High school Fort St. John volleyball players take advantage of elite coaching

Michael Amoroso, one of the instructors at the camp, played for five seasons with QueensUniversity, and also has spent time with the junior national team, as well as playing professionally in Sweden.

He says that those in small towns don’t often get the chance to learn from players who have competed at high levels.


“Kids in the smaller communities don’t really get a lot of opportunities to have access to high level coaching, and between the four of us, we’ve played all over Europe and the world,” he explains, adding that an Olympic level player is coaching as well. “Joel [Miller] was a participant in the last Olympic Games in London, and we’re just trying to give them as much access as we can. FortSt. John is a hub for volleyball.”

Amoroso says that it’s important for players, regardless of skill level, to focus on the fundamentals when working on their game.

“Volleyball is one of those sports from the lowest levels, to the highest levels, the basics and the fundamentals are what produce a clean and fun game to watch,” he says. “For the low level players, we try to start them off with basic movement, and get them acquainted with moving on the court and feeling comfortable playing with the ball. For the older players, we try to focus on strategy, and try to turn them into coaches themselves. We want to give them tools to improve all year long.

Despite the camp being a week long, the players have improved significantly when compared to start when it comes to their skills on the court.

“Absolute leaps and bound. The biggest thing at this age is confidence. If you’re constantly doing reps on a skill at this age, you can pick things up really quickly,” Amoroso adds. “As soon as your confidence grows, usually people develop skills in just five days of work.”

Also providing instruction at the camp was Miller, a British international who has taken part in four years of professional volleyball, and has over 100 caps for the British national team, along with playing in the Olympics. 

Stella Odion has played for seven professional seasons in Croatia, Portugal, Finland and Switzerland, along with four years at BaylorUniversity in the NCAA, and is also helping out.

Camp director Ellen Orchard played four years for CaliforniaStateUniversity, along with three years in Switzerland.