Sand volleyball sets up teen skills camp

Maikalina Madali

Now that Sacramento State’s debut sand volleyball season has come to an end, the coaches and players are ready and willing to pass on their newfound knowledge of the sport to young hopefuls.

The sand volleyball staff will be hosting two summer skills camps for girls ages 15-18 at the Sacramento Softball Complex on consecutive weekends, June 14-15 and June 21-22.

“We wanted to start the camp for a couple reasons. For one, to see if we can get some community involvement in the sport and help the sport grow; I think that’s important,” said head coach Ruben Volta. “Second, to open the eyes of the youth around here to show them that we also have a program and it will eventually help our (sand volleyball) program.”

The coaching staff sent out information about the camp to its vast mail database of previous indoor volleyball camp attendees as well as high school and junior high school athletic directors to spread the word.

Each camp is limited to 32 players and registration is $150 per weekend. The registration fees will go toward payment for use of the city park, the shirts that are given to the attendees and future volleyball seasons.

Although sand volleyball is a new addition to Sac State’s athletic program, the coaches have prepared to instruct the attendees through their recent experiences this season as well as some studying of the sport itself.

“We’ve done a lot of research these past several months throughout our season, so we plan on incorporating some of the stuff that we did with our team,” Volta said. “We’ll cover overall skill development because there are certain skills and different rules that you have to learn to play sand volleyball rather than indoor.”

Skills that will improve techniques and enhance strategies for sand double teams are the focal points of each camp. Participants are encouraged to sign up with their teammate in order for them to learn how to work together on sand.

“The skill involved in playing doubles has a lot of different rules too – there’s a lot of strategy to learn,” Volta said. “We’ll work with them on different shots that are used in the sand that aren’t used in indoor.”

Each camp consists of three skills sessions, two of which will be spent learning how to best move in the sand through digging, spiking, jumping and strategizing. The last session will be a mini tournament between designated pairs. A few Hornet sand volleyball athletes will stand in to demonstrate how to properly initiate each move.

Kayla Beal, a junior civil engineering major, plays for the Sac State indoor and sand volleyball team and will take the role as one of the camp counselors. Beal and her partner Katie Aprile held the best record this past sand season, so the skills she developed will be a good example for attendees to follow.

“My role in the camp will be a lot of demonstrations and a lot of playing. I hope to have a very active role in the camps,” Beal said. “Since I have only played one sand season, I am still learning about the game as well. So for all the players that sign up for the camps, I hope we can learn a lot from each other.”

Beyond the physical techniques needed for sand, Beal said mental skills are just as important. Attendees will be trained to read the opponent quicker and communicate with their partner to cover more ground without losing focus.

“The biggest advice I can give to any sand player would be to try not to get frustrated. Learning to play sand volleyball is very different than indoor,” Beal said. “To have the openness to learn and not get frustrated will make the game a lot more fun.”

Senior communication studies major Jessie Genger, who is also on both indoor and sand teams, will also be a counselor before her last semester at Sac State. With her past experience as a camp counselor, she said she can’t wait to work with the young players.

“I’m very excited about holding sand camps this summer. I’ve been working kids camps since I was a freshman in high school and I love it. They’re so energetic and ready to learn and it’s fun watching them enjoy the game as much as I do,” Genger said. “We’ll be giving a lot of feedback on new skills. (Sand volleyball) was such a fun experience for me and I hope to be able to pass that on to the campers as well.”


Maikalina can be reached on Twitter at @sh_sports