FAIRBORN — While girls volleyball action in the Fairborn YMCA’s junior high league may be all about learning the fundamentals of the game, there’s plenty of fun going on too.
On Feb. 14, the Red, Maroon and Black teams participated in a pair of junior high matches, with Team Maroon defeating Team Black in the opener, 22-25, 25-17, 15-3, then winning over Team Red, a feisty U10 league team that was playing up a division, in straight sets 26-24, 25-16.
Each girl was presented with a rose for Valentine’s Day prior to their match.
While winning is nice, having fun with your teammates and learning the game is even better.
“Holly and I work really hard with both of our teams, teaching them the fundamental skills that would enable them to make a high school team,” said Jill Zecchini, the Team Black coach. “Our whole goal is to teach them how to play this sport the right way, not just batting the ball over.”
Maroon coach Holly Shively nodded in agreement.
“Two different things: It gives kids who are too young to play on a high school team the chance to learn the skills early; and it gives kids who didn’t make their high school team a chance to improve their skills so that they can make their high school teams next year,” Shively said.
Both coaches said they’re working on teaching their players the fundamentals of passing the ball, setting, bumping, and serving.
According to Fairborn YMCA Sport Director Codee Arthur, 13 junior high league players from a year ago earned spots on area high school teams this season.
“And the Fairborn junior high program is growing, too,” Arthur added. “A season ago, we had 21 girls involved in this program. Now we have 46.”
There are eight YMCAs affiliated with the YMCA of Greater Dayton, with locations in Fairborn, Xenia, Huber Heights, Springboro, Eaton, Englewood, Kettering and West Carrollton. Each volleyball league has a common goal.
“We wanna teach the basics first, so with the 7- and 8-year-olds — our U8 league — we’re trying to teach them the fundamentals of knowing where they need to be and why they need to be there,” Arthur said, between videotaping the junior high matches live on the Fairborn Y’s Facebook page. “In U10, we increase their development a bit and show them some actual skills and drills, and then at junior high we’re getting them ready to tryout for their school teams.”
Arthur said most of the kids in the Fairborn YMCA’s junior high league hail from Fairborn, Enon and Beavercreek.
There’s a definite emphasis on sportsmanship and teamwork, too. Whenever a player missed a shot, she had at least two teammates there to give her an encouraging high-five before the next shot.
Arthur lets each team choreograph their own entrance into the gym prior to their matches. For instance, when Team Maroon entered the gym for its second match of the night, Queen’s “We Will Rock You” blared from the loudspeakers as they ran onto the court.
For Team Red, a team made up of talented 10U players, they entered to the theme song of “Mission Impossible.” A pair of the Team Red players even crawled to their teammate’s huddle, in secret spy fashion.
There were plenty of laughs, lots of valuable lessons learned and good volleyball to be played. To learn about a YMCA program in your area, visit their website at daytonymca.org.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.