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Macleod volleyball players attend elite provincial camp

Jamie Brown and Andie Curran of Fort Macleod took part in a Team Alberta volleyball camp.

Jamie Brown and Andie Curran of Fort Macleod took part in a Team Alberta volleyball camp.

Two Fort Macleod volleyball players are excited about the coming high school and club seasons, following a summer experience with the best female players in Alberta.
Andie Curran, 15, and Jamie Brown, 16, were among a select group of players selected for a U16 Team Alberta camp at Edmonton.
“Making it to that camp for us was just crazy,” Jamie said. “We didn’t think we would make it that far.”
Jamie and Andie started their quest by attending a one-night identification camp last winter in Calgary, along with about 150 other players from the south.
Following the identification camp, Team Alberta officials watched the U16 players with their club teams at tournaments.
Sixty players then received invitations to another camp at Sylvan Lake in March, where they spent a day doing drills.
That led to invitations to 60 players — including Jamie and Andie — to attend the Team Alberta training camp at Edmonton in July.
“I noticed that they’re really looking for height,” said Andie, who is five foot five and 125 pounds. “You can teach people skills but you can’t teach them height.”
The Team Alberta camp involved 10 days of intense training and drills led by university team coaches and Canadian team members.
When they weren’t on the court, the players analyzed video and received lessons on sports nutrition.
“The coaches knew what they wanted from us,” said Jamie, who is five foot 10 1/2 and 130 pounds. “They really had this mind set that we had to get there and get things done. It was really serious all the way through.”
At the end of the camp the players were split into teams for a tournament, with Team Alberta coaches watching from high above to make their selections for the provincial U16 team.
Andie and Jamie noticed a jump in the skill level and competitiveness among the elite players from high school and even club volleyball.
“It was the best of the best girls,” Jamie said.
Andie agreed. “It’s really intense. There was no goofing around, which I liked.”
Andie and Jamie found the game was faster and the players stronger than they are accustomed to in high school and club.
“I think it’s a real eye-opener for our future with volleyball,” Andie said. “It’s an eye-opener to see what the competition is.”
Following the tournament the coaches selected players for two teams to compete at a tournament at Richmond, B.C.
Coaches met with the players individually for a two-minute session that included feedback on their strong and weak points.
Jamie was chosen for one of the two Alberta teams, but Andie was not.
“It was tough,” Andie said. “It makes me want it that much more. It makes me want to work harder and focus on that position (libero).”
Jamie found the experience nerve-wracking.
“It was amazing,” Jamie said of being selected. “I was one of the last people to be told. I was sitting downstairs and I would see girls coming down crying who I thought were amazing players and I was, ‘Okay, I’m not going to make it now’.”
Jamie’s team practiced for three days in Edmonton prior to leaving for a 15-hour bus ride to the tournament at Richmond.
On the first day in B.C. Jamie’s team got to practice with Team Canada coaches, who were doing some scouting.
Jamie’s team placed fifth in the tournament and the other Alberta team placed second.
Jamie said the experience helped her grow as a player.
“I’ve always had kind of an iffy attitude,” Jamie said with a laugh. “Just knowing that I’m not the best but I still want to be, I want to work that much harder to be invited to Team Canada.”
Andie and Jamie are excited about the coming high school season and the chance to share what they learned through the Team Alberta experience with their F.P. Walshe Flyers teammates.
“I feel like intensity really makes the games better,” Andie said. “If you’re intense it makes other people intense, so we’ll try to be positive and make them love the game as much as we do”
Added Jamie: “We try to make practices fun. We want to make sure they’re having as much fun as we do . . . and try to be as positive as we can.”
They have high hopes for the Flyers, anticipating a strong showing at zones and a chance to play at provincials.
Next summer Andie and Jamie will attend an indentification camp in Saskatchewan where U.S. college and university coaches scout potential recruits.

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