Easter Camp at Kilgraston

The SVA 4 day Easter Camp took place at Kilgraston ScEaster Camphool in Perthshire from Sunday 2nd – Wednesday 5th of April 2017. 24 male and female athletes arrived late morning, with the sun shining down on Kilgraston school, 13 boys and 11 girls in S2, 3 and 4 from schools all around Scotland gathered.

Soon after arriving, the athletes found their rooms and unpacked before getting the first of many delicious lunches, and then started to enjoy socializing and relaxing in the lounge room before the first training session. This session marked the start of a 21-hour training programme, a significant increase from some of the players’ normal routine in which they’d only practice for 1.5 hours a week.

The camp was run by Head Coach Ian Brownlee and assisted by myself (Donald Clark) acting Camp Manager and by Assistant Coaches Ben Laurenson and Zalina Dzatieva. The main theme the coaches pushed throughout camp was playing in transition with a particular focus on the defense being angled into court and attack fundamentals.

Training started with a grueling 2 hours work on defense and this went extraordinarily well, with the players working very hard for their new team mates and pushing themselves to reach a new level in their performance. This continued throughout camp with the players impressing and only occasionally dipping in performance as fatigue set it. The first evening session gave the athletes the opportunity to show off their attacking prowess and they all believed they had learnt something new by the end of it. Reviewing the first day, it was a mutual
agreement among the athletes that the camp was off to a ‘good’ start.

Day 2 started with more work on defense, this time focusing on the movements and posture of the athletes. With the athletes already feeling their legs tiring after the previous days efforts, they knew that they needed to work even harder to keep the play to a high standard which the players managed. The afternoon offered up the first theory session with camp, where the players started to learn how to time their counter attacks and how to spike in transition. With all this learning some players felt they needed an extra power nap to let it sink in better *cough Lisa Waldie cough*. After another successful session following the theory lesson, the players got some rest before the first of 2 mixed tournaments, which resulted with Emma Waldie’s team winning with some very effective serving.

On the 3rd day of camp, all the players were up early to watch Lynne Beattie (GB, Scotland indoor and Scotland beach athlete) appearing on BBC Breakfast to promote Beach Volleyball and the Commonwealth Games 1-year countdown beginning. Seeing an inspirational athlete seemed to spur on our athletes to push them even harder. The training followed the same pattern as the previous day with defense in the morning followed by theory and attacking in the afternoon and another mixed tournament in the evening. This day understandably started a little slower than the rest but the athletes once again reach very high quality of play while working on their defensive positioning and brought this quality through to the afternoon. Even though this followed another theory session watching the Brazil V Russia Gold Medal match from London 2012 the players put in another inspired training session. The evening brought around the second mixed tournament, this time the winning team was captained by Euan Fraser.

The final morning had another tournament, this time with a majority girls game and a guys’ game afterwards. Every match was quite evenly tested throughout the session with each team managing to win a set out of the three.

OF course the camp wasn’t all about the training sessions, the athletes had plenty of chill time in a kitted out lounge. This let the players relax with some home comforts like a comfy sofa, an xbox and also a pool table. This helped the players socialize a lot more making some great new friendships across the country.

The camp showed some great progress from all the players, who managed to surprise all the coaches with the level of commitment on court and in training. Conclusion, the camp was ‘good’, ‘really good’, ‘very good’, ‘enjoyable’, ‘great’, ‘excellent’, and ‘satisfactory…’ with all the athletes reaching new levels in their performance and feeling as though they had learnt a lot of things they could now take forward into their game.

Donald Clark
Camp Manager – SVA Easter Camp 2017