6-8 Training Academy

The first high-performance training Academy for water polo in the United States. Semester-based, full time and immersive training program for athletes serious about playing in college or rapidly improving their skills. State of the art gym/ conditioning, high-level water polo, mental/tactical work, virtual reality, nutrition guidance, college recruiting consultation, and more. 

Athletes are monitored by the 6-8 Platform and detailed personal evaluations to track and analyze progress over time.

Program Location & Detail

WHERE

The Los Caballeros Sports & Racquet Club, Fountain Valley CA

SEMESTERS

Winter/Spring (January – May)
Summer (June/ July)
Fall (September – December)

IDEAL FOR

1) High school freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors looking for the best training available, to get recruited or just to rapidly improve their skill level.

2) Gap year students either already accepted into college and looking to prepare, or athletes looking to expand their recruiting opportunities after graduation.

3) NEW: youth development program for rising 7th, 8th & 9th graders.

Open to any and all athletes

Academy Schedule

MONDAY/WEDNESDAY/FRIDAY

Conditioning – Mobility – Strength

Mondays
  • 8:00 – 8:30: ALL Mobility/Gym Preparation
  • 8:30 – 9:20: BOYS Gym
  • 8:30 – 9:15: GIRLS Group Activity/Seminar*
  • 9:30 – 12:00: Pool Training 
Wednesdays
  • 8:00 – 8:30: ALL Mobility/Gym Preparation
  • 8:30 – 9:20: BOYS Gym 
  • 8:30 – 9:15: GIRLS Group Activity/Seminar*
  • 9:30 – 12:00: Pool Training 
Fridays
  • 8:00 – 8:20: ALL Recovery & Mobility ALL (this is the time athletes take care of their bodies, stretch, meet with X)
  • 8:20 – 9:20: ALL Group Activity/Seminar*
  • 9:30 – 12:00: Pool Training
TUESDAY/THURSDAY 

Mental Trainings – Virtual Reality – Seminars – Tactics

Tuesdays
  • 8:00 – 8:30: ALL Mobility/Gym Preparation
  • 8:30 – 9:20: GIRLS Gym 
  • 8:30 – 9:15: BOYS Group Activity/Seminar*
  • 9:30 – 12:00: Pool Training 
Thursdays
  • 8:00 – 8:30: ALL Mobility/Gym Preparation 
  • 8:30 – 9:20: GIRLS Gym 
  • 8:30 – 9:15: BOYS Group Activity/Seminar*
  • 9:30 – 12:00: Pool Training 

*Academy athletes pass through a series of various group activities during the semester. These activities and seminars, in addition to the high level coaching, offer athletes unique access to resources that help facilitate success in all dimensions of their game & growth:

  • Alternative performance training (yoga, spin course, etc) 
  • Nutrition seminars with Coach X
  • Video Breakdown sessions with Tony Azevedo 
  • Tactical Training with Coach Rico 
  • Mental Performance Training with REPS Founder Dutch Franz and Bridget Cahill (Academy Mental Performance Coach)
  • Virtual Reality training with REPS technology (group and individually) with Tony Azevedo
  • Academic Success Seminars & Counseling
  • Guest Speakers (including professional athletes, Olympic champions and more!)

Academy Coaches

Head Coach

Ricardo Azevedo

Considered to be one of the premier coaches in the world. Highlights include:

  • Head Coach for the USA Men’s Water Polo Team, USA Junior Team and Long Beach State University
  • Head Coach of the professional Italian team RN Camogli in 2007, unexpectedly leading his young team to the division Championship title game in 2008
  • Head Coach of the Chinese Men’s & Women’s National Water Polo Teams, leading them for the 2016 Rio Olympics
Main Coach & Mentor

Tony Azevedo

  • 5x Olympian & Silver Medalist
  • 4x NCAA MVP & Former Team USA Captain
  • Stanford Grad, Harvard Masters
Coach & Mentor

Maggie Steffens

  • 3x Gold Medalist, Current Team USA Captain
  • Named best female athlete In the world by FINA
  • Stanford d.School, BS and Masters in Management Science & Engineering
Part-Time Coach & Mentor

Merrill Moses

  • 3x Gold Medalist & Silver Medalist
  • Current Pepperdine Coach
Main Coach

Jimmy Heard

  • Founder of East Side WP, top girls club in the zone from 2019- 2023 
  • 17 years coaching experience worldwide, including National Team and ODP
Guest Coach

