Indoor volleyball has become very popular in Westman, and now former Brandon University Bobcat Chloe Reimer is hoping to increase the popularity of beach volleyball in the area.
Reimer, who teamed up with Brittany Habing last summer to finish fourth in beach volleyball at the Canada Summer Games, has started the First Contact Volleyball camps and is bringing them to Brandon this year.
Reimer brings a lot of experience with her. She has won national medals in both indoor and beach volleyball, had an opportunity to play on the national beach team this summer — she turned it down because she didn’t want to move to Toronto — and is a trained beach coach.
During her time as a player, Reimer, who coached the 15-and-under Cats indoor club team this spring, found beach volleyball was very popular in Winnipeg, but not in the rest of province. She wants to change that and believes indoor players can improve their game a lot by trying beach.
"The amount of contacts you get with beach volleyball, you’re two people versus six people, so you’re getting three times as many contacts," she said. "The best and biggest benefit of beach volleyball, especially for indoor players, is that you develop all of your skills. You’re not just a middle hitter or a setter, you become the passer, the defender, the blocker and the hitter. Everyone has to set and serve and defend equally, so it’s a great way for players to develop all-around.
"I know from me being a smaller left-side hitter, beach volleyball allowed me to learn a lot more tactics and shots. So being a small player indoors transferred well on the beach because you can use a lot more options other than the big hit, which seems to be the indoor mentality. From my personal experience, it’s been beneficial for that."
The Brandon camp, which is being presented by the Cats Volleyball Club, will be held at Mulligan’s Driving Range and Practice Centre from June 23-27. Sessions for kids between 15 and 18 will run from 1-3 p.m., followed by the session for kids between 12 and 14 from 3:45-5:45 p.m. The camps include fitness conditions, a beach tanktop, a tournament on the last day, with prizes and information packages on beach events in Manitoba.
Early-bird registration cost is $90 until June 6. It increases to $100 after that. More details and registration forms can be found at firstcontactvolleyball.weebly.com.
Reimer, who is also trying to brings camps to Virden, Killarney and Dauphin, hopes the beach game catches on in Brandon, as she’d like to come back every year to help players improve and coach them in events.
"I think it’s something that has the potential to grow, especially if Brandon starts picking up and coming to tournaments," she said. "It would be great if they had more coaching out there and that sort of thing.
"Westman will always be my second home, so I would be happy to come back."
Meanwhile, the Bobcats’ beach volleyball academy for kids in grades 8-12 will run at Mulligan’s from May 28 to June 22. Cost is $165 and kids get eight sessions with Brendan White — the captain of the Bobcats men’s volleyball team — and a T-shirt.
Participants choose two sessions to partake in. Sessions run Wednesdays and Fridays from 6:30-8:30 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 1-3 p.m.
For more information or to register, contact Grant Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.