As most of us are painfully aware, CPVID-19 and the year-long shutdown restrictions have put a damper on competitive sports. Understandably, this has been frustrating for aspiring athletes and their parents.
Fortunately, under the guidance of new Coronado Middle School (CMS) Athletic Director Kristen Guymon and the Islander Sports Foundation, kids in sixth through eighth grades have had the opportunity to burn off excess energy with the large number of sports camps that have been offered, but without the experience of competition.
Competition is usually the reward after the hard work and repetition of training, and with the rules still preventing it at the middle-school level, many coaches and players have been disappointed without the gratification of using their skills during an actual game against an opposing team.
New CMS girls’ basketball coach Sara Merwin, along with fellow coach Andre Murphy, has found a small silver lining in practicing without competing, however. “My goal is teaching the game and working on fundamentals”, explains Merwin. “With no competition, everyone is equal, and this is an awesome opportunity to lay the ground work for fundamentals”.
Merwin, a native of Kansas, is experienced in the worlds of both volleyball and basketball. At 6’2”, she grew up in an active basketball family, and played both sports while attending college at William Jewell, a small Division II school in Missouri. While coaching college level volleyball in South Carolina, she met her husband Chris, a career Naval officer.
With small kids and frequent Navy moves, family life became the priority, and the long-term investment in coaching was put on the back burner.
With her children now in fourth and fifth grades, and her husband recently retired, Merwin is now looking forward to coaching again, and finds that, “it’s a way to give back to her own kids as well as other local kids”.
She sees sports, especially now, as more than a way to burn off excess energy. “Basketball at this age is a social activity as much as a physical activity.” She notes that many of the players are new, with little or no experience, and the option to play without having to worry about the pressure of competition provides the opportunity for the girls to bond and “hopefully become obsessed with basketball so they’ll want to keep playing when they are in high school.”
The camp will continue through May, and practices two days per week on the CMS courts.
To learn about this and other sports camps offered through the Islander Sports Foundation, please visit www.islandersportsfoundation.com