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Tigers host volleball clinics for third-graders through high school

More than 125 volleyball players from the area are fine-tuning their skills at the Christen Family Recreation/Wellness Center on the Dakota Wesleyan University campus.

Sam Pooley
(Kevin Pottebaum/Republic) Sam Pooley works on a passing drill while Tigers volleyball player Kayla O'Connell watches during a youth volleyball camp Monday at the Christen Family Wellness Center on DWU's campus in Mitchell

More than 125 volleyball players from the area are fine-tuning their skills at the Christen Family Recreation/Wellness Center on the Dakota Wesleyan University campus.

The Tigers are hosting three separate camps this week. Monday marked the first day for the youth -- grades three through eight -- and high school individual skills camps and the high school team camp begins Wednesday.

"We're trying to bring the education and the game of volleyball to this area," Wesleyan coach Eric Viney said.

Coaches for the camp are players at the university.

"We want to provide our Dakota Wesleyan athletes an opportunity to get their names and faces out to the community," Viney said. "It also helps them understand how they need to play or perform a certain skill. As they're teaching a skill or fundamental, they get to let it run through their minds and they get to learn a lot as they coach."

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Viney said having the Tigers' players act as coaches brings a fun atmosphere for the kids participating.

"We want to have them learn how fun volleyball can be," he said. "The attitude and personality of our DWU players helps a lot. Their energy is fun."

Viney said the team also uses a little bit of competition during the camp to add to the enjoyment for the kids. Giving the kids frozen treats during breaks is another tool used to help make their time more memorable.

"Most of the kids at the camp are ones that have been here in the past," Viney said. "They come back because of how much fun they had and the memories they have."

Kayla O'Connell enjoys teaching younger kids the fundamentals of the game.

"You get to give back what you've learned and pass it on to younger kids," she said.

O'Connell said she hopes to be a math teacher and feels more comfortable with the high school kids but still enjoys helping players of all ages.

"It's cute to see all the little ones come out," she added.

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The youth camp wraps up today while the high school skills camp continues through Wednesday. The team camp ends Saturday.

Ashley Henglefelt
(Kevin Pottebaum/Republic) Ashley Henglefelt works on a drill during the DWU volleyball camp Monday at the Christen Family Wellness Center in Mitchell.

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