ANNA – Anna head volleyball coach Tomika Crosby welcomed 70 girls to four days of volleyball camp at Anna High School on Monday, July 24. For Crosby, now starting her ninth season at the Lady Coyotes’ helm, these camps are about “meeting the girls, seeing the potential and the interest in a lot of the younger girls and starting to build a relationship with them and their parents. … I look forward to meeting the new kids every day,” she said.

“I try to keep it very basic,” said Crosby, who was also recently named Girls Athletic Coordinator for Anna High School. “Passing, setting and serving are the three things I try to teach my campers, especially the younger ones. Hitting, attacking the ball is always one of the struggles that they have because most of them are so little. Serving is another struggle that they have. If I get them to know the very basics of the footwork, the arm-swing, understanding that — then that’s one step closer to learning (the game).”

The camp offered three sessions daily: fourth-through-ninth-graders and seventh- and eighth-graders in the morning, and ninth-graders in the afternoon.

The youngest campers, Crosby said, start out serving underhanded, focused primarily on just getting the ball over the net, and progress to overhand attempts as sixth graders. As for the older kids, Crosby said, “We’re pretty much teaching them all the drills they’re going to learn next week when they start two-a-days. They learn the verbiage from the high school coaches, but it also gives us a chance to look at them and see the potential that we have coming up for the team when they try out next week.”

Also providing instruction at camp were Coach Lindsey Gage and Coach Jacqueline Rosson. Gage is head coach of Lady Coyotes varsity softball and Rosson is her assistant coach.

“They’re just really excited to learn,” Rosson said of working with the younger campers. “For a lot of them, this is maybe one of their first camps for volleyball. So they’re just really getting into it, learning a lot of new things. … It’s getting the feel of the ball and understanding where your feet are supposed to be or where your arms are supposed to be – and then communicating.”

Assisting with camp as well was just-graduated Lady Coyote star Skylar Van Norman, last season’s District 11-4A Hitter of the Year.

“Skylar has been with me since her freshman year,” Crosby said. “When I first watched her play in middle school, I just knew that she was going to be a varsity player — and that’s exactly what she did her freshman year. She’s been a key player and a captain for four years. She’s always been a leader. … She is going to be greatly missed.”

Van Norman will attend the University of North Texas starting in August.

“I love volleyball so much,” she said. “I’m not playing at the collegiate level next year — I’m only playing for (UNT’s) club team — so I’ll kind of miss playing.”

She added that she had enjoyed “just getting back and helping these guys kind of learn the game that I love.”

Colleen Fincik and Taryn Maxwell were two ninth-graders at camp, and both hope to play volleyball for Anna.

“I think I improved on my spiking and passing,” Fincik said as camp concluded on Thursday.

Added Maxwell, “It was good to get coached by the high school coaches, so we know what they expect.”

Are they ready for varsity tryouts next week?

“Sort of,” Fincik smiled.

“I’m not mentally prepared for it,” Maxwell laughed.