Volleyball camp aims to keep game fun

The Thompson River University (TRU) volleyball camp is aimed at kids having fun while they develop skills for the sport.

TRU power hitter Brandon Hewwing and TRU assistant coach Matt Kruegar talk to Terrace youth about having the dedication to dig every ball. Led by Kruegar

The Thompson River University (TRU) volleyball camp is aimed at kids having fun while they develop skills for the sport.

Matt Kruegar is a former TRU athlete and assistant men’s coach, and ran the volleyball camp for the fourth year at Caledonia Senior Secondary School last week.

“My goal for this whole thing is, if you can teach them a couple of skills to make them a little better that’s good, but if they have fun and actually want to come back and play volleyball, then we think we did our job,” he said.

“That’s what this camp is for,” he added.

Over 32 Terrace youth and 24 children participated in the camp last week, which was split into morning and afternoon sessions for different age ranges.

The first half of each session focused on skill building and drills, the second half they played games.

“I like to have them play a lot, I think playing is really important… If you can’t do it in a game than there is no purpose to it,” Kruegar said.

The other TRU players who ran the camp were women’s all-star Iuliia Pakhomenko, men’s third year setter Tyler Pomietlarz and fifth year power hitter Brandon Hewwing.

Hewwing said he helps at the camps because he enjoys the sport and likes seeing younger athletes have fun and develop various aspects of their game.

Developing athletes and teaching and strengthening volleyball skills is the second main reason for the camps, said Kruegar.

He says it is nice to see the camp developing athletes such as Cole Nutma, a Terrace-raised university athlete, and Evan Veldman and Lucas Mantel, who spent their summer playing U16 volleyball, which develops athletes for team B.C.

Evan and Lucas both said the annual summer TRU volleyball camps definitely contributed to their ability to play at a higher level.

Evan said the key was how it taught them more aspects of volleyball at a young age.

Lucas adds that it gave them more reps to hone their skills.

It also helped them learn to have fun, Lucas said.

“They really encourage you having fun, but at the same time working you really hard.”

The sentiment is echoed by other participants in the week-long camp, such as Ben Mantel.

“Somehow they make tiring stuff seem fun,” he said. “You definitely get pushed a lot.”

Sarah Flach says the camp is “really intense, and you learn a lot, but it’s also really fun.”

Liam Nutma says the coaches also inspire him.

“They always keep us going and keep us strong,” he said.