August 11, 2004 at 7:21 p.m.
For the first time this fall, LARA (Lakes Area Recreation Association) will be offering volleyball to kids in grades third through sixth. It might seem like a ho-hum change in the local volleyball landscape, but it means much more than that.
“I think it’s inparative. I think it is essential for kids to learn the fundamentals at a young age, and more importantly, get introduced to the sport at a young age,” mentioned Nicole DeVries, Chisago Lakes head volleyball coach. “There really isn’t a sport for girls in the fall except for football. Plus, before, kids got introduced to the sport for the first time in seventh grade. That’s not enough time to try and perfect all of the fundamentals. Here we can teach them at a young age.”
Sue Swanson agrees. The volleyball coordinator for LARA, Swanson has watched her daughters play in the Forest Lake youth program. Now it’s time to start one here.
“Just getting the kids involved at an early age,” remarked Swanson. “My daughter played last year at Forest Lake and they have a very affective program. It’s going to take years for us to get to that level, but we need something. There is nothing for the girls before seventh grade.”
DeVries began planning for this when she first took over as head coach two years ago. After approaching the LARA board with the idea last fall, the rest took care of itself; it became reality. Fast forward to the present. The season will get started on September 14, consisting of one hour a week sessions for six weeks.
That first meeting will consist of players and coaches from the Chisago Lakes varsity team, looking to pass their skills on to the next generation.
“We want to teach parents, volunteers, and kids how exactly to do some of the different fundamentals from passing to serving to setting,” said DeVries. “We want to show them some of the things they’re going to need to do if they want to play varsity volleyball.”
And ultimately, that is the main attraction towards starting this league- building for the future. No question, from baseball, to basketball, to football, youth leagues have become feeder programs for schools. The idea behind this league is no different.
“All of them have a youth structure and most have a Jr. Olympic program. Everybody has a youth program in the North Suburban,” said DeVries, referring to the Wildcats new conference beginning in 2006. “It’s kind of a disadvantage when your playing a team like Totino-Grace because they have all of these programs in place. It puts our girls at a disadvantage and that’s what we want to eliminate. That, along with helping the girls learn to love the sport are two of the reasons why we wanted to do this.”
Registration is still available for the league. For more information, log onto www.lakesarearec.org.
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