AVON PARK — Now in her 10th year as volleyball head coach at South Florida State College, Kim Crawford still can’t get enough of the sport.
She’s been holding summer volleyball camps nearly every year she’s been with the college, and she’s just as passionate now as she was when she started.
“This is my livelihood,” Crawford said. “I love to teach the game and be around it, and getting kids involved with sports from a young age is always good.”
The camp, which just wrapped up its first session last week, is split into morning and afternoon lessons.
Campers primarily work on basic volleyball fundamentals in the early session, honing their hitting and serving skills, as well as their technique. Campers get the smorgasbord experience, learning everything from serving and digs, to spikes, blocks, and diving.
Crawford has a special system for encouraging her campers to layout on a dive. She brings them a box full of socks, which are long enough to go from the wrist to the elbow. They’re perfect for avoiding burns while sliding on the hardwood.
“Don’t worry, they’re clean,” Crawford said to a crowd of aghast campers.
After a lunch break, campers usually get to test their abilities in simulated games and play some short-court volleyball.
“We’re open to all levels of ability,” Crawford said. “But we really want to get campers comfortable with the fundamentals of the game.”
There are two more sessions left this summer. The next one will be from June 23-26, while the other runs from July 7-10.
Camp runs from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Cost is $100 per week or $30 per daily session. Crawford also offers sand volleyball clinics at night. For more information, contact her at 784-7037 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year Crawford had a special guest assistant. Breauna Corley, the Highlands Today 2014 All-Highlands Girls Athlete of the Year, helped Crawford during the morning and afternoon sessions, and even played a few games with the youngsters.
“I thought it would be a good way to interact with the coach and learn more from her,” Corley said. “And it’s a good way to work out.”
It’s a win-win for Corley, who will make her collegiate debut later this summer as a member of the Panthers volleyball team. Although familiar with SFSC’s campus and the team, Corley said that assisting Crawford at camp has helped the transition process from high school to college.
“I was nervous say a month ago,” Corley said. “But now that I’m interacting with the coach and getting used to being around the college I’m getting more comfortable.”
Still adjusting to living away from home and living with other SFSC athletes in the Jacaranda, Corley said she hasn’t ruled out plans to play softball for the Panthers.
“I know a couple of girls who have done it before,” Corley said. “And I’d like to try and walk on.”
Corley, who effortlessly balanced academics and athletics in high school, is confident she can maintain again even though she’s in college.
“I took dual enrollment courses in Lake Placid, so I was able to take college credit courses,” Corley said. “I was able to finish a lot of course load ahead of time. And after I get my AA degree here, I want to move onto Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers. They have a really good program for school therapy.”
More than anything though, Corley’s excited about her classes.
“I have a really, really sweet schedule,” she said. “Which is nice for a first semester of college.”