Pod. Matthew is currently and correct me if I'm wrong here, the club director for the six 80 drivers. They are based out of Northern California, where they have had success at just about every level I age group, high school, older kids, men's women's at the recent junior Olympics. Here this is being recorded in twenty twenty one and and Joes. They had a podium in six of the nine championship groups. So welcome, Matthew. Thanks for joining us here today.

Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

My pleasure. My pleasure. A few couple of bullets here about Matthew. He's the Six Eighty Driver's co-founder, currently the technical director as well, has coached high school as well as club. There's a list of things and I'll let you kind of fill that in. But what I was most proud of as I was looking through your bio is that you were the nineteen seventy eight Montclair, a field day winner in the three legged race. So I thought that was pretty legit.

It was. We were definitely. We were definitely the underdogs. So James James, right? And I pulled it off. I'm sure when when people Google James right, they get find that.

So Sean does his research. I don't run for office, man.

You know, if you put it on your web page, it's fair game. That's all I see.

Yeah, that's why I had a good time with my bio. Because if people are going, you know, reading my bio to join six 80, then I like to give them a little humor there.

Yeah. The other thing that I think that we have in common is that we're both Eagle Scouts, so that that goes a long way, as I appreciate that you have that there on your bio. That's one thing that my mom and dad always said is that they'll always comment like, you're an Eagle Scout. Yeah, it's true. It's true. So congratulations on that. Thank you. So on that intro, is there anything else that you'd like to highlight in terms of your your background in water polo or kind of your roles and club and high school roles in the sport?

Yeah, I'll just say like my my path to water polo was. Probably a unique one. I'm the youngest of four boys, we moved out from Michigan when I was four to California, so I had the luxury of getting into swimming very early where my other brothers, they were football based and baseball based. So moving to California at age four, I got a chance to start swimming and I played all sorts of different sports, baseball, soccer and I was swimming all year round. But I was always jumping at the chance to play football like my older brothers. And so sixth grade I went out for Pop Warner Football and that was such an intense sport and we had a really competitive team here in our area that I had to stop swimming all year round. So but that was OK by me. I wanted to play football. I wanted to see if I could take a hit and a tackle and hit guys and see what that was all about. So I played football. Sixth grade, seventh grade in eighth grade. And then I played my freshman year in high school. And then at that point, people were talking to me about water polo. The club scene wasn't really that big when I was playing.

And so they talked me. I was a lineman. I came into high school. I was like five for one hundred and fifty pounds. I was the second slowest on the team and you know, I could. I had good technique from my Pop Warner day, so I ended up starting my freshman year and had really a good time in football, great buddies. And then guys were talking to me about water polo and my background, and I was a baseball player and, you know, I was still swimming in the summer and they were like, Hey, you know, if you come out for water polo, you just go in front of the goal a couple meters out and we'll just give you the ball and turn around and shoot it, shoot it. And I was a sinner, so I was used to snap on the ball between my legs. I never scored a touchdown. I wouldn't catch a ball. I wasn't running back, so I was like, I get to actually score. Yeah, so and it was during the spring of my freshman year when we were doing some double days and and it was about 100 100 degrees out there and and I had snapped we had a broad jump, a hurdle as one of our plyometrics.

And so I had a two inch vertical leap and I looked I looked at the women's hurdle and I'm like, I'm not going to make it over this thing. And sure enough, I jump over it and my butt doesn't clear it and I snap it. And then all the guys started bunny hopping over it. The coaches are screaming at me, they're making me run. I'm like, Right? I'm like, Maybe this water polo thing would be a good, good, good choice here. So I switched over my sophomore year, so I came to it really late. Wow. So, you know, and and I was an Eagle Scout, I was doing all that stuff and and what I loved about water polo is that it still had the physicality of football. And but it was, you know, the swimming and and you know, it was nice being in the water. I had a tan instead of having, you know, acne all over my face and all that stuff. And so I really enjoyed it. It was a great transition for me and I combined a lot of sports that I loved. So that's I mean,

It's really interesting. I think a lot of athletes that are now what we'll call of the older generation. That's I've heard that story before, right? You're swimming in the summertime, just kind of making sure your water is safe, maybe playing baseball. You just essentially explained my story as well, right? Where you come into it. Your freshman year, sophomore year is like, this is the best sport of all time, right? And it's been interesting to see how maybe that has changed. Where we're seeing kids now in young is splash ball, you know, five, six, seven years old. It'll be interesting to see how that affects the sport long term because they're not getting that as much. There's much more specialized, right as opposed to that up front, you know, getting multiple sports. Do you within your team now? Do you do you preach kids to go out and try to a couple of different sports before they commit?

Well, that's really hard. I mean, we're we're part of the problem because we run four seasons and we like to be competitive. And so we we like to think our program is there for those that want to compete all four seasons and want to raise their level. And then we have those that are trying it out on a season by season basis. So it depends on the age, right? I mean, I think at the younger ages, they should be playing multiple sports. We try to balance it. And, you know, as they get, I would say, into junior high, they start gravitating more towards the sports that they like. Yeah, and unfortunately, at times they they might gravitate towards a sport that they excel at, not necessarily that they like. So that's always a trap to wear because as you as you advance through and you get into high school and especially at the collegiate level, if you don't love it, then you know, it's very, very difficult. It's like, you know, in baseball, when you make an error, you know that next ball is coming at you, right? I mean, it just has a way of coming at you. So you know, it's. It's part of just kind of the way things are now with people specializing, we try to balance it out. But it's it's not very frequent anymore. You don't see a lot of multisport basket Letterman in high school. It's either, you know, polo swimming or you might get the occasional basketball player or baseball player, but it's pretty rare these days.

But I mean, I love it in our club because you're we're still trying to grow it and create the awareness of the kids that are walking on deck that are 11 12 years old and say, Do you have played other sports? And it's like, Oh yeah, I play baseball. It's like, fantastic. Welcome to the team, right? Yeah. Welcome to the team.

So I really like the fact that you guys offer the splash ball and focus on the younger kids because you're going to attract some of the true athletes and get them exposed to it early on rather than just the kid, not just the kids that couldn't make other teams. So I think introducing it to them is great. But then the same time, allowing them to, you know, be kids and write and be seasonal and not hold it against them. You know, having that. And you have multiple teams, right? You have a team and a B team. So the level of commitment during off season, you know, will show on which team you end up on, but still giving everybody a chance to play.

