The Cerro Coso volleyball program held its annual four-day summer camp for girls ages 6-17, on their gymnasium floor. Coyotes head coach Andy Cole was responsible for teaching the 24 campers who participated and were divided into two groups: 6-11 and 12-17. Both age groups have the opportunity to be coached by Cole as he conducts drills and skill drills each day to help campers improve in all facets of the game. Cole, who was hired by Cerro Coso just three months ago explained why the community college continued the program.
“It’s an annual event that we do. Coach Kim, the former coach, had been doing it for 11 years and we wanted to keep consistency in the program. I think the camps in general are really good for the community. They keep people interested and excited for volleyball,” he said. “We try to put it at the end of July to get people excited for the season. Tomorrow (Friday) I’ll give them a schedule and hopefully energize them, and get them (to say) hey mom and dad, I want to come to a game. Bringing the community together is the most important part.
Cole prepares each day of camp to help both age groups improve all skills associated with volleyball. It uses three keywords that change daily to help campers think differently. He does this because he wants to make a real effort to teach them in a new way. He added that he did it because you never know what will click for a child and it could help him learn a skill he might not have understood in two or three years. By showing them a different way and showing them a different way, the child can finally learn to master the skill.
Of course, Cole understands that teaching a younger and older age group is difficult. The main difference he saw between the two is that the older group plays at a higher pace and the younger group needs coaching as they try to level them up. But once the younger group becomes much more comfortable with the skills they are teaching, they start to move faster and even more.
In addition to teaching his campers all the skills necessary to play volleyball, the Coyotes coach introduces his campers to what it is like to be coached and recruited in college.
“I try to expose them as much to what it would be like to play in college or what they have to do to get there. I’m going to talk a bit about the recruiting process or we do an assessment where we rank where they are compared to everyone else in camp, because that’s how recruiting works,” Cole said. “If it’s something they’re not comfortable with, maybe that guides their decision to either push harder, work through it, or maybe I don’t want to be at that. competitive level. I think exposing them to as much of the college game as possible at their age without overwhelming them is hopefully to their advantage.”
At the end of camp, Coles noticed that both age groups really enjoyed being at his camp.
“We have the younger girls screaming like coyotes. Every time we get it on the net or pass it on target, they scream. It really came out of nowhere. I tried to write the word hello but instead the word howl, ho- -wl and a bunch of u sound like hello,” Cole said. “I actually emailed a colleague these funny things happen a lot in camps. You’re used to working with 18-22 year olds and they want to be more mature. Then you work with kids and they come up with silly stuff like that and I have a lot of energy.”
As camp draws to a close, Cole noticed there was a lot of potential not just in the 24 campers, but in the town of Ridgecrest.
“There are a lot of them. We have a club that has 133 kids that I’ve worked with for the last three months. That sort of thing, given that we have three camps competing all week and that’s all the camps this summer, our attendance and attendance at ICS and Burroughs, it kind of shows the strength that we have and the future that will be there for anyone who is interested in volleyball,” he said. “I think that in the community college system, in particular, we’re going to be retaining a lot of kids here, so if we can build that strength, I think it’s only going to be better for Cerro Coso. It was really exciting.”