Nicolas Saveljic, M.Ed

  • UCLA – Master’s Degree in Transformative Coaching and Leadership Professional Water Polo player
  • 2 x NCAA Champion
  • 2020 Peter J Cutino Award Winner
Umberto Panerai
Guest Coach

Umberto Panerai

  • 3x Olympian & Silver Medalist (Italy)
  • 2x Italian Champion/ Italian Cup Winner
  • Former Technical Director, Catalan Federation & Club Natación Sabadell
  • Former Spanish Youth National Team Head Coach
  • RN Florentia D1 Italian Waterpolo Championship/ SIS Roma Italian D1 Women’s Championship
Sports Performance Coach

Brian X

  • Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach w/ 7 years of experience
  • Certified Massage Therapist w/ 6 years of experience
  • Played Collegiately at D2 Fresno Pacific University and American River College

Goalie Coach

Jahmea Bent

  • UCLA Star Goalie Starter 
  • Professional Goalie for Spandau Germany
Bridget Cahill
Mental Performance Coach

Bridget Cahill MS

  • Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC) Candidate
  • M.S. Sport and Performance Psychology: California Baptist University
  • B.S. Kinesiology: California State University, Fullerton
On-Campus Organizer

Cambria (Cam) Greer

  • Four-time Academic All-American
  • Played water polo at UC Berkeley – B.S. Political Science
Minnie Greer
Full-time Onsite Chaperone

Minnie Greer

  • Over 30 years experience of spearheading event planning, coordination, community outreach projects, and youth engagement
  • Mother of two student athletes in water polo and soccer both went onto UC Berkeley

Lodging & Food

We have both overnight and commuter options.

Sample Unit 1, Sample Unit 2, Sample Unit 3

  • Overnight athletes live in shared apartments at the Los Cab Sports Village
  • 2- 3 Athletes per room, 5 max per apartment
  • Coach X and a full time chaperone also live on campus
  • Overnight athletes get lunch & dinner 5x per week (prepared by a private chef/ menus created by our dedicated Academy sports performance nutritionist)
  • Commuters can opt in to the meal plan for lunch and/or dinner

6-8 Water Polo Edge

  • Daily 2-hour water polo training sessions with Tony, Ricardo Azevedo, Coach X and the 6-8 Team/ guest coaches
  • Learn from the best in the business in an intimate and professional atmosphere
  • Technique, conditioning, tactical work, game situations and more

Academics

  • Athletes can be enrolled in any form of online or hybrid school program that works with the Academy schedule
  • Certain athletes choose to continue online school through their existing high schools and others move to completely independent programs (the ICL Academy is worth checking out)
  • The training schedule can be flexible EXCEPT for the 10am – noon pool time so academic programs must be scheduled around that
  • Optional add-on study/ tutoring sessions with onsite tutor available

College Consulting & Recruiting Services

  • Personalized goal setting and college selection with Tony Azevedo & Maggie Steffens
  • Individual consulting sessions to help each athlete work through the process in detail (building a resume, creating the right video clips, when/ how to reach out to coaches, email drafts and more)
  • All of the above is included in Academy tuition

Our Academy Graduates Are Now Playing At

Brown
Spanish Professional League
Stanford
UC Davis
UCLA
UCSD
UCI

Bucknell
Wagner
UC Berkeley
Pepperdine
USC
Concordia

Michigan
Santa Clara
Pomona Pitzer
ASU
LMU
CBU
CSULB
Salem

Mental Skills Program

  • High-performance psychologist and consulting psychologist for the water polo programs at UCLA, Stanford, and LMU
  • Founder of REPS-VR, the industry leading sports virtual reality training system

The 6-8 Academy is excited to introduce a comprehensive holistic evidence-based mental skills program to this year’s programing. Academy athletes will be provided college level mental skills training and then given the opportunity to apply and refine these skills in the weight room, in the pool, and in their academic life. Training will include lessons and practice exercise in leadership, cognitive development, emotional regulation, high-performance culture and goal setting.

Sports Performance Program

  • Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach w/ 7 years of experience
  • Certified Massage Therapist w/ 6 years of experience
  • Played Collegiately at D2 Fresno Pacific University and American River College

The 6-8 Academy Sports Performance Program was specifically created to change how water polo athletes are assessed, trained, and educated. Athletes learn how to use data to understand their physical limitations and technical deficits and how to fix them. 

The program aims to create disciplined, hardworking and mentally tough athletes who are ready to compete in NCAA Division 1 Collegiate Water Polo, as well as professionally and at the Olympic level. 

