In her second year at Mineral Wells High School volleyball coach Sheridan Willard likes what she sees heading into the upcoming 2019 season as her Lady Rams conduct a youth volleyball camp this week.
The Lady Rams have had as many as 68 athletes from the high school and junior high show up for summer conditioning workouts. Roughly 42 of those are at the high school level, and like many of the sports teams in Mineral Wells, the talent is young.
“I am thrilled with the rule changes regarding sports specific training,” Willard said. “We are getting the opportunity early on to implement our offense and our defense and working on our program’s system.”
This week the Lady Rams got to work at being coaches as they hosted a youth volleyball camp where they were the instructors.
“I think it gives the girls a greater appreciation for the game and they can see what’s going on from the outside,” Willard said. “The girls have shown an amazing amount of patience, especially with our younger players. I am grateful for that."
Having them, help coach gives them a whole new perspective of the game.”
Willard has found her athletes are willing to go the extra mile and they have bought into the program she has brought to Mineral Wells. Graduation severely trimmed the ranks, and the Lady Rams expect to field only 6-7 seniors. At least three “new” players have not played in more than a year.
The goals Willard has set for her youth camp includes developing the fundamentals to become. consistent.
“We are out here doing some of the very basics, especially with our younger athletes,” Willard said. “We use beach balls, so they don’t hurt their hands hitting the volleyball but at the same time get a grasp of the fundamentals we are trying to teach them.”
Willard believes learning the fundamentals of volleyball can never come too soon as long as the athlete is interested in what they are doing. Coming from a coaching family – Willard has had a wealth of knowledge to draw from the family well.
Some of that knowledge will be coming to town later this week as the Lady Rams take part in a volleyball camp where they will be the players and not the coaches under the instruction of Willard’s brother, Kyle Steele, who is a men’s NAIA volleyball college coach at Ottawa University Arizona. Steele and his assistant/wife, Taryn, will be conducting the camp.
Steele has coached both men and women’s volleyball at the collegiate level including a three-year 73-25 record at Oklahoma City University where he produced seven all-Americans, nine All-Region players and 21 all-conference athletes.
The camp will also be a chance for Willard to keep evaluating the talent she has on hand.
“It’s going to give me a chance to see how the girls improve,” Willard said. “I don’t have a full roster made yet, and there are still a couple of girls who are on the bubble.”