Abigail and Caroline Mastria chat with us after the camp.
Abigail Mastria’s interest in volleyball stemmed from watching her older sister Caroline play for the varsity team at Century High School.
Abigail, 11, is participating in the Spike IT! Juniors Volleyball Camp for the first time. Caroline, an incoming junior at Century, is volunteering as a camp counselor for Bryan Trumbo, her varsity volleyball coach and camp host.
This is Trumbo’s second year in charge of the camp that his father, Dave, started 22 years ago. Dave Trumbo is the head coach of the women’s volleyball team at Stevenson University, and the juniors camp has enlisted the help of current Mustangs players over the years.
“I think it’s very important because the kids can see where they can go, they can come to Century games and be like, ‘Oh my gosh, I was playing with her earlier,’” Caroline Mastria said. “It’s just good to see that there’s somewhere they can go with the volleyball and with the college girls, they know there’s another step, not just high school.”
The camp counselors try to implement a positive attitude among the campers from the start, and it’s taken hold among this group of girls that range between fifth and ninth grade.
Each camper is assigned to a counselor’s “team” through the duration of the daily events and each session concludes with tournament-style games. This way, the girls can implement what they’ve learned early in the day and apply it to a game-like setting.
“So many people are competitive,” Abigail Mastria said. “No one gets mad at someone if they make a bad play.”
Caroline Mastria said her favorite thing about being a counselor is watching the kids improve by the day. Some weren’t aware of what a volleyball approach was at first, which is the act of positioning your body in the air to prepare for a hit. As the sessions have gone by, each camper has gradually improved her skills.
Bryan Trumbo’s camp isn’t designed for a particular skill level and those who have never touched a volleyball are encouraged to join. The counselors gauge each child’s level, assess where they are in terms of skill and work with them individually and in station work to boost their confidence.
“You have those direct activities of isolating each skill,” Trumbo said. “In that game play, you're taking all those skills and implementing it into a harder setting.”
It was difficult to spot a camper that didn’t have a smile on her face Tuesday at Century High School. Counselors jumped into drills to encourage the younger girls as Trumbo observed the groups, clipboards in hand.
Trumbo gathered the campers in a group at the end of the session and told them he loved the competitive spirit they had. One camper from each team is given recognition for showing the best effort at the end of each day.
Volleyball is all about being positive, Trumbo said, and it’s OK to make mistakes.
“It’s really cool to see because some of them are incoming ninth graders I got to teach over at Linton Springs [Elementary School] and I kind of recruit them to come try volleyball,” Trumbo said. “For lacrosse, everyone wants to play lacrosse and everyone’s very familiar with it, it’s a hotbed. With volleyball, you kind of have to twist their arm … they get burnt out from soccer or lacrosse.
“It’s like a refreshing sport because you’re new to it and you get so much better in a week, it’s so much fun. It’s so different from other sports and it’s very team-y. You have to really like each other.”