Off-Season Training Translates To On-Court Success

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To be successful in today's highly competitive prep athletic world, players in all sports must take advantage of almost every off-season training program offered.

At least, that's the opinion of Lady Longhorn volleyball coach Arnold Stonebrink and other prep coaches.

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Volleyball coach Arnold Stonebrink encourages his players during a timeout at a state tournament game last fall. Stonebrink will help host the upcoming Chris Campbell Camp, to be held July 23 to 27 in Wilson Dome.

Stonebrink's concern for the development of the players in his program has prompted him to take a two-pronged approach toward preparing for the regular season. He coaches Club Rim during the spring off-season and will also host The Chris Campbell Volleyball Camp this summer.

Club Rim allows team members the opportunity to improve their skills in actual competition and the camp affords the athletes a chance to improve their skills under the watchful eye of college coaches and players.

"I highly recommend the camp," Stonebrink said. "It is a great opportunity."

The camp, which will be held July 23 to 27 in Wilson Dome, is open to boys and girls, entering grades four through 12, next school year.

"The junior camp (for grades four through eight) will be held in the mornings and the high school camp in the afternoons," Stonebrink said. "We'll also have an evening camp for those girls who will be on varsity next year."

Chris Campbell will be on hand to oversee the sessions. He is entering his fourth season as head coach of the Northern Arizona University Lumberjack volleyball team.

Before taking over the Lumberjack reins, Campbell was the head coach at Mississippi University for Women.

Coach welcomes newcomers

Last summer, Campbell hosted a Payson camp, but it was open only to aspiring varsity players.

"This year, we wanted to open it to players of all ages," Stonebrink said.

Campbell will arrive in Payson with over 10 years of summer volleyball camp experience and a reputation of hosting some of the finest camps in Arizona.

"I firmly believe that whether you are a volleyball beginner or a college-bound athlete, summer camp will help improve your game," he said.

Before each camp, Campbell assembles a staff he hopes will help players at every level.

Last summer, Campbell brought University of Louisiana assistant coach Jon Newman-Gonchar to Payson.

"He was a phenomenal coach and really helped the girls," Stonebrink said.

Campbell's goal is to not only include Division I coaches on the staff, but also former D-1 players and former professionals.

"The combination of veteran coaches and teaching methods tailored to the individual needs of the group make for a unique camp experience," he said.

During the youth camp, coaches will stress improving individual skills, including serving, passing, digging, setting and defense.

During the varsity camp, players will work in a team setting with goals of improving their overall offense and defense.

To register for the camp, visit www.lumberjackvbcamps.com. The fee is $150 per player.

"Register now and reserve your spot," Stonebrink said.

Sneak peek at fall season

During the camp, Stonebrink will have the opportunity to find replacements for two stars, Tori Wilbanks and Brooke Cannon, who graduated with the PHS class of 2007.

Both Wilbanks and Cannon -- the 2006 East Region Player of the Year -- earned college scholarships and will be taking their skills to the next level. Cannon will be playing at Trevecca Nazarene University and Wilbanks is set to attend South Mountain College.

Stonebrink had his first opportunity to evaluate team talent while coaching Club Rim.

Although the Payson team was often outmatched, playing in an 18-years-and-under league with a roster full of freshmen and sophomores, Stonebrink was impressed with several up-and-coming players.

Among those who drew praise were Mollee Lee, Brittney McDaniel, Jenna Robertson, Hannah Armenta, Segan Cline, Marlow Galloway and Heather Bomar.

Robertson, a three-sport star at PHS, was especially effective at the net, chalking up 22 kills during a season-ending tournament.

Also, freshman setter Reghan Flake used the tournament as a chance to show she has the skills to possibly contribute on the varsity level.

"She did a great job of running the offense, for someone so young," Stonebrink said. "Her setting became more accurate as the day wore on."

Lady Longhorn practices and tryouts for freshman, junior varsity and varsity teams will tip off in early August.

The season tips off in earnest Aug. 23, with a scrimmage in Camp Verde.

The highlight of the regular season is the Payson Invitational Aug. 31 and 1 in Wilson Dome.

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