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Vipers preparing for another club volleyball season

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The Parkland Vipers club volleyball program is up and running for another season and it continues to grow.
The 12U Vipers began practicing last month, with 46 players registered.
12U coach and program co-ordinator Ted Rea said no Grade 4 players were accepted this year, simply because of the numbers, though if they had been short of players, some Grade 4’s would have been added.
“But fortunately, we have a lot of Grade 5 and 6’s and it’s great. We’ve got a few that returned from last year, probably about half of them, and a good group of Grade 5’s who are new,” he added.
At this age, the focus is on player development and equal playing time and not so much results. The returning players already have a base of knowledge to build on from last year.
“They do already know what they’re doing out there and they can basically play the game a little bit already. Some of the new girls are learning skills for the first time,” Rea said.
“At one point, it can be frustrating a little bit, but on the other side, they’re brand new to the sport, so if they are able to learn the skill properly at this age, it sticks with them and they should be a really good player. It’s like molding a brand new piece of clay.”
Rea said the 12U program’s numbers have increased each of the last three years. Three years ago, there were three teams and last year there were four. This year could have as many as five or six if all players listed remain with the program.
There are conflicts with other sports, Rea said, but he does not want to turn players away because of that.
With that many teams, there is a need for coaches. Rea said a number of parents will step up to lend a hand and some players from the Dauphin Clippers JV team will also be on hand to coach.
“A couple of them coached last year and they’re returning to coach, as well. And there’s a couple of new ones that are coaching for the first time. So it’s great to see the older girls coming out and lending a hand and showing these younger girls some of their skills that they accomplished over the last few years,” Rea said.
Typically, there are 12U teams from Dauphin, Brandon and Portage, but Rea said it does not look like Brandon will have a program this year. So Dauphin and Portage will each host a tournament and Dauphin may also host a tournament featuring just the hometown teams.
Overall, the Vipers have four age groups - 12U, 13U, 14U and 15U. No coach was available for the 16U team, Rea said, so those players will be playing out of Russell or Brandon.
“It’s tough, because the coaches have to have the right certification and it’s always difficult finding people that want to give up their time on weekends to come out and help out,” he said.

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Doug Zywina
REPORTER
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