Story Courtesy: Bill Welt – The Courier
Lincoln, Ill. – Several Lincoln College volleyball players acted as coaches at the Lincoln Area YMCA during the spring. They taught a small group of girls about the basics of volleyball for six weeks beginning in late March. Ranging from kindergarten to 6th grade, the kids entered without any volleyball experience. However, they left the camp good volleyball players, the volunteers said.
“In the beginning they could not pass or even hit,” said defensive specialist Mariana Rogers. “Then at the end, they could pass right to you, they could set to you and hit it over the net. They couldn’t do that in the beginning, so they learned a lot when we were there.”
Just to see their faces light up after a good hit made her day, said another volunteer, Jenna Harcharick. “To see them smile every time they hit the ball, it just brought back so many memories,” Harcharick said.
Those sessions also brought back memories for setter Ally Lawson. “I remember looking up to all of those girls like, ‘I want to be just like them,’” Lawson said. “I guess it’s kind of strange (to be one of them). It’s a new experience, I guess.”
Rogers said it was a great feeling to work with a small group of kids and getting to know them. “I love teaching kids about volleyball,” Rogers said. “I did it for my high school at a kids’ camp. But, this was one of my best experiences in college. It was fun. It’s just neat how they are getting into volleyball this early because ours didn’t start until I was in seventh grade. I think it’s neat they want to learn at such a young age.”
The student-athletes — which also included Destiny Adkins — initially had to brainstorm ideas how to teach kids unfamiliar with volleyball.
“We literally had to go back to Day 1: What did our very first coach teach us?,” Harcharick said.
They covered all of the basics, from serving to spiking. “We were thinking of what drills we should do,” said Rogers, who would like to coach volleyball in the future. “It was just good to have my own team to talk about it instead of having two other random girls. I played volleyball with them for a year, so we knew each other.”
Every Wednesday, the kids practiced and played volleyball.
Lincoln College volleyball coach Mark Tippett came up with the idea, and YMCA sports and aquatics director Chris Cicci said it was a great experience. “They did a wonderful job,” Cicci said. “I think the participants looked up to the girls. We were just very excited to work with them. It was a great experience for both sides.”
After that success, Cicci said he’s open to a partnership with Lincoln College and Lincoln Christian University more often, saying he always needs volunteers.
“It’s kind of win-win,” Cicci said. “We’re open to this partnership with Lincoln College and LCU and using their students a lot more. It works out really well for both sides.”