By Hale Hughes
WOODVILLE—Last week, TC Thunder held a volleyball camp at the Eagle Summit. The camp was put on by Luciana Babin, her sister Dani Reis and Nyla Shepherd all of who played for the Louisiana State University Tigers ranked third in the nation at the time and were each accomplished collegiate players in their own right.
Babin was named freshman of the year and the SEC tournament MVP as an outside hitter and part of the first SEC team ever to make it to two NCAA final fours. To this day Babin still holds the all-time LSU 'dig record' for a three-set match. She is now married to Lucas Babin and lives in Woodville.
Reis was a four-year letterman at LSU and was the starting setter for the Tigers from 1989-1992. She was a three-time all-American and was named to the All SEC team each year she played. Reis holds an all-time assist record for the Tigers and currently ranks 9th in the NCAA. Reis was the first volleyball player to be inducted to the LSU hall of fame. She is now the mother of three kids, two of which are volleyball players at Eckerd College in Florida.
Shepherd was a member of LSU's team from 1988-1991 and played basketball for the Tigers in 1990. She was a three-time All-SEC nominee and Honorable Mention All-American during her tenure at LSU. Shepherd is one of two players in LSU's history to post over 400 kills in three consecutive seasons and is LSU's all-time leader with 1735 kills to her credit. Shepherd brings a wealth of coaching experience to the TC Thunder camp.
Babin said after attending some games and being asked for input from several players that having a camp to share her volleyball talent, knowledge, skill and expertise with kids in the community. Babin said that she spoke with several parents in the area and by word of mouth and Facebook sharing, approximately 50 girls turned up for the camp consisting of girls from grades 4-12. Girls from across the East Texas region showed up with players from Cleveland, Madisonville, Warren, Jasper, Chester, Woodville and Colmesneil all attending.
Babin said they worked on repetition skills and ball control for kids to be exposed to a 'high skill' workout during camp. Babin, Reis and Shepherd also added that they are examples of how team sports can create lasting relationships and lifelong friends and wanted to convey that to their players at camp.
Reis said that this camp is a sample of players being taught the game fundamentals as well as respecting their teammates and coaches all while giving a continuous maximum effort throughout camp. "We like this format and are having a great time with the kids and we love what we are seeing from these kids," said Shepherd.
She continued, "My motivating factor was that my volleyball sisters wanted to do a camp and I was able to come and help them as well as the kids."
It's clear that these women love volleyball, love one another and love sharing their passion for the sport with the girls of Tyler County and surrounding areas. They demanded premium effort from the kids during the camp but hardly a minute went by when someone wasn't smiling as it was evident that everyone had great time.
Multiple players spoke of how they were exposed to new and different training methods and each said that many of the exercises were ones that they would share with their coaches when volleyball season begins in August.
The coaches said they would bring their very best to this camp and wanted to express gratitude to all of the parents who sent their kids to this camp.
The coaches also want to thank area businesses Tammy's Kitchen, Joe's Italian Kitchen and the Citizen's State Bank for helping sponsor this camp and couldn't have done it without their help.