Volleyball is usually not an option for young Craig athlete girls looking to learn a new sport.
Yet, competitive team play begins in the seventh and eighth grades at Craig Middle School, which means many girls haven’t started developing the basic skills until they try out for the teams in those grades.
So Sarah Linsacum started a youth volleyball camp this summer, for girls of all ages up to high school to start learning earlier. The camp began Monday and concludes Wednesday at Moffat County High School, with first- through eighth-graders invited to participate.
Linsacum noticed the lack of fundamental volleyball skills among girls first being introduced to the game, so she decided to step in between seasons.
“This has a huge emphasis on basic skill development and fundamentals,” she said. “I saw our kids are really lacking in a lot of those basics when they first come to play volleyball. There’s just a lot of them with no exposure to the sport. So we’re talking about shuffling our feet, positioning, footwork.”
Even at the seventh- and eighth-grade level, where girls may have more experience, it is a very fundamental approach, Linsacum said.
The camp splits girls up in age groups throughout the day. In the early sections, with first and second-grade girls potentially holding a volleyball for the first time, it has been a bare-bones look at the sport.
“With the younger girls we toss the ball around a lot of the time,” Linsacum said. “Tossing is a lot like passing, so we’ll have the girls stand in different spots and toss it to each other. They have picked up some passing, though.”
Regardless of the skills developed in this three-day camp, the larger goal is to foster an interest in the sport. Three days of work will not change a girl’s volleyball career, but learning to enjoy the sport may inspire further practice outside of camp. That’s why every camper will get a volleyball when they leave.
“Most of these girls don’t have a volleyball at home,” Linsacum said. “So we’re going to give all of them a volleyball instead of a T-shirt. Even if you’re just bouncing it off a wall or something like that at home, you’re playing with the volleyball.”
Alexa Neton, playing in the fifth- and sixth-grade camp Tuesday afternoon, said she had never played before, but wanted to come check it out. That day they worked extensively on passing and serving. Neton said she had fun.
About 60 girls signed up for this year’s camp, which Linsacum said she hopes to make an annual event.
“Sixty girls, and over 20 of them in the seventh- and eighth-grade group, that’s great,” she said.
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or email@example.com