Any coach will tell you that middle school and high school sports are getting so competitive that youngsters have to start learning fundamentals at an early age to get on a team and then get off the bench.
That’s especially true in volleyball, and that’s the concept behind the seven-week Big Walnut volleyball clinic that ended on Sunday.
Chris Podraza, who coached the clinic in the Big Walnut High School gymnasium, said this year there were 35 participants, most in grades 5 and 6, with a few third- and fourth-graders in the mix. Helping coach the young volleyball players were 13 Big Walnut High School freshman, junior varsity and varsity team members.
“During the first two weeks of the clinic, we just worked on volleyball fundamentals,” Podraza said. “The last five weeks we did some skill refreshing at the start of each day, but then clinic participants broke up into five teams of seven or eight on each team and did what they love to do: They played volleyball.”
Podraza said clinic participants named their own teams, a tradition among adult teams — Pink SMack Attack, The Terrrifying Tigers, The BOSS, Team AWESOME, The Minions.
Podraza said learning fundamentals from high school volleyball players they look up to is an important part of the clinic participant’s experience; that many of the girls on today’s middle and high school teams are former clinic participants.
“Big Walnut volleyball clinic is basically a great way for participants to learn volleyball fundamentals,” Podraza said. “It’s also a great opportunity to teach our high school girls some of the basics of coaching and being a leader; and learning from players they look up to, girls they watch when they go to high school games, gets the young girls excited about the game.”
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093