The Lady Panthers, and volleyball head coach Veronica Valdez, hosted a summer camp for volleyball hopefuls aged from third grade to ninth grade. The camp saw a record turn out with over 70 kids participating. It also introduced the new and improved Panther training program, Performance Course, that proved fruitful in building both physical skills but also confidence for the players.

“The camp has been awesome, I’ve been really blown away by the numbers,” Valdez said of the camps, “it just gives me hope for the future. It shows that there’s a lot of interest in the sport and that makes me excited going forward.”

The camps set up is relatively straight-forward — there are younger girls and there are older girls, with different long-term goals set for each. There’s heavy focus the first two days on fundamentals and skills; working on footwork, speed, important base skills needed for the game.

With the younger group, the emphasis is fully on basics and skill building, with plenty of fun thrown in. Given opportunities to play pressure-free volleyball games as well as a game of freeze tag or two to warm up for the day.

The older group had a bit more of a serious focus on it, with these athletes either being introduced to competitive athletics, or incoming freshman who might be looking for a spot on the high school squad. These camps really give Valdez the opportunity to get a preliminary look at the athletes who will be fighting for a spot come two-a-days.

“It’s a great way for me to take stock of what our program is potentially going to look like,” Valdez said, “especially seeing those incoming freshman work a week before we start two-a-days. It really helps me because we only have two days before we have to start making cuts to the high school squad, so it really allows me to kind of see what we have to work with right out of the gate.”

The camp also had a lot of firsts — with the new Performance Course program, the older group was given a physical challenge, which really saw them both lose fat and gain muscle, as well as gain speed and explosiveness that will be vital during the season.

There were also two new coaches joining the Panther staff — Laura Winter, who comes from Prosper ISD, and Cynthia Britton who comes from Sherman ISD.

“Our two new coaches have been totally on board during these camps,” Valdez said, “the camp has given them the opportunity to learn our team terminology, how we run things here, and also gives them a chance to meet some of the players and start building a relationship early with them… the kids, the staff, the season, I’m excited about all of it and am ready to get the season going.”