When Madi Matoush became a player-coach for the first time at the Montrose High School youth volleyball camp earlier this week, it was “a dream come true.”
The Lady Indians athlete said, as a young camper, she always looked up to the local high school players, hoping she would be in that role one day.
From Monday to Wednesday, Matoush and her fellow volleyball teammates and coaches taught the next generation of Montrose athletes. The team taught the sport’s fundamentals to third through eighth graders at the MHS youth camp.
And the high school athletes knew going into this camp their job was to instruct campers and to be a strong presence for them
MHS head coach Shane Forrest said she stressed to her player-coaches that they’re going to be considered role models for the campers.
The players seemed to take that to heart.
“It’s fun teaching little kids how to play and what you love and do,” said Montrose’s Kelsey Rocco.
There was a great number of young athletes out on the court, as 71 total kids signed up for the camp. The camp was divided into two parts with the seventh and eighth-graders practicing in the morning and the rest participating in the afternoon.
“We’re here having fun and teaching them basic skills,” Forrest said. “Hopefully, they’ll develop a passion for the game and keep playing.”
But the high school players can also learn a thing or two about volleyball, Forrest added.
She said she believes athletes become even better at a given sport if they know how to teach it.
“It makes them reinforce those skills within themselves,” Forrest said.
Both Rocco and Matoush agreed, saying that being coaches they remembered small details that might have been lacking in their game.
“It reminds me that you need the patience to play,” said Matoush.
The campers didn’t learn the basic skills but came away with a camp t-shirt, which has special meaning this year. Part of it reads “Est. 1975” which is the year both volleyball and girls basketball became sanctioned sport in Colorado.
Since this is the 45th year of the sport, Forrest said she has plans to honor the anniversary throughout this upcoming season.
Coincidentally, the youth camp was held at the MHS auxiliary gym where the Lady Indians’ program played its first games back in 1975.
Forrest has a connection to the location as well. The gym is where she played volleyball when she was a standout player for the Lady Indians back in the 1980s.
“This is the gym where Montrose High School volleyball started,” she said.
Andrew Kiser is the Montrose Daily Press’ sports/business writer. Follow him on Twitter @andrew_kpress.