Even though school is out for the summer, school volleyball hasn’t stopped. Volleyball players from many high schools have met once a week at Kingwood Park High School to compete in the annual summer league program. Started by Kingwood Park Head volleyball Coach Tammy White, summer league offers scrimmages for various schools. The schools that compete in summer league include Kingwood High School, Humble High School, Atascocita High School, Huffman High School, Porter High School, Splendora High School, Crosby High School, Caney Creek High School and Kingwood Park High School. Summer league is played over the course of five weeks and is structured much like a tournament.
“The purpose [of summer league] is for our players to get their hands on the ball and work on team building skills without any instruction from a coach,” said White.
Since each team plays about three games per night, the players get the precious court time needed to improve. Players benefit greatly from these extra touches during their days off.
“Individually, summer league helps me because it gives me reps and helps to show me where I’m at and what I need to work on,” said senior Kirkland Guillory from Humble High School.
High school coaches do not coach the athletes, so the players must create lineups and help each other through tough games.
“It’s a great time for them to take a step back from the playing aspect and figure out ‘what do we need to do to fix this,’” said Kingwood High School Head volleyball Coach Ashley Earhart.
The teamwork used to fix the problem builds the ever important team chemistry.
“As a team, I know [summer league] helps us with connections and working together as one unit,” said senior Atascocita volleyball player Kaitlyn Smith.
In volleyball, team work is critical to success. Starting to build the team chemistry over the summer means that by the time season comes, working together will be second nature for the team.
The team also gets a chance to take a look at other schools and form strategies for winning the game.
“[Summer league] is good because we get to see the types of competition that we are going to see during the season,” said senior Haley Schoettelkotte from Kingwood High School.
Many of the schools that attend summer league will see each other again in district play. Playing a team before the district season helps the players and coaches prepare for the game. While the competition at summer league is tough, it is also friendly and fun.
With music blasting and smiles everywhere, summer league provides an exciting and relaxed environment for the players to improve their skills.
“[The girls] have fun and they do quirky little things. They enjoy it and they actually play very well,” said Crosby Head Coach Becky Bell.
With less pressure than during season, the players simply have fun and play the game they love.
The wins and losses in summer league have no effect on the upcoming season so the girls will often try new things and take risks.
“My favorite part of summer league is the fact that we can take chances and it doesn’t count against us,” said Humble Head Coach Michelle Funderburk.
While taking chances on the court, players display their true talent and potential. In this relaxed atmosphere, the girls have the opportunity to dominate the court without the fear of messing up.
“People can just come up and blow it out of the water and its really cool to see players do that,” said senior Jordyn Kolar from Kingwood Park High School.
Written/Photos Taken by: Carlee Hebert