Local volleyball is getting an unexpected push from King’s Sports Centre.
Earlier this month the sports facility along with sister group Cayman Sports Authority announced the introduction of high school volleyball for local boys and girls.
The not-for-profit program is being launched with the help of the Cayman Islands Volleyball Federation.
Games are set to get going on 4 April and run through to 6 June. Five simultaneous matches are slated to be played on Saturdays from 1pm to 6pm on the Public Beach.
The purpose of the program is to get the sport to the youth, allowing them to take root in beach volleyball while staying active.
King’s Athletic Director Ray Singh said the idea behind the tournament dates back months ago.
‘At the Cayman World Cup tournament, Kings announced its commitment to improving the quality of Cayman’s sports.
‘The volleyball programme is our method of offering the high school segment of our community a new way of looking at sports.
‘We’re targeting the entire high school market, ages 14-17 from all backgrounds. This is not a per-school program but rather a blend of all of Cayman’s teenagers.’
One of the unique aspects of the program will be the direct involvement of local youth. According to Singh there’s a plan in place to get high school kids to come in and ‘intern’ in the program, serving as coordinators.
All would be supervised by adult staff and report to Singh.
In fact Singh says there has already been interest in the internship aspect.
‘Spring is the best time to be outdoors and Cayman has some wonderful beaches. Cayman Sports Authority, the new vehicle launched by Kings to operate our island wide programs, is committed to developing this league.
‘We are bringing in high school interns participating in the Greenlight Internship programme to help run the league. The first intern to qualify for the scholarship is Khari King from John Gray H.S. Essentially the programme is for teens and run by teens.’
Orientation Day for the programme is 21 March. The Volleyball Federation is set to hold a seminar on the basic skills and players will have the opportunity to meet all the coaches at the same time.
In addition there will be an overview of the programme and a basic player skills assessment.
For CIVF President Noel Williams the upcoming league will greatly help to publicize the sport.
‘We welcome anyone that can help promote the sport and we’re happy Kings can get onboard to help promote the youth and beach volleyball.
‘In fact this programme is good timing for us at CIVF. We’re planning an international beach volleyball tournament later this month and both of those events will feature Cayman’s youth.
‘Beach volleyball is a big sport around the world and it’s important seeing it start with our youth. We want to develop their skills from an early age. We see one of our kids going to the Olympics one day. Hopefully from there others will come along wanting to represent Cayman as well.’
Williams went on to explain the federation’s role in getting the high school volleyball program going.
‘Basically we sanction what’s going on and help to organize it so that everything runs smoothly. Carl Brenton has been very instrumental in working with Kings to pull it all off.’
Registration for the programme is ongoing at King’s Sports Centre. Fees are set to vary according to sign-up date.
If players register by this Friday 21 March the fee is $25. If players register between 22 March and 4 April the fee is $50.
As Singh states there is a way to get around those registration fees.
‘All of the funds raised from registration fees and sponsorships are going back to the kids in the form of $500 cash prizes. However we are offering the kids and parents the chance to volunteer their time for some beach clean-up sessions as a trade for the tournament league fee.’
There will be four $500 prizes given away to players and teams in the programme for several category winners, including team sportsmanship and fan support.
Ultimately Singh feels high school volleyball can not only motivate Cayman’s youth but its people to stand together.
‘We are looking for the entire Cayman community to come together with this venture. We proved with the World Cup tournament that when this community pulls together we can do some great things.
‘Our challenge to all of the parents, school administrators, the media and anyone else involved in the life of our teenagers is to help us duplicate our World Cup success.
‘We are not looking for money. We are looking for your support to get teens involved and help make this program a success.’