Other Information

Athletes are encouraged to join a local southern California club to train with in the evenings

We can help provide extra training opportunities for athletes who chose not to join a club

Exception for certain international athletes to only attend program for 3 months (based on visa situation)

Testimonials

In 2021 I spent the summer and fall semesters at the 6-8 Elite Academy. This was an amazing experience that benefits me as a water polo player, but also a person. Being at the academy, you continually surround yourself with mentors and athletes who are…

In 2021 I spent the summer and fall semesters at the 6-8 Elite Academy. This was an amazing experience that benefits me as a water polo player, but also a person. Being at the academy, you continually surround yourself with mentors and athletes who are willing to push you and teach lifelong lessons. Tony, Rico, Maggie and all of the other incredible coaches bring a level of experience and knowledge that is simply irreplaceable. I learned so much from being there and can consider the 6-8 group my family. Thank you!

Read More J Jojo Academy Athlete for Summer/ Fall Semesters

Our daughter spent 6+ months of 2021 at the 6-8 Academy. Tony, Rico and Maggie were amazing with her. She learned so much from them, and considers them mentors to this day. They stay in close touch, and she knows she can reach out anytime…

Our daughter spent 6+ months of 2021 at the 6-8 Academy. Tony, Rico and Maggie were amazing with her. She learned so much from them, and considers them mentors to this day. They stay in close touch, and she knows she can reach out anytime for help. We appreciated the communication, feedback and updates.  It takes a village to raise these kids, and everyone at 6-8 showed that they are part of the village and committed to the kids! 

Read More K Kristi & Scott Parents of Academy Athlete

Our son loves water polo. When it came time for him to improve his skills and knowledge of the game, he needed to learn from the best. Tony and Rico Azevedo are the best! Our athlete wanted to live and breathe the game of water polo and the…

Our son loves water polo. When it came time for him to improve his skills and knowledge of the game, he needed to learn from the best. Tony and Rico Azevedo are the best! Our athlete wanted to live and breathe the game of water polo and the 6-8 academy provided that for him. The weights and swimming combined with mental toughness and fundamental skills work helped our son achieve his goal of playing college water polo. I can’t recommend the 6-8 academy program highly enough. It gives athletes the outlet that they need to be their best and find lifelong success.

Read More T Tom & Jennifer Parents of Academy Athletes for Various Semesters

My daughter was in the 1st 6-8 class at the academy. My son is going to attend this summer. The quality of coaching and opportunity is outstanding. Rico, Tony and the entire team at 6-8 know how to develop athletes. Not only will their technique…

My daughter was in the 1st 6-8 class at the academy. My son is going to attend this summer. The quality of coaching and opportunity is outstanding. Rico, Tony and the entire team at 6-8 know how to develop athletes. Not only will their technique improve but their overall understanding of the game will as well. They will also learn how to navigate through the college admission process. What coaches are looking for and what aspects of their game they need to change. The 6-8 team is honest, effective, and supportive. If your athlete is willing to learn and improve, the 6-8 academy is the place for them.

Read More A Alexis Mom of Long-time Academy Athlete

The Academy fosters a terrific environment of competitiveness and improvement. There is something very special about being surrounded by people who are equally committed to water polo, and it enables the most effective training. You get to know your teammates in and out of the…

The Academy fosters a terrific environment of competitiveness and improvement. There is something very special about being surrounded by people who are equally committed to water polo, and it enables the most effective training. You get to know your teammates in and out of the pool, competing to make each other better every day while also building new friendships. My time at the academy not only improved my water polo, but helped me develop into a mature all-around athlete and prepared me for college. I developed skills to protect my body, the most important thing to an athlete, as well as mental fortitude. The workshops about mindset have continued to benefit me in my athletic career and also in my everyday life. Finally, Tony, Maggie, Rico, Sara, and all the coaches create a family and a home for all of their athletes.

Read More K Kate Original Academy Athlete (attended for over 1 year)

Ellison had an amazing time. The time spent with the older kids was invaluable – as was the coaching. After spending some time observing the program, there’s no doubt why SoCal dominates the sport. Yours is the most buttoned-up, comprehensive on-going program in the sport…

Ellison had an amazing time. The time spent with the older kids was invaluable – as was the coaching. After spending some time observing the program, there’s no doubt why SoCal dominates the sport. Yours is the most buttoned-up, comprehensive on-going program in the sport that I’ve seen. The structure of the program facilitates discipline – and I saw that in Ellison even during the short time she was there. Great integration of non-water polo training too.

