Thursday, April 27, 2006

5th Grade Volleyball Camp

This afternoon was a different experience for me. I held my first 5th grade volleyball camp. The school I coach for is a small private school and we don't have as many 7th and 8th grade players as the larger public schools so we have to play all our middle school student-athletes. So my 7th grade team is typically a mixture of 6th and 7th grade students. My 8th grade team is usually a combination of 7th and 8th graders. Last year I even had a 6th grader playing on the 8th grade team in the year end tournament.

In order to get a head start on next year we scheduled some monthly volleyball camps for this spring and summer. The seasons starts right after the school year and there just isn't enough practice time to properly train girls who have never played volleyball before. Since the entire middle school is at camp KEEP this week, it seemed like a good time to spend some time with next year's middle school athletes.

I had eight 5th grade girls show up for camp. That is every girl in the 5th grade. Unfortunately two of the 8 girls will not be attending school at Saint Anns next year. So I will probably only have six 6th grade players next year. Which should be enough.

It would have been kind of irritating spending time to teach young players how to play volleyball so that they can go play for someone else next year. Except that they won't be playing next year. They will have to wait for their 7th grade year to compete in the public schools. So I helped them as I could figuring that they will forget a lot of it over the next 18 months.

The other six girls are going to be fun. I have two girls who are catching on quick. They are on teams in the city league and it shows. But they still play like 10 year old beginners. They listened and tried the stuff I asked them too. Two other players showed some promise. They were brand new to the game but tried thier hardest. The last two are going to be projects. They were unsure of themselves and very awkward. But with some time and some extra attention I think they will work out. They got frustrated at things not working as easily as they thought it should. But at least they didn't give up.

None of my new players cared much for my end of practice drill. But then I would have worried about them if they had. None of my older girls like it either. I end every practice with the same drill. I call it line sprints. It is a relay race. I divide the team into two squads. They line up on the starting line. The first runner in each squad runs 20 feet to the first line on the patio, touches the line and sprints back to the start line. Touches the start line, and then sprints down the patio to the line that is 40 feet away, touches it and sprints back to the start line. Touches it, and sprints the length of the patio (about 60 feet) touches the line at the end of the patio and then sprints back to the start line where they tag the next person in line. The first squad finished, wins. One of these days I'm going to think of something for them to win other than the cheers of their classmates and a heartfelt congratualations from the sadistic SOB that made them run that event in the first place.

I'm looking forward to our next camp in two weeks. It will include my new 5th graders and all the middle school players. I think getting these younger players working with the olders players will do them a lot of good.

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