High energy in V-ball camp

BY TRAVIS VARNER | JULY 21, 2009 7:15 AM

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Serve, set, spike — Iowa’s summer individual skills volleyball camp returns after a year’s hiatus.

The camp was absent last year because of the flood. That the entire Hawkeye volleyball coaching staff consisted of new hirings late in the 2008 spring semester didn’t help, either.

Iowa head coach Sharon Dingman thinks the camp has been a great success. With officials expecting roughly 80 campers, she was surprised with the more than 180 entries. Because of the large number, the camp is spread across 13 courts, taking up two Field House gymnasiums and the floor of Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The abnormally cool July temperatures have made the camp a breeze.

“Oh, it’s been tremendous. Certainly, the weather is helping us, because who expects in July that it’s going to be 50 degrees at night and high 70s [in the day],” Dingman said. “They are able to give a lot of effort because the weather is not tiring them out. I think our coaches are doing a pretty good job at keeping them enthused.”

The campers, ages 10-18, seem to be exerting maximum effort. The girls are running to their spots on the court, smashing serves with ultimate power, setting up fellow campers with precise accuracy, and appear to be having fun.

Angie Boldt, the director of volleyball operations, loves the positive energy pulsing through the Field House and Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The campers seem eager to learn new techniques and skills at the hands of the staff, which consists of Hawkeye players and high-school and college coaches.

“The biggest thing that we are so happy with is that we have one of the best camp staffs in the country,” Boldt said. “We have a 1-to-6 ratio of coaches to campers. They are just all doing a great job, lots of energy in the gym.”

Dingman thinks allowing Hawkeye players to take part in coaching the campers further enhances their game. She is pleased with her players’ commitment to the camp, she said, and she hopes teaching basic fundamentals will help her players to execute those same skills come season play.

“Our players are absolutely tremendous. I think coaching helps them a lot in so many different ways,” Dingman said. “If your talking about energy and enthusiasm, our players have brought it every single day of camp session. They have certainly been great role models.”

Hawkeye senior Christina Meister agrees coaching can supplement one’s game. Coaching adds a sense of accountability, she said, because it forces you to practice what you preach.

“It’s kind of funny because we go through the skills breaking things down, and it kind of makes you think about your game and how you play,” she said. “You’re playing, and you have your campers watching you, and you don’t want to do completely untechnical things.”

The camp, which began Sunday, will conclude today after a tournament. The campers are split up into teams based on their skill levels and ages, and they will compete in a round-robin competition. At the conclusion of the camp, the coaches will give out awards. The awards will focus on teamwork, work ethic, and attitude.

“The coaches are going to give an award to one camper in their group that they feel is most deserving,” Dingman said. “Often times, most of the coaches have it come down to something like, ‘She just had a great attitude every session, or she’s helping her teammates.’ Often times, it comes down to an attitude award.”

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