Improve. That is the one goal that almost all athletes share, whether young or old.
To aid this goal and promote their sport, the Piedmont water polo coach and the volleyball team have organized clinics for elementary and middle school kids as well as other people.
The volleyball clinic occurred on Saturday Oct. 15, and the water polo clinic for middle school and elementary school kids is every Friday for four weeks. Another water polo class for anyone high school age or above will start in the winter. These classes, led by the water polo coach, Fana Fuqua, will be run for the first time this year and will be held every Tuesday and Thursday for two hours at the Piedmont Pool, starting on Nov. 8 and ending on Dec. 22.
“I think it’s really good for [kids who really like water polo], if they don’t want to commit to club,” said junior, water polo player Kate Broening.
There must be 12 people for the class to start and the maximum is about 25. To participate, you must also have at least a year of experience in the sport. Since there are a lot of water polo teams through the tunnel, the coach wants to promote it more here, Broening said.
Fuqua is also teaching a clinic for a group of about 12 elementary kids every Friday for four weeks. The program was so popular that there was a wait list to get in, said varsity water polo player junior Maya Guzdar, who has a younger sister in the program.
“Just the fact that they are getting exposed to water polo and knowing about it and going out there, having fun, and learning about the sport and interacting with each other—that’s so good for the program,” Guzdar said.
Guzdar said that this is the first year this clinic is being run, since Fana is relatively new to the school and the program. Eventually, the hope is that it will help to grow the whole water polo program at the high school.
Currently, most people who play in high school do not have much past water polo experience, Guzdar said.
“Everybody would start freshman year, never playing before,” Guzdar said. “So now, we actually have people feeding into it, who have been playing since they were eight years old, which is crazy.”
Similarly to the water polo team, the volleyball team also put on a clinic to help raise awareness for their program as well as fundraise, said Laura Francis, who was one of the parent organizers of the event.
There are two volleyball clinics: one for fourth, fifth, and sixth graders for an hour and a half, and another clinic for seventh and eighth graders, for two hours.
Last year, there were about 25 girls at each clinic, but this year fewer people signed up, said sophomore volleyball player Lilli Brien.
“The point is fundraising, but I also see the point as getting girls interested in volleyball at a young age,” Francis said.
The varsity team runs the clinic and organizes all of the drills and the JV teams help with the behind the scenes work, but do not actually participate in the clinic, Francis said.
“The varsity girls are really professional,” Francis said. “They’ve been to so many clinics from when they were in elementary school that they are able to figure out how to run it all on their own.”
The overall hope of the clinic is to grow the volleyball program in Piedmont from a young age. Even though the middle school has a volleyball team, this introduces them to high school volleyball, which is a new level, Francis said.
“The varsity girls are very enthusiastic about it and they’re proud of their volleyball program,” Francis said.