Edwin Real hasn’t had much down time this summer.
Along with teaching summer school, Real, the girls’ volleyball coach at Burroughs High, has held a series of his Real’s Youth Volleyball Camps.
Real has hosted a five total sessions over June, July and August for players 8-14. Along with general skills camps, he also hosted specialty sessions, including a setters/hitters camp and a serve/pass/defense camp.
The final session, a general skills camp, began Monday and ended Thursday and attracted nearly 40 players to the two Burroughs High campus gyms.
“That’s about all the sessions that I can handle, I really can’t fit in more than that,” Real said. “There is a lot of work behind the scenes to make these camps run and I only have so much time.
“The sport, in general, and the camps that we have been holding have gotten very popular. Really, we found the need is there and there are enough players who want to improve their skills. We are getting more boys in than we ever have.”
Real, who employs a group former Burroughs players, some of whom have or are playing on the collegiate level, brings a wealth of success and decades of coaching experience to the camps. He will be entering his 15th year as the Indians girls' coach after spending 13 years as a Burroughs assistant to former U.S. Olympian Linda Murphy. His teams have captured three Pacific League titles.
Players also got to soak up knowledge from Joel Brinton, who is the current Indians boys’ volleyball coach. Brinton has coached teams that have won eight straight Pacific League championships, advanced to two CIF Southern Section championship contests and won a CIF Southern California title.
“I could never run these camps without all the help that I get,” Real said. “It means a lot to me to to get the college players and Joel … that’s what makes the camps a success.”
One of those former players is Skyler Bercini, a recent graduate who is leaving for UC Berkeley on Saturday to pursue academics. Bercini once was a budding player who attended Real’s camps.
“Why I wanted to do this and be involved is because I remember being at the camp and specifically working with Lucas Yanez, who was a league MVP a few years back,” said Bercini, who was an all-league and All-Area first-team selection in 2017. “That really impacted me and so I want to give back that experience.
“If I might be able to help a player and maybe give them some inspiration like I received, I’ll be very happy.”
The campers were broken down into two groups: the young guns (age 10 and under) and the old timers (age 11 and above). The athletes started each day with stretching that led into warmups. The campers then spent a large portion of the camp working on basics like footwork, serving, passing and hitting. The groups also took part in simulated games.
“I’ve been to this camp before and I really like it,” said Heidi Collins, 12, from Burbank. “The coaches are really good and you learn a lot. Also they make it very fun for us.
“I learned how to jump-serve, which was pretty nice. I also learned how to jump higher when I go up for a block.”
Said 10-year-old Angelina Dellutri of Burbank: “I love, serving, setting, bumping and spiking, and I get to to that all here.
“I want to play either volleyball or basketball more when I get older, so I’m learning all about volleyball here.”
Although Real had to report to Burroughs on Monday, as it was the first day of the new school year for teachers, he was on the court to began the final camp of the summer.
“Running these camps comes with the territory and it's what I do,” Real said. “It’s not awful work. It’s not a desk job or something that I dread doing. That’s why I’m in the profession; I enjoy teaching and I enjoy coaching. I’m just glad I have the opportunity to do this and maybe help out some kids.”