It’s an oft-repeated maxim in the classroom: Teaching others is the best way to learn. This summer, that age-old technique was taken out of the classroom and onto Penn’s volleyball courts.
This summer, Penn added two new day camp programs to its usual overnight volleyball camp offering. The three camps —the overnight camp for kids in middle and high school, the Penn Volleyball Day Clinic series targeted at students in third through 12th grade and Volleykids!, a program for K-2 students — were run by head coach Kerry Carr, staff and members of the Penn volleyball team.
Among those coaching at the camps were three new additions to Penn’s volleyball program – freshmen Rachel Baader, Arielle Winfield and Lexi Slotkoff – each of whom described the opportunity to coach as a rewarding and educational experience.
However, the experience was certainly not without its challenges. After growing accustomed to being on the court and in action, coaching presented an unfamiliar situation.
“[Coaching] was definitely … very stressful, and a lot of the time we were just trying to run around and pick up where others need help,” Slotkoff said of the experience.
Baader and Winfield both echoed that sentiment. “[We] had to coach the camp not really knowing what the camp was like,” Baader said.
Despite being thrown into an unfamiliar situation, they all said that teaching at the camps was an extremely effective way to develop their own skills and experience with the program.
“Obviously, we weren’t really accustomed to the way that they do things here quite yet, but I think it was really beneficial because we were thrown into that and we had to learn the way they do things here,” Slotkoff said.
“It was definitely good teaching people — that always helps your own skills.”
Winfield and Baader also described teaching at the camps as a learning experience that helped them develop not only their familiarity with the Penn program, but also their own volleyball skills. The freshmen taught skills ranging from serving to defensive techniques in the positions of libero, outside hitter, middle blocker and setter. In doing so, they learned right alongside with the students at the camps.
“Being a coach is really hard work,” Winfield said, “but it was fun and it really did help me focus on what I need to work on as well.”
The girls also benefited from the help of others — including coaches and their own teammates — around them. “The coaches were really good at helping us, telling us what to do,” Winfield said.
“All the girls were really helpful,” Baader added, “And what I really tried to bring was energy.”
In under a week, the three freshmen will have the opportunity to take their summer experiences — and, of course, their energy — onto the field.
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