Photo by Drew King
Moreno holds 15th annual Junior Rattler Volleyball Camp
Michelle Moreno observed from the Snake Pit sideline Tuesday as middle school girls planted their feet and elevated to block an imaginary ball.
“Explode!” Moreno shouted. “You’ve gotta get your palms above the net!”
Moreno’s toed that sideline for the past 15 seasons as San Marcos’ head coach. And each summer, after the end of the school year, she’s hosted the Junior Rattler Volleyball Camp for a sneak peek of who will soon join her squad.
The camp is divided into two sessions. Second through fifth graders meet Moreno in the morning to work on the fundamentals of the sport.
“Our focus is definitely the basics,” Moreno said. “In the younger group, it’s just getting them familiar with touches and the ball and form.”
The middle school group arrives in the afternoon to work on the more technical aspects of the sport, such as setting and blocking. Moreno’s main goal, though, is to get them comfortable.
“This a camp where (the coaches) get to work with them,” Moreno said. “So they get familiar with us and we get familiar with them and that makes their transition into high school (easier). Or even their seventh and eighth grade coaches, because they’re here … I feel like that really helps when they show up to tryouts because they’ve done it before.”
Moreno’s seen multiple impact players improve ahead of high school just by coming to the camp each summer — for example, former middle blocker and Coastal Bend commit Devin Branch never missed a camp. The coach’s favorite part of the week comes on the last day, when she’s able to see how much each player has progressed in just four days.
Tuesday was only day two of the Junior Rattler Volleyball Camp. Moreno was excited to see what the second half had in store.
“With the little ones, we will start doing some 6-on-6 (Wednesday), so they’re going to know how to rotate,” Moreno said. “With these older girls, they’re going to put things together and those three contact drills are now gonna become scrimmages.”