COVENTRY TWP. Maybe what a senior-to-be student-athlete needs prior to their final season of high school sports is to be reminded of what it was like to be a little kid again.
Coventry volleyball player Anna Kimevski is getting ready to help her team try to replicate its winning record from last season and as part of her offseason, she and many of her teammates spent a week volunteering with elementary and middle school players in the program’s annual youth camp.
“It’s really cool working with the little kids because they look up to you and they want to be around you at all times and they want to be like you,” Kimevski said.
The camp, which took place earlier this month at Coventry high school, was an opportunity for Kimevski and other varsity players to take off their athlete hat and wear a teacher’s cap for a few days, including all of the fun moments and challenges that come with working with young athletes.
While it can be tough to go through drills and try to get a third- or fourth-grader to focus and execute specific actions and motions on a consistent basis, the week proved to be a rewarding one for Kimevski, who also plays softball for the Comets.
“Seeing them get better is really inspiring,” she said. “They come in every day and learn new things and work hard and it’s cool because I was at that point at one time. They’re going to grow up so fast and I grew up so fast.”
While the players who attended the camp won’t be donning varsity jerseys for Coventry next season or for a few years, Kimevski noted that it was good to see them put in the work to improve at camp because when they get older, they’ll have to be able to consistently execute them if they want to succeed at the high school level.
At times, the varsity players working at the camp would have to repeat instructions to make sure that everyone heard them and that they were followed to the best of campers’ abilities, but having to remind others can be a good way to remind yourself as well.
When fall rolls around, Kimevski and the Comets will have to do the same things they instructed campers to do on the court if they want to turn in consecutive winning campaigns and she believes that she’ll have those lessons emblazoned in her mind when that time comes in part because she had to repeat them over and over again during camp.
Of course, it wasn’t all volleyball during the week of camp. On the final day, it was time for a fun, silly celebration that had everything to do with having a good time and nothing to do with setting, blocking or digging.
“They had a dance party and it was really cute seeing how open they are and just dancing in front of everybody. They didn’t care and didn’t worry about who was watching,” Kimevski said.
Several players made an impression on Kimevski during the week for various reasons and one who left her mark was a girl named McKenzie, whom Kimsevski worked with and who showed enough skill that the senior-to-be believes the girl is already well on her way to becoming a good varsity player once she reaches high school. Asked what she believes she and her teammates most enjoyed about camp, Kimevski said it was “working with the little girls and helping make them better players,” but added that building relationships and making the week fun for everyone was also high on the list.
Those lessons will come in handy in a few months when the grind of the season begins and the challenges start to stack up, but relearning the simple joy of being a kid learning the sport for the first time just might help.
Reach Andy at 330-580-8936
On Twitter: @aharrisBURB