Yeah. And the you know, the hard part is is that these kids start baseball when it's five, five years old, T-ball or whatever it is, they start swimming at five. They start, they start soccer at five. You know, these other sports where they'll come to water polo at nine or 10 and they get in there and it's really tough. It's a really tough sport to learn, you know, and we when we talk to people, they're always like, Well, you know, Junior is a really strong backyard swimmer. And it's like, OK, yeah, that's great. But like, you need to be able to do a twenty five without grabbing the wall. You need to be able to do this. You need to be able to tread water for a minute. You know, if you're a beta isn't isn't proficient, that's OK, but you need to stay afloat for a minute. And so that's the hard part is that kids come in with successes in these other sports and they're, you know, a legit swimmer or they're the baseball stud shortstop or, you know, they're the great basketball player. And then they come in to water polo and they struggle. And it's always and people are competitive and you start going to games and they see their kids struggle and it's like, it's OK. It just takes some time. Yeah, but that's that's really critical as a program when you get kids introduced is that you have a good development program. You teach them the right skills right from the get go and you don't expose them to the competition until too early. You know, you don't want to be too early on that.

Yeah. I love it without being self-conscious. Yeah, because at that age, you know, like you're saying, kids are aware of of what they're doing and think that everyone's kind of watching them. And you know, there's adults. They can't transition to a difficult sport like water polo, regardless of how athletic they are in land based sports. Right?

Very good. Hey, well, I want to talk a little bit about 680 drivers, the club itself. So you've you've been involved in club water polo for a long time. Just give us an outline of how six eighty came because you've had success as a club and just I want to try to not necessarily pick it apart as the wrong word. But what are the strategic pieces that you have put in over the last several years to have it be as successful as it has been?

Yeah. So before we started six eighty, I was running a high school program, San Ramon Valley. And so for me, I was getting the kids freshman year and I wanted to back it up. So when they came to me, they had fundamentals. And so I started my own club team that was primarily focused on Danville kids that would eventually go into San Ramon Valley. And so it was a good feeder system and allowed me to get some base fundamentals to them at an earlier age. So by the time they hit high school that we were enhancing and building on the foundation rather than starting from scratch, right? And so I did that up until 2006, and that was my last year at the high school. I had been running pools. My old pool at my high school was a shallow, deep pool. Mm hmm. So I would rent every pool I could get my hands on in the area. That was all deep. And so, you know, I would talk to my aide and I would raise funds to rent these pools, and my ad would would be like, why we have a pool? And he was the basketball coach. And I'm like, John, this is like playing basketball in a five foot hoop, right? And he's like, Well, you can't do that. And I said, Yeah, that's why I'm running the pools. Like, I got to get my kids, you know, the proper proper training and we need to play in an all deep pool. So during that time, I was renting Las Lomas High School and skip man Steve Mann was the head coach there. So we got to talk and then we would play each other every year.

We just started talking over the years, and so I think in 2006 I had approached Skip and said, Hey, you know, I've got a really good group of kids, you. Got a really good group of kids, but we were thin on the depth, and that's really where I wanted to go with 680 is that my one through six guys were always really competitive. But when you would go to these national tournaments, we would get beat by these clubs that had seven through 12. And not only that, but their B team was legit. And so at that point I was I was done coaching high school and I wanted to get a bigger footprint on a national level and start exposing our area to that higher level water polo. And so Skip was running East Bay and I was running Danville Boulevard. So that's when we decided to merge and really try to open up the area and try to, you know, provide a program that was entry level to those that were trying it and then also really be able to push those kids to the next level. And for club, for us, that's, you know, trying to get them to that collegiate level, if that's what they choose. And so we came together and, you know, over the years, we've we've we've had a fair amount of numbers. And so the hardest part for any club is finding quality coaching. And so that's always a struggle. We're always trying to find coaches. And I would say the real struggle is most of the kids coming out of college, you know, when they when they're done college, they they want to come in and they want to coach 18 days or they want to coach 16 days.

And so really, the tough coach to find is that development coach, that coach that is willing to work with, let's say, you know, in a 12 and under program, they're willing to work with the elevenths that are moving up from 10s to 12. And, you know, usually you'll have one or two kids that can make a jump from the younger age group to the next age group and beyond the 18. It's not frequent, but it happens. But really, you have to have that coach that can develop that younger age group. So the next year you don't have those peaks and valleys, you're consistent and that you're building from one year to the next. And that's really something that we've been striving over the last couple of years is that we want to be consistent. We want to have a set foundation. So when the kids move from 10s to 12s and 12 to 14, those coaches at those higher levels or higher age levels can look back and go, OK, I know that they have this set foundation of skills, right? So now I can move on. And so, you know, that's where we've been evolving as a club is trying to a bring in, you know, a lot of coaches and really train them as much as we can. You know, we have to provide our kids development opportunities. But you know, almost more importantly, we have to provide those to our coaches so then they can develop the players, right? And that's really what we've been striving for.

Matthew, do you as a club director, do you meet with your individual coaches? And if so, how frequently?

Yeah, that's something that we need to do a better job. It's finding the time we've done Zoom calls and we have met in person. We brought in Kirk Everest as our chief technical director because we just felt like if you're if you're a young coach and you want to get better, you know, to learn from a collegiate coach is super important. And so, yeah, for us, the next step, Janai is going to be more reviews and performance and going over it by season, by season, we have done it. And it's just being more consistent with it now with the Zoom, it makes it easier. It's really hard. We're most of our coaches. Yeah, I think pretty much 100 percent of them are have other jobs. They're not full time coaches. So working around people's schedules and trying to find that time is very difficult. So we do talk on a lot, you know, frequent basis. It's not necessarily like, OK, Jenny, I want you to work on these five things. We just talk about water polo. So, yeah, I think the next the next evolution for six eighty is is to be able to have those evaluations on a more consistent basis.

Within the six 80 structure of teams, so if an athlete advances from the 10s into the 12s or the 12s into the 14s you had mentioned, like 11 is hard, right when you're transitioning and 13 is also hard when you're transitioning. So are those athletes. You have a couple of those athletes that maybe make the 18, but you generally have it in an A and a B team in those in those divisions. So the 13 year olds have a place to play in. The four teams are all the those that are 14 in that year are at the on the A-Team. Is that generally how you work that out?

Yeah, that's usually have one or two kids that might make make the jump. And and again, that's the transition is very hard and also not only for the player. The player comes off and says, you know, I was a 10 and under a player, and now I'm 11 year old B player or 11 year old C player and their parents are like, Well, hey, my my kid is an eight player and it's like, Yeah, your kid's name player? Sure. Like at 10s, they were an eight player, but now they're aging up. And so there's that transition. I think the best thing that people can do, whether it's water polo or business or, you know personally is, you know, set clear expectations and talk to the parents and let them know what the process is and the development philosophy, I think that's critical. We're not, you know, you talked about the six out of nine at Joe's. You know, I I knew that right, but it's not something that I would ever lead with, right? And I and I had thought about that. I was like, Yeah, I think it was six. That's great. But we're not a results based program and, you know, people are like, Well, you know, they're just development. They don't want to win. It's not that like we just feel that if we're doing the proper steps to develop the kids, then our results are going to speak for themselves. So it's also, you know, the Zoom meetings with the parents.

