A decade leading Team USA to unparalleled success

Interview with Adam Krikorian

Adam Krikorian is among many as one of the greatest coaches in Water polo history, and he is the current USA Women’s Senior National Team Head Coach. The last decade has been filled with a ton of success, fitting Krikorian passed the milestone while guiding Team USA to their 2 Olympic Gold Medals and 6 World Titles, including last victory at the 18th FINA World Championships in Gwangju.

Some insights behind his success?! Check it out.

1. 10 Years leading Team USA that almost does not know what is “being defeated”, What would you highlight as your major success within this period?

I think it’s easy to look at the two gold medals as highlights and certainly they were wonderful moments for our program.  However, I think is our ability to have maintained the culture that was built before my time on some levels, but also the way we have integrated our own way of doing things that promotes a strong sense of creativity, adaptability, humility, and empowerment.

2. How do you create a winning character in your team? And, what continues motivating a team that has win it all?

Well, I don’t create anything.  We are all a product of our environment, our childhood and those who have influenced us over the years.  With this team, WE create that character through our consistent efforts to improve as people, not just athletes.  I am very fortunate to have highly motivated athletes who are constantly striving to improve holistically, no matter of the wins and losses.

3. In the last 10 years, Water polo has evolved a lot, which are the aspects in the Game that evolved or changed the most ?

I believe the women’s game specifically continues to develop into being a faster, more athletic, and dynamic game than it was 10 years ago.  I’m not sure the tactics have changed very much.  But they don’t need to.  What’s been fun to watch is the skill and creativity in which the game can and is being played.

4. Talking about Rule changes; some important rule changes that among other impacts, will effect the speed of the game: Which adaptations a Coach will have to make for leading a team?

As coaches, I think we are always adapting and are trying to convey that to our athletes.  Depending on the opponent, the way the game is officiated, and the pressure of the game, we need to be able to change.  The speed of our game seems to have increased and I believe it makes for a more exciting game.  The athletes not only need to be quicker but they more importantly, need to be able to think or react faster to the events within the game.   

5. Do you think that the center position is going to become less determining in the coming years?

The center position could become slightly less important but I still think there’s still tremendous value in the position.  However, their skill set may need to change slightly to be more mobile for the offensive and defensive ends of the pool.  The game (and rules) would need to change more in order for their to be a larger impact on the need for that position.

6. Maggie Steffens, Kaleigh Gilchrist, Kiley Neushul… some of the strongest and best players in the history of this sport. How do you coordinate the level of such athletes with raising stars and prospects in order to ensure a sustainable plan for the upcoming years?

So much of that is dependent on the approach those “stars” have to the game and our program.  We will only be able to maximize our success if they continue to put our team ahead of their own personal gain.  And we must continue to give space for our youth to develop in a culture that allows them to be aggressive, creative, and confident.  

Thank you Adam, we wish you and USA WP to continue with your success, making our sport better, stronger and more and more global.