The UAA volleyball team concluded another year of hosting summer camp sessions. Between July 6 – 20, head coach Chris Green and his staff, consisting of associate head coach Sheldon Carvalho and various current or former UAA players, held six different sessions focusing on various skill levels. Session I-III and IV were designed as individual skill camps for numerous age groups including grades 5th-7th, 8th-9th and 10-12th.
Additionally, Green designed particular skill sessions such as the defensive/passing camp and the setter hitter elite camp. The camps were held every day between 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. with an hour lunch in between at the Alaska Airlines Center. The rest of the time was used to improve the players’ skills by teaching them mechanics and technique.
Carvalho describes the camps as great opportunities to help younger players become better, but also to get a look at potential recruits for the UAA team.
“We see some skills, so that helps us to keep an eye on them when we go and watch them play club or high school. We had some campers come for example Makenna [sophomore libero Makenna Hurd]. We actually invited two girls from out of state last year and they wanted to come on their own to see how we run our system and see the campus. The two girls [Casey Davenport and Jalisa Ingram] actually committed, so they are playing for us in 2017,” Carvalho said.
The coaching staff helps the camp participants improve their athletic abilities and become overall better players.
“When they leave, they hopefully leave a better volleyball player, because we taught them important skills,” Carvalho said.
The coaches included about eight former and current UAA players who worked with their groups to introduce and fine tune fundamental elements of the game. The many sets of coaches’ eyes paid close attention to technique and mechanics as various skills got repeated over and over again.
For Makenna Hurd, sophomore libero for UAA, it was the first experience of coaching at camp after having participated last year as a high school senior and soon to be Seawolf. As a camp participant, she was taught by many athletes that later became her teammates, including UAA’s record setter Morgan Hooe. She knows of the excitement camp participants experience while working with the athletes.
“When I was going to camps I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I talked to Leah Swiss or CJ [Chrisalyn Johnson].’ It was just the coolest thing. I felt so connected and it was awesome,” Hurd said.
Hurd enjoyed the other side of camp this year by being able to help players improve and work on their game.
“Being a coach is super rewarding. It is awesome. The kids seem to be having a really good time and we as coaches love being involved. It is just a really awesome experience to see them grow and learn new things.” Hurd said.
The camps are generally quite popular and with the team having been so successful the last couple of seasons, spots filled up quickly this year. Not just Anchorage locals come and enjoy camp, but people from all over the state and beyond.
Fairbanks local Ellen Silver, 16, attended UAA’s volleyball camp for the first time this year. The incoming high school junior found out about the camps on the Seawolves Athletics homepage and enjoyed her experience of working with the Seawolf players that she usually just observes on the court.
“[I loved] just getting to work with coaches and players. I like learning how to become a better player. They are so talented,” Silver said.
Silver actually hopes to play basketball at the collegiate level, preferably at UAA, but also enjoys improving her volleyball skills going into her last two years of high school. During a trip down to Anchorage last year, Silver got to watch a volleyball game followed by a basketball game the next day, so Silver is still deciding what collegiate route to take.
The camp represents an effort to build up each camp participant as well as possibly the Seawolf program with potential new Seawolves.