Product Review - Water Polo Academy

Water Polo Referee Training at Water Polo Academy
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Crazy D
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Product Review - Water Polo Academy

Postby Crazy D » Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:08 pm


USAWP has partnered with Water Polo Academy recently to administer all referee training. Just recently I finished my third session of learning at the Water Polo Academy for referee certification, and as you will read below, I have nothing but great things to say about it. Water Polo Academy is an outstanding venue for referee training nationally and with the instructor being Dr. Loren Bertocci, the degree of learning and training being exchanged at WPA is top notch. I don’t just recommend these classes for the referee (novice or experienced), but also for the coaches, parents, spectators, and those true seekers of water polo knowledge. You won’t find a better resource for this type of information, and Dr. Bertocci’s method of “guided learning” engages the student to not just absorb the information but also apply it under circumstances provided in the courses discussion topics with the assistance of animations and video clips to generate a true thinking referee. This is the single greatest step that our sport has taken to standardize referee instruction for more consistency across the land. Nothing but great things can come from this addition to our sport.

To give a little insight, each course has a syllabus which describes the lessons to be addressed during the class. Each day of the class, lessons and discussion threads are posted on the web site where the learner can access them at any time. Each discussion thread feeds off of the information in the lesson, as well as downloadable animations and video clips, to engage the learner with the material they have just absorbed. Learners are encouraged to no only address the issues set forth by the instructor but also to comment on other learner comments. When there is a need for more clarification or to steer the discussion thread in the proper direction of the topic, Dr. Bertocci would chime in to bring things back on track, hence, “guided learning.” We’ve all been in those classrooms where the instructor is at the front of the class telling you what to think. With “guided learning,” however, the learner is given several tools with the lesson, the rule book and in some cases, a video clip or animation. The instructor then poses a scenario to which it is open to the learners to discuss and come to the proper conclusion. And Dr. Bertocci is quite clever with this learning process, rather than saying, “No, your reasoning is incorrect,” he would “guide” the learner by posing a parallel concept to consider when addressing the situation, thus allowing the light to be found by the learner, rather than having it given to them. This is very clever because it forces the learner to think about the situations, apply the knowledge and concepts, and come to the right solution, rather than being spoon fed the solution. You are graded in these courses by several criteria which include the learner reading all of the Lessons, participating in all of the instructor initiated threads, participating in the learner initiated threads, and the completion of a rules test at the end of the class.

There are two web sites utilized by Water Polo Academy. Their main page is their marketing page, where anyone can register for a class. Their other web site is their actual school page where, once registered, you can go to and participate in your class. The main page is very easy to navigate very similar to on-line shopping. The learning page is also very easy to navigate from initial login to course interaction.

The course structure and learning material is very good. The rule book is offered as a free download from USAWP, which I encourage everyone to get and read before starting the class. The lessons, discussion threads, animations, and video clips, again, are posted every day and stay up until the class in concluded. And because this is the internet, the learner can go in at ANYTIME to review the material and comment on the threads, whether it’s during morning coffee, lunch break at work, after the kids go to bed, or in the middle of the night when you just can’t sleep. It’s Great!!! Also, it allows the learner to go to these classes without having to go to one of the limited conferences/conventions/clinics to get this information. It’s brought to you via the computer screen and internet. The rules test at the end of the course is arguably one of the toughest tests I have taken. But this drives again to Dr. Bertocci’s goal of developing referees who are thinkers. And frankly, I would expect nothing less. The video clips use live action water polo situations which are very good quality given the internet transfer. The animations are straight forward and to the point and are very good learning tools. The lessons, in my opinion, are the best bit of information offered. Each topic has bullet point information. Most lessons are two pages of bullet points, so you don’t spend a whole lot of time reading. The notes are short and to the point, which if you are slow reader like me, you really like. With this information presented this way, it allows the learner to get through the information rather quickly and on to the discussion threads. Currently, there is no text book for the referee classes, and quite frankly, I don’t think it is needed.

Dr. Bertocci is the instructor for the referee classes and there are very few in the world that parallel his knowledge and experience on both US and International soil. He’s extremely intelligent when it comes to the game of water polo, and having been a player and coach, prior to becoming a full time referee, gives him great insight into the rule applications and interpretations. He brings years of experience to the courses and pulls from these experiences to help his learners’ knowledge grow. I have experienced many people try to use the concept of “guided learning” with very little success. Dr. Bertocci utilizes this skill like none I have ever experienced. His topics are engaging and interesting, and the fact that it is all about water polo make it all the more enjoyable. I can honestly say this is the most fun I have had learning.

I’ve been involved with the sport of water polo for upwards of 20 years now, and I can honestly say that I have learned more in the past 2 months of learning than I ever thought I could. While these classes are driven toward referee instruction, I believe EVERYONE could benefit from this information, be it a coach, parent, or spectator. WPA allows anyone to just audit their classes as well. By auditing a class, at a greatly reduced cost, the individual is allowed to read everything but no interact with the class. You simply sit back and absorb the information. And since we are talking dollars and cents, individuals registered as a USAWP referee can attend classes at a reduced cost. What’s more? A novice referee can register with USAWP, take the Beginner – Intro. to refereeing, Intermediate – Minor Fouls, and Intermediate – Major Fouls class and you become a USAWP Level II referee. WPA also offers another course, Advanced – Advantage. All courses I have taken have discussed the “Advantage Rule” on many levels, but this course really focuses strictly on advantage and how it influenced referee calls. Prior to WPA, I wouldn’t have been able to become a quality referee to any degree simply because of geography and career. Now that instruction is coming over the internet, learning can take place anywhere. And in a recent discussion about starting a new program in my area, the problem of referees came into discussion. I directed everyone at the meeting to WPA saying that there was no better place to get this information. And the price is right and worth every penny.

While I think it was the prime objective of WPA to target the referee community, they have teamed with Dante Dettamanti and a course, “Basics of Successful Coaching.” And to show their true dedication to the sport and informing the public, WPA offers a FREE parents and spectators course, “A Rules Primer for Parents and Spectators.” At my aforementioned meeting, I encouraged everyone to at least take this class, as all it would cost is time on their part. And WPA constantly grows with more classes being generated for the player (“Fundamentals of the Outside Shot”) and coach (“The Eastern European System”). We can only look for more contributions like these coming from WPA in the future.

I simply can’t say enough about Water Polo Academy. What they are doing can only bring our sport to new heights. While referees need to attend courses at Water Polo Academy in order to achieve certain levels, I think it would be in everyone’s best interests to take some of the classes offered. It only makes you a smarter water polo enthusiast. There have been very few contributions to the water polo community that helps to elevate our sport around the nation. I believe the Water Polo Academy has the greatest potential for a positive impact, coast to coast.
Last edited by Crazy D on Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby fishnutt90804 » Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:22 pm

I took the free class for the parents.
I thought it was run very well. The material was straight forward. And the instructor was very prompt in responding to the communications with us.

I did fine the thread organization to be different that what I have been accustom to in other online classes.

As a parent of a new HS water polo player I did find this to be educational and if I might add entertaining.

Good job overall

Look forward to attending future classes.

Dental bill paying parent.

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Postby notaplayer » Fri Mar 28, 2008 12:16 am

I also took the free parents' class. I highly recommend it.

The discussions were though-provoking, and the instructor's feedback very helpful. It was an enjoyable and effective way to learn.

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