Pine River hosts local volleyball instructor at week-long camp

LEROY —  Theresa Beeckman has been having fun conducting volleyball clinics.

She was an assistant coach for six years at Ferris State University, 2005-10, and then at Central Michigan 2011-15 as an assistant.

She’s now with her own Tree Roots Culture Consulting Culture and Camps, based out of Big Rapids.

“During the course of this year, I will have upwards of 20 (camps),” she said. “I have a 10-team camp in South Dakota. Most are in Michigan.”

Most of them follow the same techniques and theories she used at camp last month in Pine River.

“I put a heavy emphasis on the team culture aspect,” she said. “It’s teamwork and values. We put a heavy dose of culture stuff into this. We spent a day defining on what the values are of Pine River volleyball.”

Beeckman also worked with 15 players at the Pine River JV camps and 12 for the varsity gatherings. The varsity camp went for six hours each day.

“It’s really tailored for whatever the high school needs,” she said. “With (Pine River), we worked a lot on passing stuff and a lot of off the ball movement and offensive efficiency. They just execute. We won’t need to be complicated if we can execute.”

Beeckman worked camps at some other area schools in the past.

“Fun is one of their values but it’s something we’re losing,” she said. “Studies show when kids stop having fun at sports, they stop playing, they stop progressing. We want them to work their tails off. But they have to love what they’re doing. A lot of it is that if they feel they’re getting better, they’re having fun.

“Right now, they’re doing a distraction drill. So they have to pass the ball around as they’re getting good fundamentals. When they’re at a volleyball match, is there distractions? Yeah. You have your mom and dad in the stands. You have the boy you like. So there’s automatically distractions.”

Pine River coach Jana Dennis said it was the first time she’s had Beeckman at a camp.

“I think it’s been very productive,” Dennis said. “Usually for our team camps, we go away somewhere. This is the main thing we’re doing along with open gyms”

The first day of practice is Aug. 10. The season opens Aug. 20 at Traverse City.