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VOLLEYBALL: Camp Teaches Basics to Enthusiastic Players

Holtville High School’s 2021 Summer Volleyball Camp had 79 future players between the ages of 4 and 14 turn out for three days of instruction from head coach Chelsey Strahm and her current and former players inside the Holtville High gym. | CATHI PHILLIPS LARIOS PHOTO
Aleah Enz, 8, learns the skill of blocking during the 2021 Holtville High Summer Volleyball Camp. Enz was one of 79 campers to take part in the three-day event. | CATHI PHILLIPS LARIOS PHOTO

HOLTVILLE — With no high school volleyball played in 2020 due to COVID, it has been a while since the nets were put to use at Holtville High School.

No worries, they still work as the Holtville High volleyball team hosted its 2021 Summer Volleyball Camp for three days this week, wrapping things up on Wednesday, June 30.

Designed for players between the ages of 5 and 14, with a few 4-year-olds mixed in, the camp focused on teaching the fundamentals of the game, such as passing, serving and hitting.

“We are teaching the basic skills to all levels and making sure their foundation is set in stone,” said Chelsey Strahm, Holtville High’s head volleyball coach. “We are also making sure to challenge the girls that have obviously played before.”

Strahm said 75 girls, and four boys, attended the camp, a sure sign the youngsters are anxious to get out and participate in the sport after more than a year away.

Holtville High School junior Lauren Ripley, left, watches as 9-year-old Khloe Huyler learns to block at the 2021 Holtville High Summer Volleyball Camp. | CATHI PHILLIPS LARIOS PHOTO

“I wasn’t sure what to expect after being off a year and a half,” Strahm said. “I think these kids are just happy to get out and play volleyball.”

Sophie Iten, 8, and her sister Brielle Iten, 5, are taking part in the camp. It is the second time for Sophie at the camp with this being Brielle’s first experience with volleyball.

“I like learning the moves, like passing and setting,” said Sophie, a soon-to-be fourth-grader at Finley Elementary School in Holtville. “We have competitions too. The relays are fun where you have to run and dive and pass.”

With 79 campers, Strahm said she had youngsters from all over the Imperial Valley.

Holtville High School junior Demi Johnston, left, teaches 7-year-old Avery Sutter how to position her hands when going up for a volleyball block. Sutter was one of 79 participants at the 2021 Holtville High Summer Volleyball Camp. | CATHI PHILLIPS LARIOS PHOTO

“It’s awesome to see all the interest,” Strahm said. “You can see that being away from the sport for so long there might be some struggles early on, but that’s part of why we do this to see where the kids are at and help them touch up their skills before their high school or junior high season actually starts.”

Mallorie Kellum, 12, used the camp to prepare for her upcoming volleyball season at Pine School, located just outside of Holtville. She played volleyball for the school as a sixth grader but wasn’t able to play any sports during the 2020-21 school year.

“I like the camp because I’m trying to get better with my setting and I’m trying to learn how to do a jump serve,” said Kellum, who is going into the eighth grade at Pine School. “I haven’t played for a while so the stuff we did is going to be helpful when we start at school.”