SHS volleyball program holding its 31st annual summer camp

SHS volleyball program holding its 31st annual summer camp

More than 140 girls from pre-school age through ninth grade are working on the fundamentals of volleyball at Sterling High School’s Wally Post Gym this week.

It’s the 31st year that Lisa Schumacher has held her Sterling High School Volleyball Camp. Schumacher has coached three generations of Sterling High Lady Tigers volleyball teams, has been named the Colorado Coach of the Year, and led her team to an undefeated season and the 2019 state championship.

It’s probably an understatement to say Schumacher loves what she does.

Summer training camps are essential to building successful high school athletic teams; young children begin to learn the fundamentals of an organized sport and the necessity of teamwork while their older siblings hone their skills for competition.

But there’s a lot more going on in Post Gym this week. Schumacher said she believes that it’s essential that children get out and play.

“Especially with the little ones, it’s fun just to see them get into a gym and play with each other,” she said. “They’re learning to get to know other kids they’ve never met, and sometimes make new friends.”

She also runs a junior high school summer league because, she said, “It’s all about kids playing games.”

The older girls tend to be more focused on the sport, but there is a lot of socializing that goes on, too. Girls who may someday face each other across the net work together to improve themselves and each other. Schumacher doesn’t actually use the word “sportsmanship,” but that’s clearly what she’s talking about.

Schumacher has seen some of the children progress through the camp year after year and end up playing for her. The participants this year come from as far away as Potter, Neb, and from Front Range communities. (Full disclosure: This reporter’s three granddaughters are participating, and two of those girls are daughters of a woman who played for Schumacher in the 1990s.)

Schumacher said she doesn’t often see camp participants end up playing against her Lady Tigers, unless it’s a non-league game against another Logan County team, but even then it’s fun to watch.

Schumacher drafts her own players to help with the camp, and not just to keep them immersed in the sport.

“It’s a way we can give back to the community, show them there’s something bigger that they are a part of,” she said.

Schumacher’s daughter Allie, an alumnus of the camps, graduated Sterling High this year and will play volleyball for Northeastern Junior College in the fall.

The kids aren’t the only ones who benefit. The veteran coach said she learns things from holding the camps, too.

“Anytime you can teach kids, it makes you a better coach,” she said.

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