GLASGOW — Sydney Ballard, a rising junior on Barren County High School’s volleyball team, held a ball above the net as younger players attempted to leap up and “block the shot” with both hands Thursday morning during the Trojanette Youth Volleyball Camp in the BCHS gym.
One of the campers was Ballard’s younger sister, Maylyn, who is a rising sixth-grader at Austin Tracy Elementary.
“It’s great,” Sydney said of having her sister at the camp. “I’ve been trying to teach her for a long time, and I think having coach to help her, it’s going to allow her to know what to do when she gets in middle school.”
Maylyn said she really enjoyed meeting new people and learning new skills — such as the footwork of hitting — adding that she liked getting to interact with the Trojanette players.
“It’s really fun,” Maylyn said. “I feel like they can help me a lot.”
Sydney said she enjoys seeing the younger players develop a passion for volleyball.
“Some kids never find a sport they love, but for them to find it early, it means a lot to me,” she said. “To know that there are younger kids coming up, it really helps me to know that there’s a good future for it.”
The camp was divided into a morning session — for grades K-5 — and an afternoon session for grades 6-9.
Barren County volleyball coach Robin McMurtrey said they focus on hitting, passing, setting, serving, agility and rotation. At the end of all sessions, the campers get to participate in volleyball matches.
“We actually teach kids how to play and rotate and put all the skills into the actual game,” McMurtrey said, adding that she’s very excited that there’s so much interest in volleyball.
“We have kids from Barren, Glasgow, Metcalfe, Hart, Allen County and Bowling Green,” she said. “And in the afternoon session, we have kids from out of state. So we have a lot of interest, and it’s just nice to see that girls are understanding the game sooner — we’ve got 5-year-olds who are serving. That’s pretty good.
“So, I think that just seeing the interest is good, and that they love it. That’s the best part, is that they love the sport.”
The Trojanette coach said while their morning session has 25 campers, their afternoon session has 63.
Having her high school players instruct campers definitely helps them focus on the fundamentals of the game, McMurtrey said.
“We practice in the evening time after camp, and our skills are much better because the best way to learn something is to teach it to somebody else,” she said. “So, I have noticed a big difference in our hitting and our serving just because we’re teaching it to somebody else and we are actually doing the motions slower.
“So our skills are getting better because we’re teaching it to somebody else.”
Sydney Ballard said instructing the campers allows her and the other Trojanette players to think about the little things.
“In practice, you usually don’t do the fundamentals,” she said. “You go deeper. So just going back to the basics, it really helps.”