An intensive pre-season camp under the instruction of Olympian Luke Campbell has set up Volleyball Horsham members for a great year.
Cleo Baker, Tamikah Dockrill, Ryan Spruyt and Tim Popple joined with athletes from across the state and coaches from Mildura and Melbourne for the three-day camp.
Campbell represented Australia at the 2004 Athens Olympics and played 235 games for Australia and 45 as captain. He also played professionally in Europe for 10 years and now is the head coach of the Greater Melbourne Volleyball Academy.
All four members took plenty out of the camp and enjoyed themselves immensely.
For Cleo Baker, who has U18 state team aspirations as her goal for this year, the camp enabled her to take her thinking to the next level.
The various warm up and cool down exercises showed her the best way to prepare and recover, while the intensity of the sessions was the big winner, something she is looking forward to bringing back to her volleyball training domestically.
For Tamikah Dockrill, who wants to cement her place in the Phantoms premier women's team this year, the camp taught her different techniques and ideas on how to use the skills she already had. Dockrill enjoyed how Campbell pushed them hard, at the same time, giving them confidence in everything he asked of the players.
For Spruyt, who is giving volleyball a go this year and hopes to play in the local "A" grade competition, the camp helped him refine his skills in a tough environment. What impressed him most was the continual encouragement.
Popple saw the camp as a great opportunity for all involved to receive quality instruction from a coach whose calibre cannot be questioned. To be able to learn from an Olympian and spend time off the court talking about his coaching philosophies was invaluable.
One clear message that Campbell left the group with was never doubt your own ability. Too often players question their own standing in the game, whereas Campbell believes that the players should leave it up to those watching to determine playing levels.
Campbell has a proven record of placing Victorian volleyballers into the USA and Canadian college system.
His database of coaches in these areas is well over 1000 and he knows what coaches are looking for in a player. Up until last weekend three of his athletes signed college scholarships.
The three members will now set their sights on Phantoms trials to be held in Bendigo next Saturday and in Ballarat the following Sunday, before round one of a pilot regional league, encompassing men, women, boys and girls teams kicks off on February 15 and 16 in Horsham.