Read More J Julie Mom of Guest Athlete at Winter/ Spring Semester

After the Academy, our daughter returned home not only a much better water polo player, but also a more mature person who was ready to take on the challenges of being a student-athlete in college. She learned to balance rigorous training with academic excellence, all…

After the Academy, our daughter returned home not only a much better water polo player, but also a more mature person who was ready to take on the challenges of being a student-athlete in college. She learned to balance rigorous training with academic excellence, all while living in a very independent environment with a group of peers. The experience has prepared her for college in a way few other programs could. And the leadership team at 6-8 really struck the balance well between pushing her and supporting her.  They continue to support her, and she thinks of the 6-8 team like family.

Read More M Mike & Chrissi Parents of Longtime Academy Athlete

Our son came to 6-8 having already played at a very high level. He was seeking to improve, be surrounded by other dedicated scholar-athletes, and earn a recruitment spot at a Division 1 college. He got all that and more. Rico, Tony, and Maggie got…

Our son came to 6-8 having already played at a very high level. He was seeking to improve, be surrounded by other dedicated scholar-athletes, and earn a recruitment spot at a Division 1 college. He got all that and more. Rico, Tony, and Maggie got to know him and focused on specific areas of improvement. From the mental side of the sport to nutrition advice and stretching to prevent injury, 6-8 was the complete experience. I recommend the program to anyone who asks!

Read More K Kevin Date of 6-8 Multiple Semester Academy Athlete

After participating in several of Azevedo’s phenomenal clinics and camps, our son asked if he could apply to attend the 6-8 Academy. It did not disappoint! We were so impressed with the way the 6-8 Academy focused on coaching the whole athlete. Not only did…

After participating in several of Azevedo’s phenomenal clinics and camps, our son asked if he could apply to attend the 6-8 Academy. It did not disappoint! We were so impressed with the way the 6-8 Academy focused on coaching the whole athlete. Not only did all aspects of our son’s water polo game improve with the personal training he received from the amazing list of Olympian, college, and elite coaches, but 6-8 also improved our son’s confidence, mental attitude, and nutritional acumen. Thanks to the 6-8 Academy our son is headed off to a D1 college feeling prepared and excited to play at the next level!

Read More B Bill & Michelle Parents of Fall Semester Academy Athlete

After graduating from high school in Brazil, I came to California to attend the 6-8 Academy for the spring semester of 2022. Looking back from my experience I can say with any doubts that it was the best choice I made. This experience not only…

After graduating from high school in Brazil, I came to California to attend the 6-8 Academy for the spring semester of 2022. Looking back from my experience I can say with any doubts that it was the best choice I made. This experience not only helped me improve and get the exposure I needed as a water polo player but also helped me become a better person. Being surrounded by the top coaches and mentors in the country who are not only focused on water polo but also in making you become a better version of yourself. After attending the 6-8 Academy I can say that I’m more than ready for college! Thank you Tony, Rico, Maggie, Sara and all the coaches who helped me make the most out this experience!

Read More F Federico Winter/ Spring Semester Athlete

My son participated in the Winter 2022 Academy and I am thoroughly blown away by his increased level of play. All aspects of his game improved, especially his confidence. His passion and game knowledge increased immensely. For me, the Academy brought such peace to my…

My son participated in the Winter 2022 Academy and I am thoroughly blown away by his increased level of play. All aspects of his game improved, especially his confidence. His passion and game knowledge increased immensely. For me, the Academy brought such peace to my life. I knew my son was getting Olympic level training and competition daily as 6-8 gave him the tools needed to reach his potential. I’m so grateful to 6-8 and the entire Azevedo family for the positive impact the program had in all our lives.

Read More M Meghan Mom of Longtime Academy Athlete

The 6-8 academy allowed me the opportunity to travel across the country as well as internationally to compete and get my name out there. Growing up in Thousand Oaks, California water polo is not that popular or competitive. The academy helped me grow my skills…

The 6-8 academy allowed me the opportunity to travel across the country as well as internationally to compete and get my name out there. Growing up in Thousand Oaks, California water polo is not that popular or competitive. The academy helped me grow my skills at an astronomical level. The experience and training that Tony, Rico, and Maggie provided me changed my life and helped me get into a D1 University which most likely would have never happened if I stayed in Thousand Oaks. The academy brought me so many friends from all over the world that I’ll be in touch with for years to come. Overall, the academy shaped the athlete and person I am today in all the best ways.

