By GANNON HANEVOLD
Moapa Valley Progress
Starting in the offseason is always important, and with the success of recent volleyball seasons in Moapa Valley, the method has proven to work. This year is no different, as the Pirates got into the gym for their yearly volleyball camp last week. With professionals coming from out of town just to coach the young athletes, the students were able to get the best experience possible.
Turnout to the camp was solid this year. The three-day event saw 49 girls come out to participate. With ages ranging from 8th to 12th grade, Moapa Valley’s coaching staff got an opportunity to see no only what the team has to offer this year, but also what the future of Pirate volleyball could look like.
While the camp itself is a skills camp, head coach Mandie Matheson said the players received plenty of game experience as well.
“It is a skills camp so the first day they pushed the basics of the game,” Matheson said. “But there was a very good balance of skills and game-like situations. There’s always a skill focus or mental focus when you’re playing the different games. They got a ton of six-on-six volleyball experience.”
With guest clinicians coming in to run the camp, Moapa’s local coaching staff was able to take to the sidelines and get to know their athletes even better.
“It gives us as coaches an opportunity to see what they’ve worked hard on this summer,” Matheson said. “The biggest thing that it does is it gives us an opportunity to get to know all the girls from eighth grade up. It allows us to see who is coachable and who is moving forward.”
Matheson also noted the talent of the staff coming in. “I feel like it gives our girls a unique opportunity to be in their own gym but be instructed by outside clinicians,” Matheson said. “We have highly skilled guests who have coached at every level possible, including the national team and college.”
For the camp itself, Matheson pointed out the growth of the girls during the course of the three days.
“I saw the most improvement from start to finish from beginning to end as we ever have and I think it’s because girls are hungry and ready to work,” Matheson said.
With opportunities for younger players and older ones to work side by side, this camp comes as an important step for growth of the up and coming athletes. Matheson also said many of the younger girls were on the fence about volleyball itself and this camp gave them a chance to get a taste of what Moapa volleyball is like.
This camp is just a start, but the Pirates are continually taking steps to keep up the dynastic Moapa Valley volleyball program. Whether it be for this season’s squad, or development for future years, it’s a rare opportunity for Moapa athletes to be trained by outside professionals. There’s nowhere to look but up.