Camp a learning experience for Wolves' coach, too

All of the South Kitsap summer sports camps are geared toward teaching kids the fundamentals of their respective sports.

But in this year’s SK volleyball camp, the person having the most to learn may have been new head coach Jessica Scarr.

Scarr was named the Wolves’ coach just a few weeks before the volleyball camp opened and used it as an opportunity to teach herself the fundamentals of coaching while getting a look at the future of her program.

“I get to see the younger kids that are coming up and kind of see what’s out there in Port Orchard,” Scarr said. “And you can learn from just about anything that you do.”

Scarr spent the last year as a teacher at South and played college ball at Eastern Oregon University. She spent time coaching at the middle school level but this is her first term as a head coach and she had lots to learn herself.

“The step-by-step explaining, especially for the younger kids, on how to do the fundamentals,” Scarr said. “I would forget little tidbits. I’ve learned the step-by-step process.”

Scarr replaced Cathy Ganges, who resigned after three years as the Wolves coach, and the camp was one of the first orders of business.

But Scarr is not alone in the learning process. Assistant coach Marti Mahar, who was on Gangnes’ staff the last three years, has been and will continue to play an important role for the entire team.

“I think that Cathy and I were organized well enough from last year that as an assistant coach, I basically do all the little stuff, so that stuff was already taken care of,” Mahar said. “And Jessica was more in charge of planning what the day was going to be, what skills we were going to work on and my role is to support her in whatever that is.

“It didn’t change much for me,” Mahar said. “And it went very smooth. It was an excellent camp. I think the girls had a lot of fun.”

Scarr said the entire process went as planned.

“I think it probably went better than I thought it could,” Scarr said. “It went really well.

“I wasn’t so much nervous. I think I was more excited than nervous,” Scarr said. “I wanted to see how it would all play out.”

And while both coaches gave high marks to the campers, Scarr passed her first test in the eyes of her peers.

“I thought Jessica did a really great job,” Mahar said. “The very first stage of having to step up and introduce herself and take over the role of head coach and making it known that she was the person in charge. The skills and the direction were coming from her. She just slid right into that role very easily.”

Having everything work out smoothly benefits all involved as well.

“It’s good for me as an assistant coach to not have any bumps in the road,” Mahar said. “And with Jessica, there weren’t any.”

The camp also gave Scarr a good look at what see will be working with when practice begins in August.

Of the 35 campers present, up to 11 each day were former varsity or junior varsity players at South, which should help come the start of the season.

In all, Scarr said the camp accomplished just what she had hoped it would.

“For the high school kids, it was for them to get to know me,” Scarr said. “Kind of how my style is and show them a little bit of my personality. For some of them, I have in class so they already know me but for others I was just learning their names.”

Now that the camp is over, Scarr will try to get up to speed over the rest of the summer.

“I’ll be watching video and honing my skills as a coach,” Scarr said. “I’ll be planning out practices and game strategies for next season.”

The group will get together later this summer as Eastern Oregon will bring a camp to town.

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