Copperas Cove spring volleyball concludes season
By TJ MAXWELL
Practice makes perfect and that makes Copperas Cove head volleyball coach Cari Lowery excited as more and more players participate in the spring league and summer camps.
Starting with around 12 players in its inception over a decade ago, the Cove spring league has blossomed to around 300 participants annually and with each returning year, the skill-set of the groups also continue to grow.
“The amount of parents we’ve had and the fact that we’ve had 300 kids out here playing for six weeks, it’s exciting,” said Lowery after the fifth through seventh grade championships Tuesday at Copperas Cove High School’s Bulldawg Gymnasium. “They’ve gotten better. Little kids that couldn’t serve underhand five weeks ago are serving overhand now. They understand and they are excited about it. Those little fifth and sixth graders, most of them had never played in their lives and they were just diving and moving. It’s hard to get little kids to move like that and they did a great job.”
Lowery loves giving the kids and outlet and activities to keep the kids busy she’s also keen to continue growing the volleyball program by having the players well versed in the language of volleyball before every stepping foot into high school.
“You can really see the difference in the skill level of the kids that have been coming for two or three years,” said Lowery. “They really understand the concept of the game. I’m also really excited that kids who’ve never played before are here for this because now they are going to come to camp and they’ll understand it better and when they come back next year they are going to be a whole different kid.”
It doesn’t hurt having a legacy of older sisters that came through the program before, says Lowry.
“In the seventh-grade group, some of them are third generation sisters of kids I’ve coached so they’ve kind of grown up with the volleyball program,” she said. “They looked good. They were passing, setting and hitting almost every time and they are seventh grader. They’ve really only played a year of competitive in-school volleyball so that’s really exciting.”
The student-coached league kicked off six weeks ago and concluded last night with the first-ever first-fourth grade championships.
“We’ve done league since I got here but we’ve been doing this kind of league for about nine years and this is the first year we’ve done first, second and third graders,” said Lowery. “We had six teams of first through fourth graders and that is so exciting because nobody does that. They look so good and they are really doing a good job.”
Lowery also knows that league play may intimidate some students or their parents so she encourages those families to try the volleyball camp beginning May 30 where they will get individual coaching from the entire Copperas Cove coaching staff where they can build confidence and skills to feel more confident about competitive play.
“They need to come to camp,” she said. “Sometimes they are afraid or their parents are afraid and I don’t want them to come play in a league if they don’t feel comfortable. You don’t want them to hate it because they tried it one time and didn’t really understand what they were doing and got hit with the ball or something and they don’t ever come back.
“I would rather them wait if they are not sure but come to camp because that’s where we are going to teach them. Every junior high and high school coach gets to teach them. We teach them everything and they get a ball to take home to practice with. In the league, we can’t coach them but at camp we can so it’s hands on one-on-one and they are going to learn a lot.”
The camp begins at 8 a.m. May 30 and runs through 6 p.m. June 2 at the Copperas Cove High School gym at a cost of $60 per camper. Registration is due by Tuesday, May 16.