By Taylor Grafft
Coach Gretchen Peterson hosted the 2014 Lady Panther Volleyball Camp this week and had a great turnout of girls eager to learn and improve.
Coach Peterson was joined by her assistant coaches, the junior high volleyball coaches, and some of the current and former players on her varsity teams.
The camp was designed for all incoming fifth graders through freshmen and offered students a chance to not only have fun, but also improve on their skills.
It was also a great opportunity for the younger kids to learn some of the same drills and techniques that the current Lady Panthers are practicing during the school year.
The camp ran from July 28-31. The coaches hosted two sessions, a morning session for the younger Panthers, and an afternoon session for the older Panthers, eighth and ninth graders.
“Our goal is to expose them to the way we teach fundamentals and the expectations we’ll have of them through their volleyball careers,” said Coach Peterson. “We want them to get as many touches on the ball as we can. We want the camp to be fun, high energy, and for them to get as many reps as possible.”
The new gyms and facilities have allowed the coaches and players to get more done this week and have more room for the participants. There are also a lot of kids with high skill levels coming into camp this year.
“It’s really nice being in these facilities because there’s a lot more space,” Coach Peterson said. “We’re really lucky to have some of these girls involved on the community volleyball teams, in clubs, etc., so we’re really getting a lot more younger girls coming in with higher skill sets.”
Camp was also an opportunity for the coaches to build relationships with the girls at a younger age so they’re familiar with them once they start playing in the fall and once they get to the high school level.
“It’s great when we see these girls in junior high and high school because we’ve already established a relationship,” Coach Peterson said. “We have our junior high and high school staffs helping me out. We also have some returners and some of our current players that come and volunteer for NHS hours.”
A majority of the girls that are volunteering their time and helping run the camp, were once a part of these camps and can relate to these younger girls. It also gives the younger girls an idea of where they need to be in the future and gives them the ability to ask questions to the older kids because they’ve been there, she said.
“It’s really nice for me to be able to explain things and be able to trust in my staff, and the people that are helping and working that it’s going to be done,” Coach Peterson said. “They understand what’s expected and they’ve been through it in the past.”
Coach Peterson explained that because the girls are really practicing and participating on their own in the community and club teams, it really helps out the junior high and high school programs in the fall because they don’t have to spend as much team teaching the fundamentals. It allows the girls to spend more time on the court and gives them more confidence to try things and also gives them the desire to keep improving each day.