CBN club gain­ing mo­men­tum

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cb­n­com­

In its fourth year, the Con­cep­tion Bay North Vol­ley­ball Club is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing un­prece­dented growth.

The club, which op­er­ates out of Amal­ga­mated Academy in Bay Roberts, has over 80 chil­dren from Grade 5 to Level III par­tic­i­pat­ing once-a-week since the pro­gram started a month ago.

“We’ve had to cut off reg­is­tra­tion at the Grade 5 level,” said ex­ec­u­tive membe r S tewart Ralph. “It ’s in­creased in all ages.

“It’s a very com­mu­nity-ori­ented pro­gram.”

As any club grows, whether it is vol­ley­ball or bas­ket­ball, the par­tic­i­pants want to see an end re­sult.

What the ex­ec­u­tive mem­bers were find­ing was that the di­vi­sion with the low­est num­ber of play­ers was the high school group, while the lower lev­els had higher num­bers.

“Th­ese ath­letes are on school teams, in school pro­grams, so they’re say­ing, ‘I’m get­ting my vol­ley­ball and I’m sat­is­fied with what I got,’” said Ralph.

In an ef­fort to bring those ath­letes back, and help build the pro­gram fur­ther, the ex­ec­u­tive made the de­ci­sion to travel to tour­na­ments af­ter the Christ­mas sea­son.

Th­ese rep teams are im­por­tant de­vel­op­men­tal tools for any pro­gram look­ing to grow. Ath­letes want to be able to test the skills they’ve been learn­ing in a game en­vi­ron­ment.

“They do get game play as a part of our club pro­gram, but it’s not tour­na­ments, it’s not com­pe­ti­tion,” said Ralph. “We’re tak­ing the train­ing we’re do­ing in the gym at the high school level and trav­el­ing as the CBN vol­ley­ball club.”

Be­ing rec­og­nized

Ear­lier this year, the New­found­land and Labrador Vol­ley­ball As­so­ci­a­tion hon­oured two mem­bers of the club’s ex­ec­u­tive. Sheree Janes and Cathy Downey were awarded the NLVA com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment award dur­ing the an­nual pro­vin­cial awards ban­quet.

The club was rec­og­nized for the work it has been do­ing at in­still­ing vol­ley­ball in the sport­ing cul­ture of the re­gion and the de­vel­op­ment of the sport at the grass­roots level.

“It’s one thing to be rec­og­nized in the com­mu­nity, from see­ing the suc­cess of our school pro­grams build­ing from what we’re do­ing with the club, but be­ing rec­og­nized provincewide is another level of recog­ni­tion,” said Ralph.

Pay­ing back

Another ad­di­tion to the pro­gram has been the mini-vol­ley pro­gram. Mini-vol­ley is a pro­gram de­signed by Vol­ley­ball Canada to help ele­men- tary school teach­ers in­tro­duce the game to their stu­dents.

Th­ese al­ter­ations can in­clude vary­ing the num­ber of play­ers, al­ter­ing the court size, ad­just­ing the height of the net or us­ing big­ger, lighter balls.

“It’s a slightly more ba­sic game that teaches the nec­es­sary skills of vol­ley­ball, but us­ing game play,” said Ralph.

Sev­eral mem­bers of the ex­ec­u­tive gained cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in the min-vol­ley pro­gram as fa­cil­i­ta­tors, and in turn, cer­ti­fied some of the high school level ath­letes. Those ath­letes now go into schools in the re­gion and in­struct the younger chil­dren who are in­ter­ested in learn­ing.

Pro­grams such as the mini-vol­ley can be seen as im­por­tant tools in main­tain­ing the mo­men­tum the club has at the mo­ment. It will help feed play­ers back into the sys­tem as the cur­rent play­ers move up in age groups.

The club cur­rently has a strong base at the younger level and Ralph rec­og­nizes the im­por­tance of im­prov­ing on that, while stay­ing pa­tient.

“As long as we’re see­ing im­prove­ments each year, and as long as we’re pa­tient, hope­fully that trend will con­tinue,” he said.

Com­pass file photo

Grade 6 stu­dent Tay­lor Burke of Amal­ga­mated Academy pre­pares to serve un­der the watch­ful eye of coach Cathy Downey in this Com­pass file photo. The CBN Vol­ley­ball Club is in the midst of its fourth sea­son and has over 80 young ath­letes play­ing the game.

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