For the past two days, both gyms at Del Norte High School have been full of young aspiring Warrior volleyball players.
Del Norte varsity coach Debbie Lorenzi watches Alondra Ledezma serve the ball during drills on Wednesday. Del Norte Triplicate / Michael Zogg
The Del Norte Volleyball Camp will wrap up today at noon. This year, the camp drew 32 participants, from sixth to ninth grade (this fall), and although that number is lower than it has been in the past, Del Norte varsity coach Debbie Lorenzi has liked what she has seen from the players that showed up.
“The skill level is up this year,” Lorenzi said on Wednesday. “We have had some good rallies going. Our skill level is up, but our numbers are down.”
Lorenzi said that the main focus of the camp is to instill a love of volleyball into the campers.
“We are trying to teach them the fun of the game,” Lorenzi said. “We try to make it fun but still teach the fundamentals of the game. We are trying to teach ball control, and they like to hit, so we are really working on their hitting.”
As an example, Lorenzi said the older group really likes to hit, so they have been working a lot on that aspect of the game.
In addition to the high school coaching staff, camp coaches include the high school volleyball players.
“The younger high school kids coach the younger kids in the practice gym, and I have the older players working with the older kids in the main gym,” Lorenzi said. “Some of them are really good coaches, and I let them take charge of some of the little ones. I think having them coach helps them learn the skill better themselves. It makes them think about the basics a little more.”
Lorenzi said the high school kids also receive free knee pads, socks and motel rooms in the fall for the high school season in exchange for helping out at the camp.
Also helping at camp are a pair of former Del Norte greats, Megan McMillan and Jennifer Larson.
Both women played for Del Norte in the 1990s, and contributed Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 championships to the Warriors’ dominating streak of league titles. McMillan and Larson also both earned three White Stars and an HDN MVP award while playing for Del Norte and both went on to play Division I volleyball in college.
Larson played at Colorado and McMillan at Oregon State.
Summer workouts start
Although the volleyball camp ends this week, campers and anyone interested in playing high school volleyball next year are invited to volleyball workouts which start next week.
“We are trying to build their strength and teach them how to use the weight room,” Lorenzi said. “Then we will work on the basics of volleyball.”
Varsity players will have workouts on the same days, beginning at 7:30 a.m. Workouts will be held every week into August.