Volleyball camp serves as program builder

Published 4:18 pm Friday, July 28, 2017

Members of the Isabella volleyball program worked on their technique and approach to the game during the school’s annual camp on July 24 and 25.

Glen Graham is entering his 20th year at Isabella and for the past 15 years he has held a camp during the summer and invited a college coach to help instruct.

This year Middle Tennessee head coach Chuck Crawford led the camp with an assist from a pair of his current players.

“I think the advantage of bringing players as opposed to people that have already graduated, is that they are in the moment,” Crawford said. “It is a great role model for them [high school players] and an example of what they can strive for.”

It was Crawford’s third time heading up the camp, but his first as a head coach at the college level. He is entering his first season as the head coach of the Blue Raiders after spending time as an assistant at Auburn for three years.

“We just try to reiterate what the coach’s beliefs are and the culture,” Crawford said.

One of the primary aspects of the game that Graham asked Crawford to work on is blocking.

“If you can slow down another team’s best hitter and get her frustrated, that adds a lot of opportunity for you,” Graham said.

According to Crawford, passing and ball control are also two important skills that can never be practiced enough no matter the level of competition. It is what wins and loses games.

Graham made the decision to bring Crawford back for a second straight year based on the record success of last season and the amount of returning players from that team.

“Chuck and I have become friends, he has a great philosophy and the kids have related to him well,” Graham said. “Bringing the most experienced team back that I’ve ever had, I figured we should keep it the same. I wanted to keep the consistency as we’re trying to build for that final step [state championship].”

Fifty-one players make up the Isabella program on varsity and junior varsity. They were each there taking part in the camp.

“The numbers here are bigger than most schools that I attend,” Crawford said. “Glen does a great job. It’s a winning culture and kids want to be a part of that.”

Twenty-one of those players are on the junior varsity team, which is the most that Graham has ever kept.

“I did that because I’ve got eight seniors,” Graham said. “I’m giving 21 girls the opportunity to show me who’s ready to move up next year [2018].