Netters Camp a Success
Union Pines High School’s annual summer volleyball camp was a smash success for all parties involved this week.
According to Lady Vike head coach Leslie Fish, the three-day camp, held at Bob Ward Gymnasium for rising fourth- to ninth-grade girls, had a record 52 campers come out this year.
“This is the most campers UP volleyball has ever had,” Fish said, “so we are extremely pleased with the turnout. The numbers say a lot about out program — girls in the area are interested in playing the sport competitively.”
The largest single group was the rising seventh-grade campers.
“These young ladies want to make the middle school teams this fall,” said Fish. “Large numbers from Union Pines feeder middle schools (New Century and Crain’s Creek) means large numbers for Union Pines volleyball.
“This creates an opportunity to keep building the program. If young ladies start coming to camp as fourth graders, they will have the skills, fundamentals and techniques needed to play volleyball at the high school level.”
Monday the camp started with Fish and her camp staff going over passing and setting fundamentals. Fish also taught campers the proper approach footwork.
“We started basic from one knee passing to seated setting,” said Fish. “Then we progressed to passing and setting from a standing posture as they took more touches on the ball and became comfortable. Later we divided the campers up in nine groups for passing and setting to get more touches and individual attention.”
According to Fish, her current Union Pines volleyball players led the camp in stretching and warm-up exercises, as well as dynamic stretching to ball drills in order to warm up the kids’ arms.
Among the Lady Viking player counselors were Morgan Bridgers, Crystal Hicks, Tiffany Hicks, Anna Sadler, Lexi Byrd, Zazil Porras, Cassidy Walker. Brittany Erickson and Ashlyn Owens.
“Seeing my players interact and teach the campers is the best part of this whole thing to me,” said Fish. “The players get into it and really help the younger kids — I loved watching them show and teach the campers the same way I teach them.
“It is so rewarding as a coach to see these young ladies impact the younger kids. Regardless if the players know it or not, the campers look up to them and hope to pass, set, hit, block and serve like them one day.
“Teaching the camp makes you play the game better. Even though the players are not playing, they are getting mental practice and repetition. If the players teach and demonstrate the fundamentals, they have no choice but to put them to use.”
On day two, campers worked on serving and blocking techniques. They were also led by Union Pines’ player-counselors again in stations to build on from what they had learned during day one.
After the technical and fundamentals areas were covered Wednesday, the fun really began to bringing the camp to an exciting conclusion.
“We divided our two courts into five short courts and let the campers actually play, with each team playing each other twice,” said Fish. “This gave the campers the opportunity to put their skills learned into play, while also mixing it up in friendly competition.”
When summarizing the camp, Fish said its primary focus was to get the younger girls in the community excited about volleyball and teach the proper techniques required to play the game, such as passing, setting, blocking, hitting and serving.
“There is not much volleyball exposure for most kids in this area,” said Fish. “There are all kinds of recreation leagues for basketball, soccer, cheerleading, softball, but not one for volleyball.
“Volleyball is a great sport and it seems to get left out. When these girls leave camp, we want them to leave excited and saying how much fun they had and how much they learned.”
That’s what is it all about,” Fish said, “creating a love for the game.”
In closing, Fish wanted to give a special shout-out to one member of her camp staff — one who is trading in the Viking blue for North More green and gold.”
“The Union Pines Lady Viking volleyball program appreciates all the help we have received from Emily Frey this week (at camp) and last season (as an assistant coach),” said Fish.
Tuesday, Frey was officially named the head volleyball coach for the North Moore Mustangs.
“Emily made Union Pines volleyball better,” said Fish. “We wish her the best at North Moore, and she will be missed by everyone involved with our volleyball teams.”
Contact F.W. Manning II at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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