Teach­ing a lit­tle re­spect on the vol­ley­ball court

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - SPORTS - JONATHON BRODIE

Den­nis Hutt is pay­ing it for­ward in a lot of ways.

When the St. Mary’s teacher was a high school stu­dent he said he had a lot of coaches that put in time to de­velop youth vol­ley­ball play­ers and now he’s do­ing the same with his sum­mer vol­ley­ball camp, which started Mon­day and ends Thurs­day.

This year is the fourth edi­tion of the lo­cal camp, hosted at St. Mary, and has about 40 youth play­ers be­tween grades 7 and 10 par­tic­i­pat­ing in it, “To make sure ev­ery­body gets lots of touches,” said Hutt.

The camp is very much an in­tro­duc­tion to vol­ley­ball.

Out of the 44 kids at the camp, Dale Hud­dle­ston guessed that 36 of them hadn’t been ex­posed to a lot of vol­ley­ball be­fore. The hope, said Hud­dle­ston, is that they con­tinue in the sport when the camp wraps up and they grad­u­ate to the se­condary school ranks.

“A lot of them will play high school vol­ley­ball and the only way they ’re go­ing to learn how to play is when they’re younger,” said Hud­dle­ston, a man re­garded as Mr. Vol­ley­ball in his years of teach­ing and coach­ing at Ernestown Se­condary School in Odessa and has more than 40 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in the game.

The young play­ers will im­prove by the end of the week, said Hutt, and it all cul­mi­nates with a mini­tour­na­ment at the end of the camp.

“The most im­por­tant thing for us is that the kids are smil­ing and hav­ing fun,” said Hutt. “That seems to be what’s hap­pen­ing.”

Mix­ing fun and hard work can be a bit of a tightrope walk when you’re do­ing your plan­ning. Hud­dle­ston showed off some of his skill on that end when he had the cam­pers smil­ing amidst do­ing... push-ups? He had them all laugh­ing when he got them do­ing... ex­tra push-ups?

“We’ll go to 10,” yelled Hud­dle­ston to the cam­pers be­fore drag­ging out the fi­nal push-up. “9.1, 9.2, 9.3...”

The goal of the camp is more than just hav­ing young play­ers learn the ba­sic skills of the sport. Hutt and Hud­dle­ston, along with some par­ent and high school helpers, teach the rules of the game and to have, “Re­spect for your team­mates, re­spect for your coaches, re­spect for your par­ents, and all the peo­ple who are putting in time into help­ing the kids par­tic­i­pate in the sport,” said Hutt.

The lat­ter les­son seems to be get­ting through to the cam­pers as one young girl qui­etly walked up to Hud­dle­ston at the end of Wed­nes­day’s ses­sion to thank him.

“We teach them to say thank-you,” said Hud­dle­ston. “That’s im­por­tant. It keeps coaches coach­ing.”

It’s all about pay­ing it for­ward.

JONATHON BRODIE/The RecoRdeR and Times

Dale Hud­dle­ston gets roughly 40 youth play­ers do­ing push-ups to close out Wed­nes­day’s ses­sion at a vol­ley­ball camp, hosted at St. Mary.

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