On the upswing

Clinic helps growing popularity of volleyball in Rankin Inlet

Darrell Greer | RANKIN INLET
September 28, 2015

Volleyball players of all ages and skill levels got to improve their game in Rankin Inlet this past week.

Instructor Scott Schutz of Nunavut Volleyball spent two days in the community introducing kids as young as seven years of age to the game, and helping more experienced junior and senior players hone their skills in preparation for the upcoming season.

Robert Kabvitok and Holly Mercer took over coaching junior girl’s volleyball in Rankin this past year.

Kabvitok said he helped schedule the gym time in Rankin schools through the local district education authority when informed of Schutz’s visit.

He said the clinics ran from Sept. 21 to 23 and bracketed the students in age groups starting at seven to 13, and continuing up to both junior-aged and senior-aged male and female players.

“Scott (Schutz) covered a lot of different aspects of the sport during his time in Rankin,” said Kabvitok. “I liked the focus he put on basic skills, such as how to approach and bump the ball.

“He covered a lot of little things the junior girls really need to work on because most of them are just starting volleyball this year.

“The girls were a bit shaky the first night, but Holly (Mercer) and I were pretty impressed by their final session because we could all ready see a difference in their play.”

Kabvitok said the junior girls gained more confidence with each session.

He said they want to continue with a number of the drills they learned from Schutz at their regularly-scheduled practices throughout the season.

“As long as the girls are willing to work hard and are good with the approach, Holly and I are prepared to be a little more strict as coaches and, maybe, push the players a little harder.

“Their skills will improve faster that way and keep volleyball strong in their group, but it has to stay fun, he said. “One of Scott’s messages we intend to keep using is that it’s all about teamwork out there, and you have to keep working on things continuously to get the players at a positive level with their game, knowing they can do it if they put their minds to it.

“Scott really talked a lot about it being a team game while focusing on the proper techniques of doing everything, and Holly and I really liked that approach.”

Kabvitok said he’d like to see more clinics being held in the community.

He said while he realizes Schutz has other communities he has to go to, he’s going to try his best to get him back to Rankin before the 2016 Laura Gauthier Memorial (LGM) tournament, if possible.

“Volleyball is growing in popularity this year for both junior boys and junior girls.

“The boys have about 18 players out and Holly and I have around 25 out for junior girls.

“We only had six players come out when we started coaching junior girl’s volleyball this past year.

“Hosting the LGM is, probably, encouraging more teens to play, as well as getting the chance to go to another community like Yellowknife for a tournament, or even trying out for the Arctic Winter Games.”