Gracie Adams wanted to work on a variety of skills while attending volleyball camp at Seymour Middle School this week.
“I’m a setter,” she said. “I’m working on pushing the ball out to my hitters and stuff and reading where the ball is coming from and where I need to be. Where you need to be on the court is one of the most important things because that can mess up your whole rotation. Communication is very important because there can be a lot of injuries if you don’t communicate or if you don’t talk and bring up your team, it won’t help you win, and you’re not working together as a team.”
Adams, who will be a seventh grader this fall, said she has been playing volleyball since second grade and has attended volleyball camp for about the same number of years.
Angie Lucas, head volleyball coach at Seymour High School and the camp director, said 44 girls attended the camp.
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The girls were divided into two groups with 22 in the third- through sixth-grade group and 22 in the seventh- and eighth-grade group.
“I start with third grade,” Lucas said. “I just feel that is the age where they can handle the weight of the ball and height of the net, so that has always been my starting point. With the younger group, we work a lot on basic skills and learning the correct technique so that we don’t have to break old habits as they get older.”
The camp for the older girls is more advanced.
“With the older kids, we can move away from that a little bit and work more on strategy and team concepts,” Lucas said. “They’ve been with us for a while with our club programs and things, so they know the basics. They’ve been trained well for that.”
She said some of the girls in the younger group are learning to serve overhand.
“The sixth graders are doing a good job with that,” Lucas said. “For the third, fourth and fifth graders, that is a new skill for them, so we let them serve underhand in our games, our scrimmages, but we do work on the overhand serve with them. That is the ultimate goal for them.”
Lucas said another area that is getting a lot of attention is how to serve receive by getting in the proper stance and having their hands in the correct position to receive the ball.
“Above all of that, we really want them to have a sense of belonging to this program, working hard and establishing a family-type atmosphere,” Lucas said. “We want these kids to be an Owl, so we’re working hard on building those relationships with the kids.”
On Monday, the older group worked on setting and passing. Tuesday, they worked on serving and hitting, and the final two days of camp were mostly playing with some technique work.
Maci Ulrey, an incoming seventh grader at SMS, was among the campers.
“I like volleyball because I’m good at it, and it teaches you a lot of stuff, like it bringing your team together. Everybody in volleyball talks to each other,” she said. “Communication in volleyball is really important because you have to communicate or your team is not going to work out, so when a ball comes to you, just say ‘mine,’ so you just have to communicate.”
For the middle school team, Ulrey said she would like to play in the front middle or back row.
“I like to play back row because I’m good at passing,” she said.
Ulrey said she also likes serving and usually gets her serves over the net.
Nora Campbell, an incoming sixth grader at St. Mary’s in North Vernon, said this is the second volleyball camp she has attended this summer, as she also went to the one at Trinity Lutheran in June.
“I’ve learned a lot of things. I’ve learned how to pass, set, hit, tip, everything. I really like serving,” Campbell said.
Seymour junior varsity volleyball coach Mackenzie Wieneke and members of the high school team assisted Lucas with the drills.
“It’s a good time for (campers) to build relationships with the kids, with the coaches,” Lucas said. “We just want to get to know these kids and welcome them into our programs.”