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Keith’s new team makes use of camp

SELMA — Thirteen girls used their free time to work on learning the game they will play this fall.

Many of them will be playing for the first time.

Former University of Alabama volleyball player Crystal Hudson held a camp at Southside High School that concluded Friday, working on teaching the girls the basics of the game and giving them a foundation to on which to build.

“The girls have gotten so much better,” Hudson said. “It’s going to help them in the upcoming season if they continue to work hard.”

Southside and Keith high schools each had players at the camp. Southside’s program will play its second season in the fall, while Keith is starting a program from scratch.

“They’re getting a chance to interact with a team that has been playing for a year,” Keith coach Canchita England said. “It’s a good foundation for them to learn all the different serves and passes, footwork, position on the court and strategies.”

Hudson was teaching the players the basics of the game, all the way down to when to rotate positions and where to line up on the court. She used a simulated game to show the players how to react to the ball and get back in position to receive as soon as it is hit over the net to be ready for the next rally.

England said most of the Keith players have never played volleyball competitively. She said the exposure was important to helping the girls understand the importance of working together.

“They’re learning teamwork,” England said. “They see how to support each other and communicate. They need that determination because that’s going to stay with them throughout their lives.”

Whitney Smith is one of the Keith players who has never been on a volleyball court before, but she was given the Hustle Award for her consistent hard play throughout the camp.

“It’s going to help a lot,” Smith said. “It showed me where I need to be going and to set up then get back quickly.”