Regional volleyball figure Juan Cartagena feels Cayman is on the right track in the sport.
Cartagena was in Cayman last week for a Cayman Islands Volleyball Federation youth volleyball clinic. Sponsored by Domino’s Pizza, the sessions ran over four days at the University College of the Cayman Islands Sir Vassell Johnson Hall and Public Beach.
Cartagena, who hails from Puerto Rico and is a North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation instructor, states the talent here is encouraging.
“I have had the opportunity to support and offer recommendations to those players at the grass roots level who will be taking part in future competitions across the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association zone,” Cartagena said. “It is very important for the expansion of volleyball and beach volleyball to include our sport in the programmes of the schools. It has been a great experience and the Cayman Islands volleyball authorities have a lot of enthusiasm which guarantees a sustainable development plan.”
Cartagena was joined by national junior coach Andrea Williams and assistant coach Davison Ruwende. Local volleyball president Noel Williams and vice president Kennedy McGowan were also present to provide technical and material assistance. Other community members came out to assist in Duncan Hamann, Gilberto Crowe and John Frederick.
Nearly 20 youngsters aged 10-18 were in attendance. All received free T-shirts and lunch during the clinic. The free training sessions were about three hours each day and included warm-up exercise drills, ball-handling techniques, team fusion flow, court placement and positioning.
The federation feels the national youth programme is targeting next generation national players to represent Cayman in high visibility regional and international competition. The federation also feels Cayman is growing into the leading beach volleyball tournament destination worldwide.
A number of events are coming up for junior players. In March Wesleyan Christian Academy hosts a exhibition match between their all-girls team and the junior national team. This April there will be another youth clinic over the Easter school break featuring a visiting team from Jamaica in Wolmer’s All-Girls school. This summer, from 27 August to 1 September, there will be a youth volleyball camp in Madawaska, Canada.