Many high school sports teams travel to a college campus for a summer camp to work on skills but not all of them.
This year the Horseshoe Bend volleyball team hosted its own summer camp at the school with the coaching staff at the University of South Alabama serving as the skills counselors. Horseshoe Bend volleyball head coach Julie Turner said her girls are benefiting from it.
“We get to sleep in our own beds,” Turner said. “We don’t have to worry about travel and we are actually getting more work in on skills.”
The Generals first met South Alabama volleyball coach Alexis Meeks-Rydel last year as the Generals traveled to Livingston for a team camp at the University of West Alabama.
“She was so good with the kids,” Turner said. “They seem to really like coach (Meeks-Rydel).”
Turner said Meeks-Rydel has been doing the home court based camps for a little bit and thought it would work for the Lady Generals this year.
“It is cheaper than traveling to the college campus,” Turner said. “They come to us. Coach Meeks-Rydel had built up the idea around west Alabama.”
Meeks-Rydel said she and her husband Jerrid Rydel have been doing these camps for a while and are continuing to do it in her first year at South Alabama.
“We have about six of these this summer,” Meeks-Rydel said. “We normally do about 10.”
This is in addition to Meeks-Rydel and the Jaguars hosting a camp in Mobile at its campus.
Turner said hosting the camp is great for the younger players who normally don’t get to travel to the college campus camps.
“They get to work on a lot of skills in a fun environment,” Turner said. “Sometimes they get scared with it just being me. They think I watching closely to pick who will be on the court in the upcoming season.”
Many of the college-based camps include a play date against other teams. It is something Turner is doing this summer too and the camp with Meeks-Rydel was timed perfectly.
“I was glad to get this in before our play date,” Turner said. “I believe we will have Woodland, Ranburne, Clay Central and maybe Benjamin Russell in a couple weeks.”