We used to have in-person parent meetings, you know, to set the the proper expectations at the beginning of the season and what we're trying to do and explain the plan to them and be open with them like, Hey, this is this is the way the process works. You know, this is the fall season for age group. This is the beginning of a 12 month process. And so we're not looking to win Joes in the fall season. We're looking to develop these kids all the way through the year. We're going to have checks and balances along the way with the various tournaments that we go to. And, you know, we're going to do our best and compete at Joe's if that's our age group goal. But that's not the end all, be all. And that's that's really where it gets to be very tough because people will base the success and how the team did and how the program did based on the medal stand, right? And you know what we've had, we've had teams that medaled that were successful and we've had teams that that haven't medalled that were even more successful based on where they came from and based on what they did at the end of the season. So it's setting those expectations. So with those 11 year olds and those 13 year olds talking to the parents of like, Hey, you know, just support your kid. It's it's a frustrating process right now. I'm coaching 14 and under girls, and I coached the 12 and under girls last year, and we're now going from 12 and under girl rules to now full blown water polo rules.

Now what they do at 14s is is basically the rules you know, that they'll have for the rest of their life. What's also the size of the ball, the size for ball at 14 on a girls, it's going to be the same size they use for the rest of their life. So now that transition is difficult, right? 12 to 14 and the rules are difficult. They're not they're not tough rules, but what you're able to do, you know, that's a massive transition. And so if you come out and watch and you watch what we're doing, you know, our man up person up situations, we do the best we can. But that's not a focus like that's that's going to come, you know, down the line. I'm not concerned about that, you know? And so but getting out ahead of that and talking to the parents from a coaching standpoint, from a development standpoint, from a program standpoint, you know, I don't think you can communicate that enough. I think it's important for people to understand your philosophy. And with that, we're in an area where it's highly competitive. It's great. There's a lot of options. You know, sometimes it's difficult, but for the most part, it's it. It allows, and it affords the players and the parents to seek out the program that best suits their their player.

And I love that you have on your website the Parent Etiquette tab, right? That has all of the expectations of this is what parents can do, and this is what parents will not do right within you. I think that's, I think based on some of the conversation we had before air there that I think is pretty important in terms of those expectations.

Yeah, and it's. Just support your kid. I mean, it's, you know, the the I've never seen a guy go very well when a parent yells at a ref,

Never really never ends well for him. Yeah.

And and look, I'm a parent too, so I get it. You get excited for your kids and all that stuff. And and, you know, but that's part of the process too, is educating the parents like, Look, cheer for your kid. It's awesome. It's a physical game. Sometimes things happen and but let the coaches take care of it. Let the coach talk to the player, let the coach talk to the other coach, let the coach address the ref. Right? You're there to support the kids, you know, and be there. And you know, they're there are tough games and there are great games. And so you're going to have everything in between. And so, yeah, the parent etiquette. I mean, it's important because, you know, it's common sense, right? I mean, all that stuff up there, you're like, Oh, yeah, well, that makes sense. Why would I ever do that? Well, it's up there because there's been a situation that that addresses. Sure.

So going back to your age group breakdown, you know, obviously the rules changed between 12 and 14. But do you have a focal point for obviously, splash ball introductory and fun tends to have a focal point 12 14 because hopefully some of these viewers are going to be looking at expanding spinning clubs right somewhere. Excuse me, I can. Another state that might not have a dominant club team at the moment, but they might listen to you, Mike. Oh, let's combine with our rivals and actually make a competitive team together and benefit people in the off season. So what are some starting points you have for each of those age groups?

Yeah, just on a real side note, I was at a coaching conference one time and Ratko Ruddock was there and it was at Stanford, and I asked the panel of of Olympic athletes and was like, Brenda and I think Adam Wright was up there, and I asked a question about what they did for training in the off season. And Ratko was in the off season. Oh my gosh, like he started rustling in his seat and he looked over. I forget who the assistant was. I don't know if it was laissant or who it

Was, but it was Danny Lee.

Yeah, I think he looked over and Dan kind of started to explain something to him. And and he turned around. We're in a in a, you know, a conference room there at Stanford. He turns around and he looks right on. He goes, I do not understand this question. What is off season? And everybody's looking at him like. And one of the panelists, I don't know if it was Brenda or Adam, just like jumped up and was basically like, you know, after the high school season because Ratko is like, there is no off season, I don't understand.

You're lucky you didn't ask him about tapering off. What is this stuff? There's no topic. This is for swimmers. We are the water polo players. We train. No, we train double dates to the Olympics. Yeah, yeah. I mean, we'd have a game and go back and swim. And then it was just, this is your progress the entire time through and going back to goes. And you mentioned the same thing about results. You know how you finish and improvement. He never once cared about quote unquote results. Just always focus on the progress, win or lose. What did you improve on in that game training you get? What did you improve on that training?

Yeah, that makes total sense.

Well, going back to your question, do you have focal points, though, the different age groups that are there?

Yeah, we definitely do like and we've been running some pre intro clinics. I think that if you're starting a club, I think it's really important to offer something free to the community, get the excitement going. You know, whether it's a couple of them or you do a one off try to try to partner with the local community pools. We have a lot of of summer swim teams in our area that we work with and, you know, try to get the information out there, but get the kids excited about it because it's new. You know, we get them at nine or 10 years old, they've already been playing these other sports. We talk about this a lot locally and on the national level. Like, I don't look at my competitors here locally as my my competition. They're the clubs. Their choices for people in the area, like our biggest rivals are lacrosse and soccer, like we have a massive program here in our area that dominates. They do really well nationally and Little League Baseball and all that. Those are our rivals and with our sport, we always have a tough time like being organized and the pools and getting out ahead of the stuff where a lot of these other sports, they don't. They have they have interleague type stuff. So when you play Little League Baseball, the schedule is set two months ahead of time. Like, how great is that in water polo? It changes, you know, day off. Yeah, it's just wild. So, you know, without it, it's it's frustrating because we're we try to get out ahead of as much as we can with six eighty and be as organized as we can.

But that's who we're fighting against. We're fighting against all these other sports that are able to set that up and are organized. And so when they come to us for practices aren't organized or the games and all that stuff, you start to lose them a little bit. But in terms of, you know, our focal points at the younger ages with the intro clinics, you know, those are free, like, get them in there, throw the ball around, get them excited. Hopefully when they leave and they say water polo, they've got a big smile on their face. That's the key at the 10 and under level. It's starting to introduce them to a little bit more skill based stuff. We'll get them into some competitions and, you know, hopefully they have fun with that. The main thing to focus on is that it's not again the results like we've got to be careful about like, Oh, we won Jos at 10s. It's like, Well, that's great. I hope you had a good time. Like the bottom line is, did you have fun? And so keep them coming back. And then once they get to the 12th, that's really where we start focusing more on the water polo skill set. But a balance of, Hey, you still have to have fun, we want them coming back. My biggest fear and has always been my biggest fear and running a youth program is that we turn a kid off at 11, 12, 13 years old, 14 years old before they hit that high school level.

