A Killeen-based youth volleyball club is gearing up for its upcoming season, and nearly a dozen club members have learned the basics of serving and passing at West Ward Elementary in Killeen.
Coach Danielle Washington led the practice and gave advice to the players, reminding them to constantly move their feet, communicate and align the ball well.
Washington started the Juniors Volleyball Club of Around the World Fitness in 2019 and took a year off before taking over the club last year with a friend/colleague. She said her philosophy with the team wasn’t necessarily all about wins and losses.
“It’s more about developing a girl’s skills and giving her the opportunity to play in clubs,” Washington said as the girls practiced serving the ball against the wall.
Although the girls are between the ages of 10 and 14, Washington also told the girls what high school coaches expect when trying out for varsity teams and what it will take to make the team. That said, Washington, who played volleyball, said she only recruits girls who don’t have experience.
“(I recruit) women who want to play but can’t play, women who want to play but can’t (can’t) afford it,” she said. “What I do is I go out there, recruit them and do the training myself.”
According to Washington, one of the girls who has grown during her year with the club is 11-year-old Zinnia Boyd, who will soon be in sixth grade in the Killeen Independent School District.
“It’s been very (good) since I was a beginner,” Boyd said of the practice. “I learned a lot.”
Boyd, who aspires to play volleyball in college and hopefully beyond, said when she sees newcomers to the club, she tries to instill in them her knowledge of what she learned.
Washington’s coaching goes beyond the Xs and O’s of volleyball, though, and that’s something that has benefited Boyd.
“I learned to speak up and work with others who are new to me,” Boyd said.
This kind of transformation is not uncommon, according to Washington.
“Most girls are shy, but I have no worries because eventually, after spending time with me and training with me, you’re going to be a totally different young woman in a positive way – on and off. off the pitch,” she said.
The Juniors Volleyball Club season starts on September 1st. This season, Washington said it has fielded a 15U girls team (for girls ages 10-15) and a 17U girls team (for girls ages 16-17). She is also looking to field a 17U men’s team that would have a male coach.
Girls can join the club at any time during the season, Washington said. For more information on fees or the club, contact the club at [email protected] or on Facebook.