Read More R Reef Academy Athlete for Multiple Semesters

The academy helped not only psychically but also mentally develop my game. Psychically, I got into the best shape of my life. I became a faster in the pool and learned how to make smarter decisions quicker. My game IQ completely transformed after being at…

The academy helped not only psychically but also mentally develop my game. Psychically, I got into the best shape of my life. I became a faster in the pool and learned how to make smarter decisions quicker. My game IQ completely transformed after being at the academy for only 1 year. However the thing that developed my game the most was working on mental toughness with Tony and Rico. Now I’m going into my first season as a D1 athlete prepared. I wouldn’t be where I am as an athlete or even as a person without my time training at the academy.

Read More A Aliyah Academy Athlete for Multiple Semesters

The 6-8 Academy definitely prepared me for the work / polo / life balance of high level athletics and rigorous academics. The experience of the Academy cultivated my resilience that allows me to perform in a stressful environment. It also gave me experience practicing with…

The 6-8 Academy definitely prepared me for the work / polo / life balance of high level athletics and rigorous academics. The experience of the Academy cultivated my resilience that allows me to perform in a stressful environment. It also gave me experience practicing with a wide variety of players and made me an adaptable player. Additionally, it developed my water polo IQ. I learned so much about decision making and tactics of water polo and was able to speed up my reaction and decision making time in the pool.

Read More K Kate Academy Athlete for Multiple Semesters

The 6-8 Academy helped me to become a more confident player by growing my water polo IQ and skills!!

M Maggie Academy Athlete for Multiple Semesters

68 helped expand my water polo IQ. Rico and tony are both great coaches and care very much about each and every player. They want everyone to get better and will help you individually. I also found so much love in the sport through 68. It was always a safe environment with the coaches and they helped me a lot with the mental part of the game.

N Nieve Academy Athlete for Multiple Semesters

The Academy really helped me develop as an athlete in multiple ways. Firstly by helping me learn how to handle life outside of sport on my own and maintain a healthy lifestyle/schedule independently. Also it developed me both physically and mentally as a water polo…

The Academy really helped me develop as an athlete in multiple ways. Firstly by helping me learn how to handle life outside of sport on my own and maintain a healthy lifestyle/schedule independently. Also it developed me both physically and mentally as a water polo player. I was pushed to not just challenge my body but my mind as well. Finally it provided a stepping stone into Southern California water polo that I had never experienced being from Oregon.

Read More L Leo Academy Athlete for Multiple Semesters

68 was the perfect environment for me to grow my Water Polo skills. Everyone there was competitive and wanted to become a better athlete. I also love the coaches mindset of how growing as a person is more important than becoming a better player, and…

68 was the perfect environment for me to grow my Water Polo skills. Everyone there was competitive and wanted to become a better athlete. I also love the coaches mindset of how growing as a person is more important than becoming a better player, and growing your skills as a person and a leader was also an extremely important part of the program. Everyday I was so happy to be at a place where I could work hard and revive amazing coaching from Tony, Rico, and the other coaches!

Read More E Emily Academy Athlete for Multiple Semesters

Ellison had an amazing time. The time spent with the older kids was invaluable – as was the coaching. After spending some time observing the program, there’s no doubt why SoCal dominates the sport. Yours is the most buttoned-up, comprehensive on-going program in the sport…

Ellison had an amazing time. The time spent with the older kids was invaluable – as was the coaching. After spending some time observing the program, there’s no doubt why SoCal dominates the sport. Yours is the most buttoned-up, comprehensive on-going program in the sport that I’ve seen. The structure of the program facilitates discipline – and I saw that in Ellison even during the short time she was there. Great integration of non-water polo training too.

Read More J Julie Mom of guest athlete for Winter/ Spring Semester

I just want to send a note of thanks to Tony, Rico, Minnie, Cam (and everyone else) for the wonderful opportunity you’re giving my grandson. During his first visit back to Connecticut last spring, I noticed how much more confident and independent he seemed after…

I just want to send a note of thanks to Tony, Rico, Minnie, Cam (and everyone else) for the wonderful opportunity you’re giving my grandson. During his first visit back to Connecticut last spring, I noticed how much more confident and independent he seemed after just a few short months with all of you in California. Teenagers face so many challenges today; but it is obvious that Tony, Rico, and the entire staff at 6-8 Sports help develop such good character and basic core values in the young people who attend your sports center. I’ve loved having Jackson back here in Connecticut for the summer…being able to see him so much and helping to chauffeur him back and forth to his summer job. However, I know he is now getting eager to return to his ‘California family’ and the start of his senior year in high school!

Read More N Nancy Ethier Grandmother of longtime 6-8 Academy participant

CONTACT US

For more info on tuition prices and availability email sara@6-8sports.com

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