And our job is, as youth coaches is to make sure that they're having a great time with the sport and that they're they're learning some skills. But ultimately you want them coming back and keep them coming back and find the love and increase the passion for it. And then at each age level, you start adding onto that skill set, whether it's watching film or watching internationals or watching the collegiate games. And you know, you start adding a little bit more tactics as they get older. But you know, on the younger level, basically, you want that repeat customer, you know, keep them coming back. And you know, we're not we're not the end all be all program. And, you know, we're not perfect. We try to do the right things. We try to do it for the right reasons. And, you know, just like a game, sometimes stuff gets poorly executed and we have to come back. We've taken a look at our ourself year over year, season after season, try to figure out what we can do better. This is definitely been a work in progress since 06. And you know, we're still not there, but we're getting better. So the focal point then at 12s, yeah, it starts to get more fundamentally sound with their movements and the balance and why they're doing stuff and keeping it within the scope of the 12 and under rules.

And then at 14s, you start adding to it and you start getting into more of the older water polo with with the, you know, you're able to zone a little bit more, you get into the person up situations and then in the high school level, hopefully they have that base and now you're getting a little bit more into tactics and working things through. So it's a definite progression. And you know, it's but the bottom line is you want them coming back. Yeah. And so that's really critical. And that's a that's a tough line because you want to teach them the skills. And some of the stuff you know is is relatively I'm not saying boring, but you know, if you're not shooting or you're not, you don't have the ball in your hand. I thought that was interesting. We took a trip over to Montenegro and I watched an age group program do movements for an hour, and they didn't touch the ball until, like the last 15 minutes. And I thought that was really interesting and something that I believe wholly in that if you can't move without the ball, you can't move with the ball. It's really, really hard. And so you know that that type of thing, it's it's a balance. And, you know, I think it's also finding those, those people that work well at that age level. I've helped out at the 10 and under age level, but I'll be I'll be totally outright. You know, I am not a 10 and under coach and I there's a

Special place for those people.

Oh man. Yeah, it is. It is, you know, it is definitely a unique position and you know, you have to be fun and you have to be able to balance and, you know, be able to handle the energy. And, you know, and that's the that's the beautiful thing of coaching. It's like the balance, right? Like, I'm a big fundamental guy. I teach the movements and I really want to do things correctly. And, you know, probably to a fault, to a certain extent, I'm not a scrimmage guy. And so I think scrimmaging is an earned right. I learned that back in the day when I when I played football, you know, if you can't do the drills, then we're not going to let you play the game right? And so but it's a balance because you don't want to turn the kids off and they come from these other sports where they immediately start off with a ball baseball. They have a ball basketball, they have a ball soccer, they have a ball, you know, football, they have a ball and in water polo. If you pull that ball away, they're like, Hey, when do I get to? When do I get to shoot, when I get to touch that ball? And it's like, well, not for the last five minutes. And they're like, Oh my gosh, I don't know if I can take this, you know, right? So, yeah, it's it's a balance of being able to work on the skills and kind of, you know, go the Mr. Miyagi approach and really teach them the drills without them really knowing that they're learning them to a certain extent, especially at the younger ages.

Just reiterating your stats of being able to move with the ball and without the ball, players don't have the ball the majority of the time. You have to think there's one ball with seven players in the field, right?

Yeah. And that's the the other part of it too. That we talk at length is that, you know, water polo is not a linear sport. You're not going back and forth in a straight line. It's not swimming, you know? And so I think where people really miss out is not working on the 360 degree range, you know, whether whether it's in the horizontal or in the vertical and also the transitioning from horizontal to vertical back to horizontal to vertical to a lunge. All that stuff. That's really where you need to be creative with, with the younger kids and get them jumping and moving them in a way that is fun. And you can make it fun doing somersaults and all that stuff, figuring it out. But I think where people lose out is they just swim back and forth or they'll dribble back and forth, and it's very rare that the defender is coming straight at you, right? They're usually coming, you know, at a funky angle. And so learning to move away at those angles and the the the really important part is being able to teach the kids so they can see it. So, you know, with working with my 14 hundred girls, like we see the game, we see the numbers, we see, you know, the various movements. When we look at a six on five, you know, we can see the. One six to pass. And you say that to a to a kid that's moving up from 12 to 14. And they're like one six two like. What is that like, you've got to slow it down, so I try to get the kids to really think about it when they're when we're talking about a drill and we're working on a specific movement, why we're doing that movement and where they are in relation to the cage because, you know, a lot of times we don't have the cages in.

And so if I'm saying you have to do a release from five and we have a ball sized driver coming in from four. The first thing I ask him is like, OK, where are you right now, where's the cage? And they go, OK, the cage is over there and I'm like, OK, you're at five. So that's the right wing. Where where should your legs be right now? And they're like, Oh yeah, they'll turn to that side. It's like just getting them to visualize that and think about that, like, slow it way down. And if they can understand that and they can get that base premise, then you can speed things up. But I think that's really important of trying to break it down. You know, and the my buddy Clark Weatherspoon said it, you know, he said a term the other day that I was like, Wow, I just got smarter. I didn't even know I was doing that, but it was differentiated instruction. And so, you know, athletes and students, they learn through different methods, whether it's visual audio, you know? You know, examples teaching all that stuff. And so, you know, it's really important to figure out what the particular players, what really works with them. Yeah. And so we try to give them the how and the why.

And then, you know, people always ask, you know, the parents and the players like, How do I get better? How do I get more playing time? It's like, just think about what we do in practice, you know, and if you have a pool, just go practice that stuff. What we do in practice translates directly to the game. So, you know, that's that's the important part of, you know, trying to teach the kids why and how they're doing it, and then kids are going to mature at different rates. And that's something that players and parents have to understand. What they are at 11:00 is not necessarily what they're going to be at 18. And you know, there's so many examples of it where you have a superstar 12 year old kid that all of a sudden at 18, you're like, What happened to that kid? And it was like, Well, you know, he was six feet one hundred and seventy pounds as a twelve year old, right? You know, so they gave him the ball in front of the cage and he turned around and shot. And so but he never learned the skill set. And then when he was 18, he's six feet, one hundred seventy pounds, and he doesn't know how to actually move and use his body and have proper technique because he was able to mask it for so many years. And so, you know, it's no matter what they are at 12, you know, you still have to teach the proper techniques and all that because you don't know what they're going to be at eighteen or twenty two. Yeah.

