Cayman is gearing up to bump, set and spike local participation in volleyball.
The Cayman Islands Volleyball Foundation has been working on introducing the game to several area schools over the last few months, and it will have a host of activities over the next few weeks.
The CIVF will host a ‘King + Queen of the Court’ tournament this Sunday at Public Beach, and it will stage a one-day co-ed tournament at John Gray High School on 10 Aug. And for Grand Cayman’s youth, CIVF has a twice-weekly open gym programme that will take place between 9 Aug. and 19 Sept.
Javid Ali, the technical director of CIVF, said Thursday that all the events are part of the same initiative to make volleyball more popular and to build the future national team with the players of tomorrow.
“For the first six months of this year, we’ve focused on youth development,” he said. “We had a visiting coach – Rick Bevis – down from Canada. He took a sabbatical, and his main goal was to develop a youth programme. He went to the schools and talked to a lot of the physical education teachers. He tried to get all the schools involved, because they’re not going to teach a sport they’re not comfortable with.”
Bevis has gone back to Canada, but the Federation Internationale de Volleyball – better known as FIVB – has helped with providing another coach for Cayman’s youth. Ali said that Pitter Rosa, a volleyball coach from Brazil, has been on island giving tips and pointers to everyone who hits the beach.
Ali said that CIVB hopes to form a high school league at some point, but for now the open gym sessions are designed to give children a better foundation in the game. The open gyms will take place at John Gray High School Tuesday and Thursday nights between 7‑9pm, and they are free of charge for ages 13 to 18.
Sunday’s tournament – the King + Queen tournament – is designed for a more experienced group of players. The Corona Beach League is currently on hiatus due to a renovation of Public Beach that has narrowed the volleyball courts available from six to one. Ali said the King + Queen tournament will allow for bragging rights for Grand Cayman’s top teams. CIVF is expecting 10 men’s teams, that will play from 9am to 2pm, and 12 women’s teams that will play from 2‑7pm.
“We want to make sure that the core people that come out actually do participate,” he said. “But people can come out, have a look at it, enjoy the day and see what it’s about. It’s more of a fun thing for us as well. Eventually we will use King and Queen of the Court as a ranking system.”
The co-ed tournament scheduled for 10 Aug. is also designed to just be a fun day of volleyball that will stoke people’s excitement for the game. That tournament will run from 2‑10pm, and it will cost $150 per team to register. But Ali said if it’s a success, there could be more just like it in the future.
“It’s the first time we’re doing a co-ed one-day tournament,” said Ali of the tournament. “It’s just to get people sparked up. We’re using this as a guinea pig to see how it works out and see if people enjoy it. And if they do, we can do more one-day co-ed tournaments during the course of the year.”
People seeking more information about CIVF’s open gym programme can contact [email protected]