WENATCHEE — The North Central Washington Volleyball Club held their annual camp at Wenatchee High School this week. It attracted 70 players over the four days of the camp. In fact, there were still eight on the waiting list.
Those players attending learn literally everything about the game of volleyball. NCW Volleyball Club Director Jeff Riley said the camp went really well. They avoided any injuries. He said the players have really taken to the coaching.
“When you look and see kids on-break out on the court. It’s because they want to learn and they want to practice what they’ve been taught. They are doing really good. It’s been a great camp,” Riley said.
Riley said there are a lot of players with potential but they don’t realize it. He believes mental toughness is the hardest to teach.
“A lot of people can jump and hit the ball hard, but to be able to use all the tools is tough for a lot of kids,” Riley said. “The younger kids are learning the basics and getting the program going, knowing what to do. We have four different courts for four different levels.”
There were four levels at the camp. The top-level is for varsity level players who are interested in playing in college. That is being coached by Wenatchee High School Assistant Coach Marni McMahon. WHS Head Coach Connor Metcalfe is also coaching.
The second level is for the players perhaps on JV who might play some varsity during the year and who might play on a second level club team. That is being coached by Eastmont Head Coach Korine Davis.
“On courts three and four, they are learning the basics. Learning the proper platform. Footwork. All of the different things you need to be able to do to learn the game and move to the upper courts,” Riley said.
NCW Volleyball Club Coach Rob Jammerman is coaching the sixth, seventh and eighth-graders. Jammerman said they are following a program known as Gold Medal Squared.
“We start with the basics. We want our camp to feed into what the high school programs are running. We want to start at the real early ages and teach them the fundamentals so that as they move up through middle school and high school, they are learning the same thing all the way along,” Jammerman said.
When the players get into high school, Jammerman said they know the system they are running. Both Eastmont and Wenatchee run a similar system, the same set of phrases and a similar set of positions on the court.
They start with the basics and work eight hours a day, four days a week.
“We see huge amounts of improvement in just four days, from some who might be in camp the first time to others who have many years under their belt,” Jammerman said.
McMahon said they are teaching everything at the camp.
“We cover it all. We do breakdown sessions, skill sessions. We do three (middle front) and four (left front) games where girls are threes and fours and having to cover a lot of the court. Then, we go to five (left-back) and six (middle back) games,” McMahon said. “We’re teaching strategies. We’re teaching tendencies. It is a skill set, but also offensive and defensive stuff. They are learning a ton of stuff in just four days’ time.”
The girls are learning what a practice or skill session should look like, McMahon said.
They learn the amount of work it takes to run an efficient practice. By the end of the camp, the girls are exhausted.
They are learning a ton of stuff in just four days’ time, she said.
“The work ethic piece, they are going to take back to their gyms. Just the high-intensity level of this kind of camp. They are learning a lot,” McMahon said.
It does not matter what position you play, you will learn it all at the camp. The first two days are all skills. McMahon said they are teaching and working with advanced skill sets.
They are covering serving, passing, hitting, blocking and more.
“When we get into days three and four, we work strategies, offense, and defense and learn the tendencies of their opponents. They are learning a lot about the game. If you are a setter, you are learning how to swing and serve,” McMahon said.
Davis said there are not as many Eastmont girls as Wenatchee, but they’ve already had two camps for Eastmont, so it’s been good.
“It’s been great, especially working with Marni. She has many years of experience on top of me. I’ve learned a lot. It’s been a great group of girls to work with,” Davis said.
Over the four days, Davis said they have broken down every skill.
“We started with passing, then went to hitting. We’ve done setting, serving technique. We focus a lot on defense. We focused a lot on live play, so they got lots of touches,” Davis said. “The girls are constantly competing with each other. It’s awesome.”
Over the course of four days, Davis said the amount of growth she has seen from the girls has been “immense.”
“From day one until now, every girl is a new girl. It is awesome and I am so excited to watch them all this season, whether, on Wenatchee’s side or my side, I’m excited to see them keep growing,” Davis said. “I’m hoping they take all the skills with them and the fun of camp. I hope they want to come back again.”