Player attendance impressive at Coach K’s VB camp

RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times Parkersburg Catholic volleyball coach Amanda Weatherwax, right, shows 11-year-old Bridget Crock how to serve at Coach K’s Volleyball Camp at Sutton Gymnasium Friday afternoon.

Coach K’s Volleyball Camp numbers have spiked to an all-time high this year.

“We have 115 here this week,” said veteran Marietta High volleyball boss Ron Kidder, last fall’s Ohio Division I District 13 Coach of the Year. “Last year, we had 113, I think. The last couple of years, it’s been over 110 which is good.

“When we first started out, it was in the 30s and 40s. It’s build, build, build. We have girls from different schools even. We’ll teach them from wherever they’re from.”

The camp got underway Thursday morning at Sutton Gymnasium on the campus of MHS, resumed Friday, and is scheduled to finish up Saturday. The sessions featured three age groups — third and fourth grades, sixth through eighth, and ninth through 12th.

Some of the coaches assisting Kidder were Kevin Guinn of ALETA VBC, Abby Witucky of Wheeling Jesuit, Amanda Weatherwax of Parkersburg Catholic, Kristin Hill of Marietta Middle School, and Sandy Goin of MHS. Several varsity Tiger netters served as instructors at stations for hitting, serving, setting, and passing.

“I’ve been coming to camp here since the seventh grade,” said 16-year-old Natalie Brooks, the 2017 DI District 13 Defensive Player of the Year as an MHS junior last season.

“It helps you build basic skills, and it’s a lot of fun, because you get to make new friends.”

Brooks, a 5-foot-9 outside hitter, has been a varsity letter winner since she was a Tiger freshman.

“You learn new ways to do things,” she added, “like getting lower on passes and how to focus better when you see the ball.”

Last fall, Kendal May played for the Marietta Middle School seventh-grade volleyball team.

“This is my third year as a participant in camp,” said the 13-year-old May. “I really love it. It’s really helped my skills.”

May said that she “loves hitting.”

“It makes you feel powerful,” she said, laughing.

Added May, “Coach Kidder builds our skills, so he knows what level we’re at now. He has a goal for each camper to help make them better.”

While the fundamentals of volleyball are taught and stressed in the camp, “the primary goal is to have fun,” Kidder said.

“That’s what we’re here for this week,” the Marietta head coach added. “You’ve got to be able to figure out how to teach the game and make it fun for the kids, so that they want to learn and they want to come to camp.”

The camp also gives Kidder an opportunity to see who’s who as far as younger volleyball players go in the Tiger program.

“We get to see what the future looks like,” he said, smiling, “and we definitely have some really talented young ladies.”