Well, water water polo is a very family centric sport, right? I know you have kids that have played. My kids play and my guests are nice. Kids eventually might play if they

Don't know my since three, they've been doing splash ball the beach bowl.

There you go. There you go. So I mean, talk a little bit about that culture of family and 680, right? You've got, you know, you've got a great your family. I've seen your family's travel a lot. I interacted with them. They've all been and they've been a great place. So it seems like you build that as a culture that family culture within your club. Is there anything specific that you do that would be a great example to other kind of developing clubs in terms of creating that support for the club? And I guess the follow up was that is that recognized in your neighborhoods, right? They say, Oh man, I want to be a part of that because of the dynamic that's happening there.

Yeah, I think over the years, we've built up a reputation and a tradition within our community. So when you say you play for six eighty, they know what you're talking about and you know the brand recognition in terms of, you know, we'll you know, the apparel. We love our best marketing as our kids, our players, they're the best like when when they wear those shirts to school or they wear their baseball hats or whatever it might be, those those are the best marketers that you could ever have. And when they talk about water polo, they're our ambassadors, not only about the sport, but about our program, you know, and if somebody wants to try it out, hopefully they're recommending six eighty, you know, and that's that's important. Yeah, we're a family based program. You know, it's really being part of the community is really important to us. And, you know, over the years, whether we've had, you know, various events and stuff, we've been talking about having a big, you know, once the pandemic is done and we're able to like, have everybody together have an affair having basically a six eighty carnival where, you know, we can bring in food trucks and, you know, have we could run the the six eight combine and have the kids have a have a band? And you know, I'm sure we can make a boatload of money by putting me in a dunk tank and letting people, you know, throw the ball, especially my players that have played for me. But, you know, trying to build that up as well.

You'll have alumni coming back. Yeah, yeah, right.

I'm sure my my kids will run up and just push the button, my own kids. So yeah, it's it's important. And when we travel, you know, our parents get together and we try to have, you know, player meetings, you know, together and support each other and move around from one game to the next. We've tried to do that over the years and support each other and, you know, and try to build up that feel like six eighty for us. When I when I talk to my parents at my parent meeting is like, I really want the kids and the parents to feel proud that they play for six eighty. That that ultimately is is one of my biggest goals, right? You know, the X's and O's and all that stuff. That's really important. But you know, this is a sport. This is a means of figuring out life lessons, life experiences, good or bad, how how to handle positive negative adversity. And you want that community around you. And that's what we're here. We hope the players feel supported by the coaches. We hope the parents feel supported by the coaches. We want them to utilize us as a resource, whether it's through age group, whether it's into high school, whether it's high school to college, trying to help those players get where they want to go. And so, you know, having having program wide stuff together is really important. We try to have dinners and that type of stuff. It gets a little hard once you get to a certain size, right? You know, it was a lot easier when we were smaller, you know, to to easily go, OK, we're going to go have pizza at this place and everybody gets together. So we have to be a little bit more organized when it comes to that.

But yeah, it's important to us. It's important that we support each other and we've got a lot of siblings that really helps. And it was really important when we started six eighty that we had both a girls program and a boys program because we wanted to make it family based. We didn't want the families to have to choose like, OK, my kid, my boy needs to play here and my girl needs to play there. And so with that, though, you double up on the numbers, you double up on the number of facilities you need, double up on the number of coaches you need. And so that's difficult. But for us, we felt like we want the families to be at 680 and feel good about having their kids at six 80. And, you know, when they walk on the deck that they feel good about representing our program, representing our community, Northern California, water polo. You know, that was early on. That was a big hurdle that we had to get over when we first started, 680 Northern California had some, some there was some good clubs. But, you know, one or two that would compete nationally, and we had to get over that hump of competing against the Southern California teams. And that was a big thing because, you know, our players like, Wow, you know, they play for that and they play for this. And it's like, Yeah, but you know, they wear a speedo and they wear a water polo cap and they're actually doing a ball side drive like what we're teaching you. And once they were able to get over that hump, then it really helped.

And so is there some? Let's talk about that. Is there something specific that you did for again, because that's kind of where we feel like, you know, outside of California, like you've got to be able to take it to the next level to be able to play. How how did you navigate that hump?

Yeah, yeah. I mean, it's I'm I'm not relatively creative. I just look at where the success is and see what we can do to get there. And so the success was down in Southern California, and I knew my my I was coaching 400 boys at that time, and I knew that for us to make that next level, we had to go down and train with those Southern California teams, right? And thankfully, you know, some really nice clubs, united, rose bowl. They they were open to it. And so we were able to do that. Our kids stayed with their families. And, you know, at the first night when you drop the kids off and you match them up with the families, it's like, you know, a boxing match. We would bring them up and we'd be like, OK, Junior's going to stay with Sean, and you guys would kind of stare each other down like, you know, two boxers. And they, you know, I make them shake hands and then they go off, right? And then the next morning they'd come back for the Saturday morning training and you couldn't tell who was on what club. Right? And so and then at the end, you know, we'd do some sort of All-Star teams we'd mix and match and do that. And and that was really important for us to get over that hump and get over that allure that it was like, Hey, we can't compete because we're from Northern California.

It's like, why not like, we're, you know, we're athletic and you guys do well in these other sports, why can't we? And you know, then you have to look at it as a coach. It's like, Wait a minute, is it me? You know, why have the athletes what? And really, based on my background, I played one year of collegiate water polo at UC Davis. And so, you know, I'm not I'm not the prototype of pedigree. And at one point when I was coaching high school, I had a parent asked, What? What is Monday's pedigree? And they asked me point blank, and I said, Well, my dad's from Germany and my mom's from Chicago. That's my pedigree, right? So, yeah, you know, I, if you don't feel like your son is learning, then OK, that's you know, that's that's what you think. And that's OK. But pedigree to me is like, OK, what? What, what is that person doing, trying to help my kid develop? And so I looked at those coaches and I was, you know, that's something as a program. I think it's always very important to take a look around the pool deck and watch and watch at tournaments the way that coach is interacting with the players, interacting with the ref, interacting with his parents. How do those players walk onto the deck? How do they interact with the team meetings? And I started watching that and I I started identifying those coaches that I thought were very good coaches.

I like the way they coached in the game. I like the way they approach the refs. And then I started talking to those guys. Yeah. And Dan Larsen to go back to lace. And again, he was one of them. And so I started talking to these guys and I didn't know anybody. And so and I probably introduced myself to Doug Peabody at least 10 times that first year. And finally, you know, I came up to him, me, he's like, If you introduce yourself to me one more time, I'm going to punch you, my guy. Well, you know, on Monday. Ok, so you know, I think it was just it's important to take a look at those around you and see, OK, well, who's successful in your eyes and what are they doing? And then be able to talk to them and share ideas. And that collaborative training was so important. And we continue to try to do that. And, you know, with that too, we just had one recently down at the S.E. Cupp. We trained with Newport and our parents were on the deck and they're like, Wow, this is amazing. And I said, Yeah, this is amazing. And I said, this is what you signed up for, because if you do things the right way and you know you're your team's, play the game the right way and you're respectful to the referees and to the opposing players, then you get these opportunities right when you're going nuts in the stands and other teams notice it.

