Youth players take the court for annual RTHS summer volleyball camp

Local girls learning, honing fundamental skills

ROCHELLE — Rochelle Township High School tipped off its annual youth summer volleyball camp Monday morning, and for first-year head coach Molly Sly, developing fundamental skills and teaching self-confidence are some of the main goals that she and the RTHS coaching staff are aiming to help campers accomplish this week.

Players ranging from third grade through eighth grade took the court from 11 a.m. to noon on Monday for the first day of camp, which included several drills emphasizing passing, setting, digging and more. The youth summer camp will continue through Thursday, and by the end of the week, campers will have covered additional skills such as serving, blocking and hitting.

“We try to give them attention to details and a base of solid techniques,” Sly said. “Passing and setting are the two main things that everybody can do, and if the kids develop a strong base of skills, then we can build upon those skills once they get to high school.”

Many campers who participated in the morning session Monday included middle-schoolers gearing up for the fall season at Rochelle Middle School or other teams in the Rochelle area. While the older campers may have a more advanced level of skills to use than younger campers in grade school, Sly said that focusing on the mental side of the game is one way the summer camp helps older players improve.

“We focus more on self-motivation for them,” Sly said. “Trying to beat somebody on the other side of the court as opposed to their teammates. If they’re already good or better than their teammates, then they need to look to the other side of the court and try to be better than their opponents.”

The youth summer camp is set up to help grade-schoolers and middle-schoolers learn both individual and team concepts to become successful. Scrimmages and group drills are a few ways that campers are engaged in practice and game scenarios. When camp ends on Thursday, Sly said the ultimate goal of camp is to generate a love of volleyball.

“We want the kids to be excited for volleyball,” Sly said. “We want them to see the high school girls and hopefully want to become like them one day.”

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