Children ages 8–12 have the opportunity to learn volleyball by participating in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Recreation Department’s volleyball league, which is held at both the Lehi and Pi-Copa gyms. The league started in October and will continue through November 13. There are two divisions in the league, including co-ed and a girls division.
The department started the volleyball league in 1995 for girls in two age divisions, 9–12 and 13–15. Then in 2008 the boys wanted to start playing volleyball with the girls, so Recreation created the co-ed division for kids ages 8–12, with eight teams in the league.
“Now in 2010 we still have the co-ed division for 8 to 12 years old and the division for girls 8 to 12 years old,” said Robin Martinez of the Recreation Department.
A co-ed team named Lil Crew has been playing for three years, and they even have one player who is 6 years old. “Some kids have played before, and for some this is their first time playing volleyball,” said Pila Mendoza, coach of Lil Crew. “I teach the kids what I know about volleyball, so they can continue to play [later and build on] the basic teachings. The main goal [at this age] is to have fun and be active.”
The children are learning the basic fundamentals of volleyball like serving, setting and passing. Learning to catch, hold and throw the ball helps develop their coordination. In this league, everyone gets a chance to serve the ball, even if it takes them four attempts.
“It feels good to see all the support from the families that come out to watch their kids play their first game of the season, and I am sure it makes the kids very happy,” said Mendoza.
Recreation Department Youth Volleyball
Team Lehi, Coach Kim Manuel
Salt River Lil Crew, Coach Pila Mendoza
Salt River Spikers, Coach Sandy Hicks
Salt River Wu-Krew, Coach Berdina Burke
Salt River Our Gang, Coaches Rebecca Makil and Robin Martinez