Notice that and they don't want to be around you. You don't get those opportunities right. And so not only is an important right. Now, to be able to have those collaboratives, but we we set the stage back in 07 and 08 when we did those mutual trainings and that that affords us to be able to do it now. Right. And so that's really important is that you're setting up not only now, but the future players. And so, you know, that's critical in terms of your program, as is the evolution of it. Where do you want to get to and then back it up from there? And I think really importantly, is that you've got to start at the younger age. You know, if you're coaching high school and you think you're going to start a club program and you just want to focus on high school, it's too late. Yeah, if you really want to do a great job, get them going at the younger ages, build that foundation. And by the time they get to high school, you're going to be having the success that you've put into it, for sure.

Do you use any of your older athletes older just being high school athletes to help? Coach, officiate younger programs,

Yeah, so we we try to bring back as many of our older kids to the younger age groups, I think that's a big part of our program is that perpetuation and giving back. And so a lot of our high school players then are coaching at 12s and 10s and 14s most of the time they jump in the water. It's very important for the younger kids to see the proper techniques and having the the older kids work with them. And it also then builds that relationship when you move to these tournaments. And so the younger players want to go see the older players play and vice versa. It's really important to build up that mentorship. And yeah, that's something that we've really strived to do over the years. And, you know, in the winter season, it's always what we've tried to do at six eighty is build it up that there's always somebody better in front of you. And so no matter what your level is, if you're excelling at 12. Ok, let's go see how you do it. 14. So if you have a collective group of 14s that are doing really well, we'll let's bring in our 16s. And if they're doing well against the 16s, let's bring in the 18s. And so there's always somebody there that to keep you humble and keep you aspiring to be better. And I think that's really important and the perpetuation in terms of having the older kids come back, that's gold. If you can have that and that really helps tighten the youngers to the shoulders. You'll you'll have sustainability with your program. Yeah.

What's just out of curiosity, thinking about like the new clubs out there, clubs that want to develop? What's something today like they could do to? To move towards this idea, I like that idea of sustainability, right, to improve their club, what something they could do right now today. Maybe what something within a week and then like a six month goal, right? If if they're looking to build a 12 year or a 10 year program, how do they start that?

Yeah, I think with the younger ones, you've got to run something that's open to the community. And, you know, basically sponsor it and run a free clinic. Everybody likes free and get them introduced to it. Bring in your older kids, utilize your 14s, your 16s or 18s to run it. Have them in the water. Whether it's a splash ball based program or, you know, just like, let's let's go splash around for an hour and throw the ball. That's key. Like getting in at that younger age, working with your your communities, talking to the community pools and understanding your area and, you know, really trying to educate people on what water polo is. And so if depending on your area, if it's relatively new, it's it's almost more important that the parents understand what water polo is and what it's all about your kids. If you're throwing around the ball and they're having a good time, they're going to be happy about it. But you really need the support of the parents to be like, OK, yeah, I'm going to sign them up for the six week program because Sean knows what's going on. He's got a plan. This is what they've been doing. You know, there's a there's a progressive development process that you know, my, my daughter or my son. I can see them starting this intro program and then they move to the the House League and then they move to our travel team. And you know, again, we're fighting against all these other sports that do this and have been doing this for a long time and most of the areas. Water polo is relatively new, right? And so you've got to do a really good job at educating the community.

You know, obviously coming off an Olympic year is huge. That's important to utilize that. I think there's a tremendous amount of resources out there with the Olympians, national team players, collegiate players bring them in, tout this, you know, utilize that as much as possible and really bring in the resources to try to educate and, you know, whether it's internally or externally, like utilize like, don't be bashful. That's the thing. You know, we've heard over the podcast and all that stuff. There are some people in life and coaches that, you know, they are very successful and they feel like it's a proprietary deal and that they want to hold the cards close to them. And and that's fine. Like, that's you know, that's that's their prerogative, right? I'm not one of them. We're really open with those collaborative trainings. Yeah. When you're running stuff, your competitors that you're going to be playing in a tournament against, they're right there. So you know, when you're when you're training together, it's like, Well, I mean, water polo, it's not really a hard sport like people try to make it complicated. Or maybe they don't, but it's it's not too complicated. And I've always felt when I've done these collaborative trainings, whether they're with Southern California teams or Northern California teams, it's like, Look, on the given day, my kids need to execute, they need to be prepared and we need to execute right. And if you know and you've trained against us, you know what we have. Hey, even better, that's going to make us even better because I know that Jenny knows that we run this or, you know, like, what do we do? Well, we press well,

But how do you execute those fundamentals more consistently than the other team, right? To put you on the spot the same way that Rose Bowl United, you said a few other teams, you know, open up their doors in their homes and their pools just for common training to help your club as a developing club improve. Would you do the same for any non Californian teams looking to help give more opportunities for their athletes and even coaches?

Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean, that's the that's the key to growing our sport. And, you know, opening it up in different areas is, as you know, allowing those collaboratives and listen, I would be, you know, a hypocrite if I said no, because that really helps. 680, it helped me personally. It helped me meet a lot of great people. It also exposed me to people like at tournaments and watching stuff that I don't want to be like. I think that's super important to that. You know, it's it's an educational process and that there are a lot of people and coaches out there that aren't good for the sport and that that should be definitely noted of what people are doing and be like, I'm not going to do that. Like, I don't like that style. I don't want to be that. And so, yeah, we're always open to it, I think it's important to be open to it. The water polo is one thing. It's X's and O's. You train for three days, you know, the kids hopefully get better, but it's more about building those relationships and, you know, building up the trust with that other program and with the parents. Get excited about it. It's a collaborative not just from water polo standpoint, but a communal standpoint in regards to just life and humans and, you know, being open to that to help people.

So, Shaun, are some other teams from Utah might pick up on that.

All right. We're already talking. Don't worry, we're already talking about it.

Yeah, we'd

Love to see some teams from Michigan come out with you guys.

Yeah, that'd be great. We're happy. We're happy to support people. And, you know, and it's they've got to be the right right program, right? We've done some stuff where I'm like, that's never happened. And again, we are. We're not doing it with that program

For skill levels or for attitudes. I'm assuming

Attitudes. It's never skill level. Never because I mean, with our program too, we have so many different. Yeah, yeah. And we've had teams come out before Joe's from the Midwest and, you know, they talk about their team. And so I start them off with a particular level that I think is probably comparable. And then we move up from there, like if they dust somebody in a scrimmage like, OK, let's bring in this group then. But it's never based on skill level, ever. So but you can tell, like really quickly the way a coach handles a situation with a player, you know the way the parents act. And so, yeah, I know we definitely would say no to some clubs out there, but not based on skill.

