Volleyball team teaches younger players

Every year, the volleyball team hosts fall and winter volleyball clinics over the course of four days. The last day of the fall 2016 clinic took place Oct. 18, and 13 girls attended.

“I set up a practice plan, and each week I build on what we need to do,” said Claire Galli, associate head coach of Oakland volleyball. “So the basic [skills] are the first day, and then from there, we make it a little bit tougher. We amp up what we are talking to them about skill-wise as well as instructional-wise. It’s really just a lot of fun.”

The clinics are designed to get young girls between fourth and eighth grade interested in volleyball by showing them basic volleyball skills such as passing, setting, serving and spiking. The attendants also have the opportunity to learn these skills from members of the Oakland team.

At the beginning of the clinic, the girls did cardio warm-ups and practiced passing with a partner. For 15 minutes, the girls practiced controlled passing by aiming the ball at a net. The participants were put into two lines, and the goal was to get 15 points.

After passing, the clinic participants did an exercise called five-by-five which focused on receiving attacks. The girls also learned the proper technique for spiking.

Once spiking practice was done, the girls moved to blocking. Galli had the girls stand on large blocks so they could reach the top of the net. She and members of the women’s volleyball team hit balls at the net and showed the girls how to position their hands.

“I think they look up to us as volleyball players and really take our advice and put it into action,” junior Darrin Rice said.

Serving was next after blocking. The girls practiced overhand serving by starting out at the 10-foot line. Once they successfully got the ball over the net two times in a row, they had to step back. The girls continued the pattern until they were behind the end line. Some of the girls struggled with serving.

Sophomore Jordan Massab and freshman Mackenzie Schneider each helped one of the participants with her serving.

“I love seeing [the girls] get better over these past four sessions,” Massab said. “When they start getting something they get so excited, and it’s so cute.”

Toward the end of the session, the girls split into two teams and played a game of volleyball. All the skills the girls learned were put to the test as they served, blocked and spiked their way to 21 points.

“I think we accomplished our goals with the clinic,” Galli said. “I know it’s a fundraiser for us at Oakland, but at the same time, it gets a lot of the kids back into our game environment.”

Many of the girls and their parents attend the Oakland volleyball games at home or watch them on ESPN3 when the team is on the road.

“I’m sure it’s really cool for them to actually be able to interact with us and learn from us,” said redshirt freshman Jordan Lentz.

The winter clinic is scheduled for February, but the dates have not yet been confirmed.