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Brawley volleyball camp teaches fundamentals

June 29, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

BRAWLEY — The Brawley Union High School volleyball program has developed into one of the strongest programs in the Imperial Valley, if not the strongest.

Yes, Brawley has had some of the best athletes, but one of the main reasons for its success has been the development of players before they reach the high school level.

For three years the Wildcats strayed away from putting on summer volleyball camps and clinics, but that changed Monday when the team conducted its first clinic in years.

Looking to get players involved in volleyball at a younger age, Brawley High's clinic was open to girls ranging from 7 to 14 years old.

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"The earlier you start developing their skills the more they'll be ready for high school," said Wildcat coach Phil Finnell. "The main goal of this camp is to get them interested in something that's fun to do, and to also teach them the rules and fundamentals of the game."

Helping Finnell run the camp were Brawley's varsity players. An example for the younger players was three-year varsity player Leighan Sudduth, one of the best high school volleyball players in the Valley.

"I think having this camp is good for everyone because it teaches them the fundamentals of the game," said Sudduth. "I think it's really good for the incoming freshman to get them ready for volleyball at the high school level."

One of the incoming freshman learning from the experience is 14-year-old Michelle Garcia. While most of the younger athletes are learning the basics, Garcia already knows about the game and is getting valuable experience sharing the court with varsity players. Having played volleyball since the third grade, Garcia is gaining high school-level experience via extra repetitions at the camp.

It is players such as Garcia who Sudduth thinks will help continue the strong volleyball tradition at Brawley.

"It is important to have these freshman come in and get this experience," said Sudduth. "Starting them at a younger age and getting them ready for high school is a reason why Brawley is as good as it is."

The camp concluded Thursday and the next thing on the Wildcat volleyball team's agenda will be "hell week," which begins at 9 a.m. Aug. 16.

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