Moriarty High School volleyball coach Kim Bell gets very excited this time of year.
A new season is right around the corner and the program that she has piloted for nearly 15 years hosts a summer volleyball camp for youngsters eager to learn the game—and the kids came out in droves.
“This is a good turnout,” Bell said about the number of participants at this week’s three-day camp that began Monday.
With younger-aged kids taking part in a morning session and older kids going in the afternoon, Bell—with the help of her assistants and varsity players—walked the campers through the rudimentary aspects of volleyball with very simple instructions: hold the thumbs together a specific way, position the arms properly, lean the shoulders forward, etc.
Bell said it’s important the youngsters learn the correct foundations of serving and passing. “Passing and serving are your two most critical skills at any level, and at this level it’s the majority of their game,” the coach said, referring to the youngsters who took part in the morning session. “They’re not going to be doing a lot of attacking, they’re going to pass, pass, pass it over.”
Using a marking pen, Bell drew an eye in the middle of each camper’s thumb, so when they held them together properly it made a face. “I think it’s a really good visual,” she said.
The campers also participated in unique drills, like one where they had to hold a poker chip on the upper part of their backs while passing the ball to work on proper body positioning.
Bell acknowledged an important aspect of the camp is the involvement of the high school players, not only as a community service but also for their own learning and development. “I told [the high school players], ‘When you teach a kid how to do it right you ingrain the skill even more in yourself,’” the coach said.
And after the summer camp concludes, Bell and her players will start focusing on the upcoming season that gets underway next week. The team will need new leaders to step up to replace the five starters who graduated in May, while hopefully improving upon last season’s 16-7 record and a trip to the state tournament.
The Lady Pintos will also be competing in a new district in Class 4A. “I think going down to 4A puts us on a more even playing field,” Bell said. “I’m emphasizing a new start: a new season, a new district and making your mark.”
Moriarty’s new District 4-4A won’t be a pushover, as the Pintos will be competing against Ruidoso, Portales and Hope Christian, but Bell is confident in the “great group” she has.
“The more we continue to work on a team concept and generating that team energy the more success they’re going to have,” Bell said. “I’m really liking what I’m seeing, I’m excited about the possibilities.”
Ger has been writing and shooting photos of high school sports for The Independent for 15 years. His dedication to youth athletics goes beyond sports reporting. He is past president of East Mountain Little League and works as a baseball umpire. He lives in Edgewood with his family.