McHenry college volleyball serves as cornerstone to sports camp success
Any good coach will tell you that the fundamentals are what makes great players great.
McHenry County College is all about the basics, and it shows. The Scots repeated as the National Junior College Athletic Association Region IV champions before losing in the first round of the nationals to No. 6, Kirkwood 3-0.
On the way to the tournament, the Scots were crowned the 2016 Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference champions, and a number of players, like Kyla Fitzsimmons, Sommer Rhea, Payton Traff and Kayli Trausch, were named to the first-team all-region tournament team.
Trausch was also named the ISCC Player of the Year.
With such a stellar program and successful season, McHenry County College has started to reach out with a summer volleyball camp.
“The immediate benefit is to the campers who look up to the college level players,” Kyle McCall, the Scots volleyball coach, said. “Having members on our team share their passion, drive and enthusiasm for the game shows the newer players to the sport what to look forward to when they are more experienced.”
The college hosts a number of sports camps besides volleyball, collectively called the Scotstars Camp, which have been running for more than 20 years.
“Each year we continue to try and review and make the best adjustments we can,” Jared Wacker, McHenry’s baseball coach and camp coordinator, said. “We work on things like time structure, format and what sports we offer. The focus is always the same: Give the kids great instruction on fundamental skills that will help them improve their game, and make sure they are having fun doing it.”
Collaboration has been key for the Scotstars.
“I oversee the setup and scheduling,” Wacker said. “I coordinate with the coaches on when they’d like to run them and what format they want to use, and together we try to provide the best camps we can for the community. I have a background running camps for the Chicago White Sox Training Academy, so when this was introduced, I embraced it and tried to use that experience to make it as smooth a process as I can.”
McCall's players and staff are heavily involved.
“We demonstrate every skill and drill," he said. "Watching the campers see our college players demo gives them proof and real-life examples of how it should be done."
The camps focus on skills, touching on just about every aspect of the individual sports. McCall said he hopes to expand the program.
“We work on hitting, passing, setting, blocking, defense and serve receive,” he said. “We follow up with some games and other drills, but in the future I think we could narrow it down to some shorter, less time-committed camps. There is a big opportunity for us to help our district middle schools by running their camps for them. In theory we would help design and operate the camp for them. We really want to get more involved with our district schools, and I think this is a great way to do so.”
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