So a run out of time here a little bit, but you guys traveled a ton during the pandemic, came to Utah multiple times. Well, any take home messages from all that travel like anything that you learned about your team or your club, or about making those journeys to and from St. George and to Salt Lake?

Yeah, it was. I mean, the parents and the players were for it. We got into a, you know, at the beginning it was like, Well, what do we do? Can we travel? And so the. The the parents wanted to travel and the players wanted to travel, and I was like, OK, well, how do we figure this out? And so the hard part too was our coaches like it was difficult for our coaches to travel that much. And so I think I went out to Utah five times or so. I coached everything from 12 and under girls to high school boys. And, you know, it was great experience. I loved it all and it was it was fun being with the different age groups and all that, but I had the flexibility to be able to do that. Some of my coaches didn't, and so but it was exhausting. I think in a six week span, I was in Utah for weekends.

Yeah, it was. I was. I was. I was exhausted and I live here.

Yeah. So it was, you know that the and travel is important. I think the play in the water polo tournament is one thing. I always find tremendous value and traveling a team and you know, they're ambassadors on so many different levels. Whether it's your family, your program, your community, water polo in general, Northern California, water polo. And so we like to travel in gear. And so that way, the kids have to answer those questions when they're at the airport or they're on the they're on the airplane or they're at the rental car agency, like, what is this? What is this 680? And so then they have to talk about what, what great lessons the program is and talk about it. I mean, we've we've had it over the years where, you know, I'll be walking down with my 40 under boys and they're walking like four across a sidewalk and somebody come coming the other way. Yeah, and I'll yell, Don't be like, Hey, guys, how is that person going to get by? And they look and they're like, What are you talking about? I'm like, You got to move over, like, you got it, you've got to give them the right away. And you're wearing all your six stuff you match, right? So if you bump them off the curb, they're going to know six eighty. I mean, that's that's kind of like the old adage. I'm like, if you're going to do something stupid, take off your shirt. Yeah, make sure you're not wearing any 680 gear when you do it. So but that's part of

The trial, for sure. Just show your six eighty speedo. That's right. Yeah, Turbo.

So the travel was a lot. I think it was great. I mean, it was so nice for the kids to get out and get back to some normalcy and be able to play. And the facilities were amazing. It was, you know, awesome to be able to come out and play at that time of year, and we had a great time. The competition was excellent. Everybody was just happy to be in the water and was excited about it. And so it really helped us. I mean, being able to have those opportunities was great on what you guys did and you know what they did at Dixie State. I, you know, I might as well be an alumni of Dixie State now. I had no idea what that was,

But a lot of continuing education credits.

Yeah, I had no idea where that was and what that was before the pandemic. And so that was a blessing.

You're going to have to come back this winter. We've already got we've already got White Mountains here in Salt Lake City, so we've got 30 inches of snow over the last couple of weeks and the storms are continuing to line up. So you've got to come out for some powder days.

And well, that's what that's what I was saying. You got to get the you got to get Alta and Snowbird to sponsor.

Yeah, I'll have some connections. I'll work on that for you.

We'll be there.

That'll be good. So my my last question and I might have some, but what's what's going great in your mind for the sport of water polo in general? Like what is the what are some of the best things that are happening in the sport right now? From your perspective,

It seems like there's a lot of kids playing. I think that's great. I think it's grown. I'm not sure what the exact numbers are. So but it's great to see these other areas besides California really growing. I think that's important for the sport. You know, it's it's going to take a collective growth to put us, you know, on the international level and, you know, finding those athletes that don't have those opportunities right now, that's critical. For the longest time, we had such a resource pool that we were drawing from or that, you know, it was limited. So seeing that it's great. I mean, it's it's fun to see all these teams from outside of California competing. I think that's good. You know, it's. Competition is good, you know, from from a a drawback, I would say, like, you know, I think there needs to be more education. I think the it's really important that we get our coaches developed. Yeah, I think that's so critical. And you look at, you know, not only the other sports you look at international, you look at the various countries that are competing on the international on a consistent high level that I feel like those coaches are professional coaches.

And you know, their development coaches are professional coaches that they're trained on how to be a coach. And we're doing the best that we can from a club standpoint and trying to educate our coaches on what we're looking for and putting together our own program and platform. And that's really important. We need more resources, we need more support. We need a better understanding of what we're trying to do from the 10 and under level to the international level. There's no reason why we can't compete on the highest level. I mean, we're the United States of America like we we're we have tremendous athletes. We have tremendous resources. I think we need to take a look at it from a standpoint of what we're doing and think more outside the box. What other resources from different sports can we pull in to help give our athletes the best opportunities? And you know, it's that's really important to me as I love watching international water polo. I think that's something that people can do a lot more is is watch what's going on with with the Lenn League and, you know, all sorts of different the the country leagues and all that. It's so important to be able to watch that water polo and see what those athletes are doing.

Yeah. And trying to figure out, you know, the the top bottom approach, like, what do we want to be doing at tennis? We know what we want to be doing at tennis and I know what I want to be doing at 12 to 14, 16 and 18. And if I'm feeding the pipeline, am I feeding the pipeline to the highest level with the proper fundamentals? Or do you know when when my kids, when our six 80 kids come into the pipeline, they're like, Oh my gosh, like, what are these kids doing right? They don't. They don't know how to do X. I don't know. I don't know what that looks like. I'm not sure what we're supposed to be doing from a club standpoint if we're, you know, a good sized club and we're pushing kids into the development program. I would like to have a better understanding of what those kids should have when they go in so I can prepare my kids and and fold that into the curriculum. That's not the end all be all curriculum, but I want to make sure that they're properly prepared

And they've done the drill, right?

Yeah. So what is your guesstimate of percentage percentage wise of your athletes that go on to play in college? Division one, Division two, Division three? I could, you know, collegiate collegiate club teams, junior junior college teams just continue to play even it's just masters on weekends,

I would say. I would say like probably 10 to 15 percent. I would say overall, you know, in any given year. So on all levels, and I think that's important too, is that. Kids and parents need to understand, like there are those top schools, and, you know, I love the parody that's going on, I think it's important for the sport. But, you know, setting your sights on on one of the top schools just based on water polo, I think is is really inhibiting and and you need to take a look at what you want out of water polo, out of your academics and all that. There are so many great opportunities out there, and I think people end up focusing solely on, oh, well, that's a top four score. That's a top 10 school. Rather than looking at what's the best thing for Janai at that time and for Shaun at that time? Right? Yeah. Well, and you know, the junior college route, like, I think that's an underserved area that is a great opportunity for a lot of people. I mean, it's relatively free and there's there's good water polo, there's great programs out there. There's some really good coaches go gain some maturity, you know, level up during that two year program. And then when you're ready and you have a little bit more perspective, then figure out where you want to go after that.

