Learning from the Experts: Volleyball
When Parkite Mikki Barton says she knows a thing or two about volleyball, she isn’t kidding. Besides receiving numerous awards during her storied career playing both basketball and volleyball at the University of Utah, she is an inductee into the Crimson Club Hall of Fame and the Joe Kearney Award for the Western Athletic Conference. And although she has never served as an official head coach of any team, it is her experience and understanding of the sport hat she hopes to impart on aspiring volleyball players in the area.
"My experience at the college level brings more experience to the table," Barton explained. "I’m there to put the ball in their hand and see if they like it."
Barton began holding her clinic last year. Basin Recreation program coordinator, Brian Hanton, who is also a friend of Barton’s, approached her about running a summer camp to share her vast knowledge with Park City youth.
"For him, it was the experience I’ve had playing on the college level," Barton said.
The camp is split into two sessions. The mornings are devoted to the beginner volleyball payer, who has either recently started playing or is looking for an introduction to the sport.
"They can come in and never have touched a ball in their life," Barton said.
Barton teaches basic skills and fundamentals of the game, as well as telling the kids the options that playing can provide in their lives. Like many of the other skills camps geared for younger children, Barton will use fun games to help the children learn the basics.
The afternoon session is aimed at advanced players with a focus on game strategy and honing skills. For the older campers, Barton will share her knowledge of the possibilities associated with playing at the club, high school and collegiate level.
"I don’t know if they think about their options," said Barton, who attended the University of Utah on a full athletic scholarship.
Barton has also tried to make the camp accessible to everyone. It is open to kids ages 9-14, any gender, and the cost is $50. Barton cites the strong men’s volleyball programs at Brigham Young University and many California schools, and hopes that boys won’t be scared away from the clinic because they think it’s strictly a "girl’s sport."
For those kids not aspiring for a competitive career, she says that volleyball is a great lifetime recreational sport and notes the numerous leagues available for people of all ages.
Barton, who is now the mother of five, says that some of her children are finally the age where they can start learning the sport and is excited to expose them to volleyball as well as basketball. She is adamant about the difference that playing sports made in her life and hopes that her children and all the children in the area, especially girls, will make the decision to participate in some form of athletics.
"It’s good for self-esteem, teamwork and life skills," Barton said. "I’m where I am today, because of sports. I’m hoping I can motivate kids."
Barton will embark on her annual quest to get kids involved Aug. 7-11 at the Ecker Hill International Middle School gymnasium. The camp will be split into two sessions. The morning session will run from 9 a.m.-noon for beginners. The advanced afternoon session will be held from 1-4 p.m. The cost per session is $50 for the week. Sign up at http://www.basinrecreation.org or call 655-0999.
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