Learning is 'Real' in youth volleyball camp

BURBANK — There doesn’t appear to be any shortage of learning for those who attend the Real Youth Volleyball Camp each summer.

For those who flock to the event, conducted by Burroughs High girls’ volleyball Coach Edwin Real, it’s akin to spending time in a classroom. The two Burroughs gymnasiums serve as the learning stations where campers grasp the basic fundamentals ranging from passing to serving to digging.

Under the guidance of Real, there’s plenty to soak up on the court.

“I see it as an opportunity that allows the kids to communicate and ask questions on anything regarding volleyball,” said Real, who will begin his 11th season as coach of Burroughs in the fall. “There’s a need for them and that’s to get better in a variety of areas.

“You want it to be about learning and having fun at the same time. There’s a lot of repetitions. That way they can grasp what’s being taught and they can apply it by practicing.”

Real, who started the camp in 2010, runs three separate sessions. The first one was held in early June. The second began Monday and goes through Thursday. A third session will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Aug. 4-7.

Nearly 50 campers are participating this week. Most of the campers reside in Burbank and neighboring cities. The camp is geared for ages 8-13 and all skills are showcased in team drills and scrimmages

“I’ve had some kids at past years’ camps come here to Burroughs and play for me,” said Real, who led Burroughs to an appearance in the CIF Southern Section Division II-A playoffs last season. “Some have gone on to play at Burbank High.

“It’s pretty cool to see them come here and then see them grow up when they are playing [at the high school level].”

Real has a prolific staff to help him run the camp, including Burroughs boys’ volleyball Coach Joel Brinton and former Pacific League Most Valuable Players Robbie Rutecki, Tyler Yanez, Lucas Yanez and Traci Hamanaka.

Shea McGovern, 13, attended this week’s camp looking to pick up some additional pointers. McGovern, a student at Luther Middle School, said she specifically planned her summer vacation around the camp.

“I get some good training from good coaches and players,” McGovern said. “I’m just here to find ways to get better.

“You have a chance to get to meet and know the coaches in case I might play here. This week, I’m trying to get better on my serving and passing. Other times, I’m looking to get better with my hitting.”

Carter Cottrell, who attends Jordan Middle School, returned to the camp after missing it last year because of a previous engagement.

Cottrell, 11, attended the event in 2011 and 2012 and was eager to participate in a hitting drill.

“Volleyball is my favorite sport and I know I’m going to get good coaching,” Cottrell said. “They want to work with you and see you leave here having gotten better.

“I’m just trying to get better with my foot speed, setting and passing.”

At the end of each day, the participants fill out a form covering what they have learned.

“It’s like another tool for them to summarize what they’ve covered for that day,” said Real, whose team finished tied for second in the Pacific League last season with Burbank. “Plus, they can also go home and practice things individually, like bumping the ball to themselves or serving against a wall.

“In volleyball, there’s always times and different ways to keep practicing.”

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World