There was a BYOP party recently at Hurst L.D. Bell High School — as in Bring Your Own Parent.
The event was a volleyball clinic designed to introduce the game to youngsters, some of who might go on to become Lady Raiders.
“The idea evolved from an idea that one of my ninth-grade coaches (Lance Winborne) had,” Bell volleyball coach Jinni Walker said. “We were brainstorming for new strategies to use in our elementary and junior high volleyball camp at L. D. Bell, and he suggested having parents join us.”
The BYOP program is the brainchild of long-time college coaching great Ruth Nelson, who won over 500 matches at George Williams College, University of Houston, LSU and University of Iowa. Over the past 15 years she has specialized in training 5 to 10-year-olds.
“Having attended Coach Nelson’s presentations at The Art of Coaching Volleyball, I decided to email her to get her thoughts,” Walker said. “Our discussions led to the possibility of bringing the program to our area. It just so happened that we had an almost certified coach in our area, and with the help of some friends, HEB ISD colleagues, and a connection of Coach Nelson’s, we were able to get enough participants for our introduction.”
The program is exactly what it says — young athletes and their parents working together for the advancement of the game and the player.
It’s also something Walker would like to bring to Bell annually. Though the participation was limited with five families, she sees it as something that could benefit the future of Bell volleyball.
“My hope is that we are actually able to have a full, eight-family BYOP 12-week program in the late fall or early spring,” she said. “The way I see BYOP is that it’s not just a benefit to L.D. Bell, but to volleyball as a whole, and youth and parent development as a whole.
“Obviously, if we can get kiddos that will be going to Bell in BYOP, they will learn great volleyball fundamentals and development, which would be a benefit to our Bell program. I get a dozen or so inquiries a year about volleyball programs in our area. BYOP would be a nice addition to the club, camp, and YMCA options in our area.”
Walker said the girls interacted well with Nelson. She also stressed that the event was about more than volleyball.
Also, athletes not only participated with their own parent, but other parents as well.
“Coach Nelson is full of energy and very much a people person. She made the attendees feel comfortable,” Walker said. “She knows how to work with young kids and didn’t stay on one skill too long.
“That being said, the girls and their parents were getting specific fundamental reinforcement and were required be positive at all times. Each attendee was very gracious and really had a wonderful time. I’m pretty confident that each of the duos that attended the one day intro would want to participate in a 12-week program based on their smiles and thank yous.”
Among the successes from her program are Ebony Nwanebu, 2013 NCAA Freshman of the Year at Southern Cal, and 2014 Pac 12 Freshman of the Year Mary Kate Marshall of Oregon State. Others have gone on to success at schools such as Cornell, Columbia, Texas A&M and Cincinnati.