FHS takes volleyball to youth players

When Susan Davidson took the reins of the Farragut High School volleyball program she immediately took the Admirals to new heights on the court.

Under her leadership, Farr-agut has made it to three consecutive Class AAA State Tourn-aments and two straight championship matches.

Summer is normally a time to rest but for Davidson and the Admirals, opportunities for rela-xation are few and far between. The team and the coach recently hosted its annual youth volleyball camp at Lynn E. Sexton Gymnasium and it was there that Davidson and her players taught the game that is so dear to their hearts.

“This year, we have 50 campers and we have 50 awesome growing volleyball players,” Davidson said as young volleyball players received some cognitive instruction in the gym lobby Wednesday, June 8. “That’s a tribute to how far volleyball has come in our community over the last 10 years or so. This is really fun and I am blessed to have girls who are academics of the game.

“Our girls are a happy group and they love to play the game. But they also love to study the game. They love the mental part of the game. They understand that when the bounces don’t go their way that they have to think and they have to figure out how to turn things in their favor.”

That’s what happens during the rigors of the District 4-AAA volleyball schedule. And while young players spend an early June week learning the game, there’s also plenty of time for fun.

“This is volleyball and it’s supposed to be fun,” said all-state rising senior Alexis Parker, who has committed to Indiana University. “You sometimes forget that in the games and in the heat of battle.

“This is a time to teach the game that we love and that makes us better as players. But this is also a time for us and everybody to have fun. It’s fun to teach these young girls and

it’s great to see so many young players excited about playing volleyball.”

The Farragut youth volleyball camp is open to players from fourth to eighth grade. Davidson noted that she has players from Farragut, Maryville, Oak Ridge and some of the area’s private schools.

“I have kids from all over,” she said. “I have kids from Maryville, Oak Ridge and some other girls in Knoxville. I even have a player from Nashville.

“She’s the cousin [of a local player] and together, they come here every year and that’s great.”

Like Parker, Davidson said that her players better understand the game once they teach the basics and fundamentals.

“This makes everybody better,” Davidson said. “When players teach the game, they become better players.”

Many players in the high school program serve as mentors to the young campers and that makes things extremely special for rising senior setter Madi Howell.

“In the end, it’s all about having fun and giving back to the game,” Howell said. “It feels good to give back to the game.”

Senior Anne Abernathy said that the experience of the week has made her a better player.

“When you teach the game, It gives you a different perspective of it,” said Abernathy, who recently committed to play collegiately at Wingate University. “It gives us a better perspective, because we have to really pay attention when we’re going through the motions.”

The Admirals will soon begin the quest to make it back to Murfreesboro for a fourth consecutive season but for one late-spring week, players and coaches give back to the game and Davidson can get a glimpse into the future of her program.