Bumping, settting and spiking, as well as making new friends and improving techniques, are just a few of the components that make Dunlap’s volleyball summer camp so successful.

Bumping, settting and spiking, as well as making new friends and improving techniques, are just a few of the components that make Dunlap’s volleyball summer camp so successful.

Sixth grade through high school senior girls participated in volleyball camp last week, which taught them the simple essentials to the game of volleyball.

Dunlap High School volleyball coach Patrick Garst coached the 40 sixth through eighth grade and 30 high school girls.

“One week is hard to do everything, but we try to hit all the basic fundamentals — passing, setting, serving, hitting and blocking. We try to hit some of the defensive stuff so they see it before they get to us.

“We know they’re not going to remember it all, but we want to give them a taste of everything and not overwhelm them, and keep it fun,” he said.

About 25 high school students involved in the sports camp helped with the younger group, which is a common theme with Garst’s camps.

“The high school kids are great making an effort to come in and help the younger kids. I’m really appreciative of the help and it shows good leadership skills,” Garst said. “The young kids really love the high school kids, and we’re trying to build that where they have someone to look up to and have good role models.”

“I like helping the little kids,” Connor Massey, Dunlap High School senior, said. “Helping them, and having to coach them, helps you work on your own technique. You’re thinking it’s fun. You’re hanging out with younger kids and making a team with them. And, at the end of it, you realize your skill has improved because you have to focus on what you’re telling them and lead by example.”

Working with each other on the different techniques not only makes each player better, it helps form friendships.

“You can always feel the chemistry, we’re all so close. We’re like a family. Last year it was so full of love and just the friendships we’ve had for so many years,” Massey said.

“Showing the little kids that you can be friends and be on a team, it really makes them want to be on a team.”

Freshman volleyball coach Pat Fetcho said she saw many improvements on Friday among the younger group.

“With the sixth graders, there was a great improvement in their passing. Some of them did a great job today with their serving.

“We’re just working mainly on form and mechanics to get them started on their skills,” she said.

Garst agreed with the many improvements.

“Passing is a huge skill in volleyball, and that’s one we did every single day. The improvement from day one to today was unbelievable in the young kids,” Garst said.
Fetcho said she believes the summer camp helps the players from different schools bond.

“With the middle schools, when they’re coming from two middle schools they’re getting to know each other. We’ve been working on some of the team concepts and stuff which carries over to life situations as well,” she said.

The high school students who helped with the younger group could see improvements not only in the ones they were teaching, but in themselves and each other.

“When we help them and they actually improve it makes me feel so much better. I’m helping them, and they get excited because they’re doing better and then I’m doing better,” Liz Finerty, Dunlap High School junior, said.

“It’s learning for both of us. You have to work with other people.”

The high school participants attributed the closeness of their team to the summer camp.

“Mostly, it’s about bonding,” Amber Les, Dunlap High School sophomore, said. “It is about technique and doing things and working on getting better, but, if we didn’t have team stuff, if we weren’t trusting each other, loving each other and becoming friends, then we wouldn’t be able to play together. So, it’s really big. It changes basically our whole season.”

“Middle school — those are some hard years, and you can show them there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and if you play sports you don’t have to be mean to each other in high school.”