I think that that is a opportunity that's missed a lot and that people are looking at like, Oh, I want to go to that school. And then they get to that school and let's say they don't play or something. And then they're done with water polo rather than really taking a look at a balanced perspective of saying, OK, you know, I want this in terms of academics and want that in terms of water polo. And there's so many opportunities, whether it's playing club or three to one, you just go play. If you love it, there's a spot for you. And, you know, pick the right school first. That's super, super important. And also, you've got to take a look at the program like each program has its own culture and each head coach has its has its his or her own way of doing things and not super important because that's going to be your coach, your mentor and somebody you're going to be with for a lot of years. And you know, if you're just picking the top four or top 10 number, you know, I think you're really doing yourself a disservice. And I really, you know, caution the parents on on moving towards that like they really need to have that balanced perspective and try to counsel their kids the right direction.

So the last decade and a half, you've done a phenomenal job of building that base of foundation, of that pyramid, you know, gain the age group up to the high school and 10, 15 percent going on to college. Do you see yourselves opening up and create a master's program to retain another portion of kids that just stop playing so they come back in the summers? Maybe they don't play a college, but they come back and compete with six eighty and they play against old club and riptides and other programs like that.

Yeah, that's really important. I mean, our biggest Achilles heel is pools, and so I have a tough time justifying a master's program if I'm getting a lob off my 10 and unders and 12 and unders. And so I would love to do that. I mean, we've got a lot of alumni coming back that have played at a high level, and I would love to be part of the National League and be able to do that. I mean, I think there's I would love to take 680 and take it international, you know, and go over there and play and and there's a lot of ideas in my head. I mean, that would be definitely a main goal is having a professional team. And you know, what I would love to do is is get our athletes the ability to go play in Europe on a consistent basis, like that's to support them and get that high level experience. And you know, first, we got to do it in the National League here, but then take it, take it globally. I think that would be fantastic. So yeah, definitely that's

We might have to talk off record and with the NBA about some professional league stuff. Yeah, domestic.

Yeah, I would love that. We would definitely support it. And I mean, it is so important to give our our kids those opportunities. It's you watch the the international stuff and you watch the the club championships and the and the land championships and all that stuff. They're playing so much against such high level competition on a consistent basis. And then we try to do it every four years. It's just, I mean, the cards are stacked against us. Yeah, and it's unfair. So, you know, it definitely the system is broken in my eyes like, I want to see us excel at all levels and it's amazing to watch on the on the age group level how well we do. We do incredibly well. And there's a lot of kids that are from different countries that want to come here and play at the age group level. They want to come and play at Joe's. They want to be part of our programs here and then we have an incredible collegiate level. But during that time that we end up losing out on the international level and I think there we definitely need to take. A look at the system and and I want to support the system and really try to get our players up to that level and be able to support their dreams. And it's very difficult, like if you're faced with going to work for an investment bank or spending another four years grinding and out, you know, not making any money, possibly living with mom and dad, you know, doing a little coaching on the side, that's a hard ask. We're internationally, these guys are getting paid professionally. They're professional athletes, right? And they live and breathe it. So.

Awesome, well. Hey, I'm looking forward to coming to Danville next week to stream some games. Can't wait. I'm going to get down there and San Ramon Valley.

And what was the other team Mano Vista Vista? Yeah, that's been a long, long time rivalry forever.

We're going to we're going to come down and have game on live studio stream some of those games for you. We've got some other games that we're working in the college arena there that next weekend. So pretty psyched to come and do that. So my my my last question here, what are we going to hear in the hype song? What's your favorite hype song as a coach or as a player?

For me personally, yeah. Yeah, I was lunatic fringe. Lunatic Fringe. Yeah, by Red Ryder. It was that old Vision Quest movie. I don't know if you remember that I was a wrestling movie. Oh, yeah, that was. That was my main one.

Very cool. Very cool. Janai, have you got anything else for Monday?

I got a lot, but we're out of time and I'd rather almost do a second episode. We'll do

Another one. We can keep going. I feel like we were

Going to focus in the future on some specifics to help the yeah, I keep breaking down to non California teams that are faced with geographic difficulties of being able to travel. Like you said, as great as it was to go to Utah. You're exhausted from traveling on the weekends. Well, there's teams that have to travel the entire year, the entire season, the entire time. So we'll get into more stuff later on.

With that too, like the competition is what breeds, you know, the raising of the boats like you. If you have one program in New Mexico, but they can't play anybody right, you have to you have to have consistent plan. That's like there are some pockets through the United States and it's gotten better where you know you'll have water polo in St. Louis because they have a few high schools there that play or water polo in Chicago, because you have a few high schools that play and that's what you need. You need a few programs that you can compete against on a consistent basis. And you know, if you have one program in Arizona, it's great and you can have this big club. But if you can't compete on a consistent basis locally, it's really hard and it's really hard on the parents and the players, whether it's, you know, from pure travel or the expense standpoint. Yeah, you know, it's really difficult. And so, yeah, good stuff.

Well, again, we've had Mundy on on the pod here with us. Thanks for being with us, Jenny. Thanks for calling in from Hawaii. Your backdrop is killing it, for sure. You're making us feel like it's crazy. Like I said, we got

Mosquitoes here today.

Oh, I feel so bad for you.

Like the poor thing. Poor thing.

You're just going to go rinse those off in the ocean so you go wherever a waterfall or waterfall or wherever you want to go. So again, thank you, Matthew, and game on.

Yeah, thank you. And Shaun, I just want to thank you for all your streaming and what you were able to provide. That was a huge plus during the pandemic, and we any time we traveled, you know, we'd always send out the streaming link and we had parents watching and grandparents, uncles, aunts. And I think what you did from that standpoint really helped raise the level of water polo in terms of exposure. You and you're commentating and you're always open to so many things. And I mean, you work, you know, long hours to put that stuff on and was greatly appreciated not only by us personally, but all our families, all their extended families. I think that was just awesome and a real bright spot for everybody.

It was fantastic, and I hope that it's not just a pandemic thing. I hope it's going to be something we're going to continue to do. So if anybody else wants streaming out there, just connect with me, we'll do it so.

Awesome. Thanks, guys. I really appreciate it. Thank you. All right. Bye bye. Take care. Game on.

Contributor Details

Mundy Mundelius

Matthew “Mundy” Mundelius is the current club director for 680 Drivers… based out of Northern California they have had success at every level both in men's, women's and age-group water polo. At the 2021 JOs were on the podium in 6 of 9 of the championship groups.