Volleyball camp attracts youth and teaches more than athletic skills

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Reported by Alyse Kotyk

ALYSE KOTYK photo--
Dustin Szeto teaching intensive volleyball skills. Photo: Alyse Kotyk.

Seventeen youth — many donning kneepads — ran into the Marpole-Oakridge Community Centre gym, eager to begin the fall season of youth volleyball skills development. The program is the largest it has ever been with a record number of registered participants.

The camps goal is to teach youth new skills

Now in its third season, the community centre’s youth volleyball skills training program aims to teach participants aged 13 to 18 the fundamentals of volleyball including bumping, passing, setting, serving and spiking. Each week, youth participants focus on one particular skill and practice it through a series of drills.

The program’s coach, Dustin Szeto, helped launch the program when he and Anntuaneth Figueroa, community centre youth worker, wanted to find a way to further engage the community’s youngsters. Szeto says he works with young players of varying skill levels in the program.

“Some of them who are in elementary school maybe want to try out volleyball and see if they like it,” he said. “Some I

ALYSE KOTYK photo- Coach Dustin Szeto
Coach Dustin Szeto. Photo: Alyse Kotyk.

get, they’re just going into high school so they know they want to play volleyball and want to make the high school team, so they come to me, they learn the fundamentals, and when they go to their volleyball tryouts they’ll be a little bit ahead of the curve.”

Camp helps with lifetime skills

In addition to learning volleyball skills, Szeto pointed out that the youth who participate also receive valuable lessons that they can take off the court and into their lives.

“Definitely they’re working on teamwork and their social skills,” he said. “When they first come into the camp, most of them don’t know each other. So I try to get them playing in groups, trying to work together and trying to build bonds with their teammates.”

The youth volleyball skills development program will run until mid-December.

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