The mini volleyball course at Red Deer College is part learning and part getting kids active. A pretty good combination.
“It’s mini volleyball but it also falls under a lot of physical activities,” said Keith Hansen, one of the coaches of the clinic. “There’s a lot of jumping, catching, throwing, rolling, all that kind of stuff.”
While that might not sound like the volleyball you might have played growing up there is also some instruction for the players when it comes to proper technique and concepts to get these future players off to a good start.
There is a very low level of competition within the course and there aren’t any actual games of volleyball being played by the kids who range in age from three to 12-years-old, said Hansen.
“They’re hitting balls, they’re playing with balloons, they’re serving, they’re doing forearm passes. We’ve got the nets set up and they’re doing a lot of their spike approaches and throwing tennis balls.”
The nets are adjusted to suit the players height and a softer version of volleyball is used so the kids aren’t hurting their arms, he said.
The two concepts of learning about the game itself from the grassroots and getting these young boys and girls moving around for an hour and 15 minutes each Sunday for eight weeks are married to each other, said Hansen.
“If a kid is standing in line in a practice I always says that’s a bad practice.”
The coaching staff on board with this includes RDC Queens Head Coach Talbot Walton and Kirstin DeZutter who has coached the Lindsay Thurber girls teams to a handful of provincial titles, not to mention Hansen who ran the RDC Kings program for many years, gathering up several championships.
“We’ve got more or less a two to one ratio so it’s a lot of one coach working with two kids and away we go from there.”
This is the first year for this program and Hansen says the reception the course has been getting from the athletes has been very strong.
“You’d be amazed at how good their technique is getting,” he said. “The one concept which is really important though is it’s once a week and so the kids don’t get tired of it. We keep it pretty fresh and so they’re moving and laughing, they’re getting a lot of activity.”
Another eight-week session starts up in January and Hansen said they are considering breaking it up into two sessions, one for the nine to 12-year-olds and another for those under nine.
“It is very much about turning kids onto the game,” he said.