For the past 18 years, I have been coaching girls' 7th grade volleyball. In our school district, the first competitive experience for most of these girls is volleyball. They are able to do this even with an economic disadvantage since our school is comprised of mostly low-income households. They are special every year because they go from knowing nothing about volleyball to bump, set, and spike on offense and some great blocking on defense. The number of hours they commit to learning the game is awesome because we don't have off days. They understand that they are a family and buy into it every year.
Our girls need proper equipment to be successful.
Pele states that, "Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice..." During this 7th grade year, these girls build character because wins are few. They buy into the sacrifice that learning the fundamentals now, leads to great success later. There are many tears during this process, but at the end of it all they have learned far more than what it takes to be a volleyball player; they have learned how to believe in themselves.
The Mizuno LR6 medium knee pads in volleyball are a must, especially in the middle school years because they protect the players' knees when digging the ball, diving, and sliding to receive the ball. This gives the girls a sense of confidence knowing they are less likely to be injured, which ultimately improves their fundamental skills.
My students come mainly from low-income households so I could not ask them to purchase their own knee pads.
Equipment like this only lasts for so long and needs to be replaced. The priority in our school district is given to Jerseys that are replaced every 6-8 years. Our volleyball program takes outstanding care of the equipment and uniforms it receives because we don't know when there will be finances available to replace it. Knee pads take a lot of abuse and will not last more than a couple seasons. These knee pads will be rotated with the old knee pads that are worth saving to maximize their lifespan.
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