Ryan Drake, a senior star water polo player here at Santa Barbara High School, has been nominated for the December Athlete of the Month at Santa Barbara High School. Coming off a stellar senior season and leading his team to the 3rd round of the CIF Playoffs, he has truly earned this honor that he has received. I had the privilege a little while ago of sitting down with Ryan and asking him a few questions about his successful senior season, being honored as athlete of the month, and the preparation and training that goes into preparing for a water polo game. Ryan said that receiving this honor “Feels awesome, this school is loaded with great athletes.”
Ryan reflected on the experience of his final high school season.After a successful high school career, Ryan said, “My experience was remarkable. We had some lows but pushed through them. I think that showed in the playoffs.”
The amount of work that an athlete puts into their craft is a lot more than just showing up to practice a couple times a week and going through the motions. I asked Ryan what his preparation and training regimen is like to prepare for an intense sport like water polo and what goes into it for him. “We train hard and often so that we can ball out come game day. We set a long term goal for the season and took small steps towards that every single day.” As an athlete, especially with a sport like water polo, consistent and rigorous training is critical to success and is demonstrated by Ryan and the water polo team in general.
As an athlete, the people around you have a lot to do with who you are as a player and who you are as a person. I asked Ryan what impact the people around him have had on him and how the circle around him has shaped him. Ryan said,“my coaches have made me the player that I am today.” With reference to his teammates, he said“We all feed off of each other and make each other better players.” Ryan has shown how important the circle around you can shape you as a player and a person.
Coming off a CIF Championship win his sophomore year, there was a lot of pressure on RYan to continue to succeed. I asked Ryan how much that pressure affects him while playing even two years after the CIF Championship win: “I use the pressure as motivation at practice and during games, but all you can do during games is focus on the play at hand.”
Image Credit: Carlo Maguire