Cultivating Championship Culture at Leopard Volleyball Camp
During the first week of summer vacation, the Lovejoy High School volleyball program hosted their annual volleyball camp on June 3rd-6th. The camp, held at Willow Springs Middle School, gave kids grades Kindergarten-9th the opportunity to play volleyball taught by professional coaches and workers with the assistance of current Leopard volleyball athletes. “Camp is a great opportunity to teach volleyball to kids in your entire community,” head volleyball coach Ryan Mitchell stated.“Kids from the entire community come together and learn about the sport along with having a great time being around their friends.”
With 100 K-6th grade kids, approximately 60 middle school kids, and 25 freshman attending, the athletes worked on different volleyball skills each day. “Kids are getting to learn the various skills along with the terminology and culture of Lovejoy volleyball,”Mitchell said. By practicing these skill sets now with younger ages, Mitchell believes that this is one piece of creating a winning culture and tradition in a volleyball program. Alongside the coaching staff, current high school players came to volunteer throughout the four day endeavor to show young kids what they should aspire to be as volleyball players. Each athlete assisted throughout the four WSMS courts to help kids with their skills as well as to make sure they were always having fun.
After K-8th grade athletes finished, the freshman class had their own session to help better prepare them for their high school season. From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., freshman learned the offensive and defensive systems Lovejoy runs as well as the terminology used on the court.“This freshman class is very talented, and I am excited about all they will add to the Lovejoy High School program,”Mitchell said. High school tryouts will begin on August 1.
The Lovejoy volleyball team’s postseason run was nothing short of astonishing. The Leopards were the 5A state runner up’s making it to the state championship. Coaching previously in the district, Mitchell looks forward to continuing the tradition of excellence.“The program had a great season last year and while we fell one game short of the goal to win a state title, a lot of work and energy goes into a season like that,”Mitchell said.“This young core will be working hard to get back into the State Championship conversation.”