CRESTVIEW — The numbers were down at this year's Crestview Parks and Recreation Department volleyball camp. The camp, held at Twin Hills Park last week, had just four participants.
However, Kelly Buckelew — a former University of Alabama-Birmingham player who led the camp a third consecutive year — found something positive in the low turnout.
"In some ways it's better for them because they get more attention to detail," she said. "But it would be nice to have a few more (participants) when we try to scrimmage.
"But three-on-three is great for teaching movement — moving to the ball and that type of thing."
Buckelew was pleased with the campers’ enthusiasm and work, noting that most hoped to make their middle school team.
The camp focused on every aspect of the game.
"The main thing we worked on every day was passing, because you have to be able to pass," Buckelew said. "But we worked on all the skills. Today, the fourth day, we worked on blocking and dinking.
"At this level, they are not very good at it (dinking). They need to know to get their hands out of the net and how to jump."
The week’s first part focused on passing, serving and setting. As time progressed, the players added blocking and dinking.
"We've done the little things, the dinks, the blocking," Buckelew said. "I say little things, but those are all part of the game. We've covered just about every skill."
Although most local middle school and high schools have an established volleyball program, Buckelew believes the sport is just now catching on as more than a recreational game.
"It's an upcoming sport here in the Panhandle," she said. "It's been around forever, but it hasn't gotten real big here until the last three or four or five years, maybe."
Having more open gyms for volleyball would increase the sport's popularity, she said.
However, moms and dads ultimately have the key to building a stronger volleyball base, she said.
"I think the parents have to buy into it," Buckelew said. "They have to be supportive."
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.