The opportunity to represent this area at a provincial volleyball competition is right around the corner.
Open tryouts will be held next Tuesday (March 6) at Crossroads School in Devlin in preparation for the Ontario Summer Games competition that is slated to be held Aug. 2-5 in London, Ont.
The female tryouts will run from 4-6:30 p.m., followed by a parent/guardian question session for both female and male athletes from 6:30-6:45 p.m.
Male tryouts then will follow from 6:45-9:15 p.m.
The tryouts are open to athletes born from Sept. 1, 2003-Dec. 31, 2004 (14U).
Athletes who were born from Jan. 1, 2003-Aug. 31, 2003 (15U) are strongly encouraged to try out, as well.
If there are not enough 14U players, 15U ones will be selected to represent the region.
“The regional program is not about finding the best possible players,” noted head coach Amy Wilson-Hands.
“It is about providing a large number of players an opportunity to train at a higher level in a challenging environment and participate in a fun, multi-sport competition.
“This program is so focused on development that even the competition itself has fair play and forbids specialization,” she stressed.
“With that being said, overall attitude, coaching ability, teamwork, and leadership will be some of the qualities that the Region 1 coaches will be looking for,” Wilson-Hands noted.
Interested athletes must register online at www.ontariovolleyball.org/articles/ontario-summer-games-indoor-regional-tryouts before attending the tryouts, and there is a fee of $15.
New to this year’s Ontario Summer Games is that the Regional High Performance Camp will be used as the team’s training time.
In previous years, regions were to practice on their own, which was difficult for Region 1 given its location from the Manitoba border east to Marathon.
“This makes it tough for athletes to try out and then commit to practices, so we ended up just running weekend practices,” Wilson-Hands said.
“Other regions are having five-six practices a week where we were just getting in one-two practices a week.”
This year, the Ontario Volleyball Association is not allowing any region to practice beforehand but only during the Regional High Performance Camp, which will be held prior to the Ontario Summer Games.
Athletes will train with their region, university/college, and Team Ontario coaches, and each region will have the same training along with training time.
“The other amazing thing that the OVA is doing is making sure each region is represented,” said Wilson-Hands.
“If there is not enough boys in our region for a full team, the OVA will select players from other regions to fill the team so our male athletes have a chance to experience the games.”
Tryouts in surrounding areas also will happen next week, starting with Dryden next Wednesday (March 7) and then in Kenora and Thunder Bay on the Thursday.
“A male Region 1 team has never been represented, as we just never had enough boys interested in playing volleyball,” noted Wilson-Hands.
“This is changing and volleyball is starting to become more popular with males and females in our area.
“My hope is to be able to send a full Region 1 male team down to the Ontario Summer Games,” she remarked.
“Our goal while at the OSGs is to win one game and then take it from there,” Wilson-Hands added.
“Our last two Region 1 teams have managed to win a set but never a [match],” she conceded.
“If we end up winning more than a game, that will just be icing on the cake.”