By Hale Hughes
WOODVILLE—The Woodville Lady Eagles hosted a volleyball camp this past week and used the Summit as their venue. There was a great turnout as 44 kids ages six through the ninth grade attended. Camp for girls ages six through 11 was held in the mornings and these were affectionately referred to as "The Volley Tots".
Head volleyball coach Kaila Foster said, "We try to create a very fun atmosphere, especially for the Volley Tots as we introduce them to the game of volleyball." Foster continued, "We also work to introduce these young girls to our high school players to create a relationship with one another, so these girls have someone that they can identify with and root for as they watch our varsity and JV teams during the school year. It's a way to include the community and get them excited about what we are doing in our program."
Foster explained, "These camps are the only opportunity for these young girls to play. Volleyball does not have the 'little league' or 'youth leagues' that football, baseball and softball have. Typically, these girls won't get to really play the game of volleyball until they reach the seventh grade, so this gives us an opportunity to show them that this is a sport with an entirely different skill set."
Foster had plenty of praise seeing her players taking on the role of a coach during this camp. She said, "It really helps our high school girls to be able to teach the game as opposed to learning the game during the season. They get to see things develop and it really increases their mental game as well as their volleyball I.Q." Foster continued, "They've done a really great job making small or large adjustments, depending on the situation. Some of my players have retained a lot of the techniques they've been taught." Foster added that those small intangibles have her excited for the upcoming year. She continued to explain how her player/coaches developed with their teams in the duration of camp. "We have broken the older group of girls' teams up into four teams of six and the high school players have been working in a coaching role all week with their teams. The high schoolers have had to put together a rotation of players and a scheme of how they wanted to run their teams."
There have been approximately a dozen of Fosters high school players helping to conduct the camp. It's been a busy and productive week for all involved with twenty youngsters in the morning and 24 sixth-graders through ninth-graders participating during the camp.
Foster explained her approach for the junior high players and was careful to work with the current junior high on staff at the middle school. Foster said, "The junior high coaches really work hard to teach the basics; passing, setting, serving. We try to work during this camp to round out some of that with passing, and then getting into defensive position. We also work on the serve-receive game and getting the ball to the setter and setting up specific hitters in assigned and pre-arranged positioning as opposed to just setting the ball. This week we really push the service receiving game as well as hitting."
Foster said the community was key in making this camp happen. "Our program appreciates the community's involvement and participation in this camp as well as the support of our players. Girls from camp have come to watch the high school girls play and it has had a huge impact on our high school girls to have that kind of support. I am grateful to Tyler County for sending the 44 girls to our camp."