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Pac-12 Volleyball All-Star team hosts youth clinic in Shanghai

SHANGHAI, China – The Pac-12 Conference and the volleyball all-star team partnered with Active Kidz Shanghai for a youth clinic hosted at the Yew Chung International School in Gubei.

Led by Coach Michael Sealy of UCLA, the Pac-12 student-athletes worked with more than 40 students from AKS and YCIS ranging in ages from five to 16 years old.  The young athletes learned the basics of volleyball from hitting and setting to passing and communicating with their teammates.

“It was super exciting to see the kids’ eagerness to learn and their faces light up as we gave them feedback,“ said outside hitter Destiny Julye of the University of Washington.

After putting the students through their paces, Coach Sealy and the team sat down for a question and answer session. They walked the kids through a day in the life of a student athlete, shared stories of when they first started playing volleyball and taught the participants several drills they can use on their own to improve their game.

One student asked the players how they react to negative game situations. California’s Jenelle Jordan emphasized the importance of focusing on role on the team and being mentally ready to play.

“One of the key points that the kids will take away is how important sports are to training your mind and not only your body. It includes the focus to come back from a loss, build resilience, and gain the mental capacity to do more,” said Diane Long, the general manager and co-founder of AKS. “I think that side of sports is not fully appreciated in China yet.”

Isabel Xu, the Chinese co-president of YCIS Shanghai was enthusiastic about the opportunity her students to learn from top college athletes. “It’s exciting to see the role that sports play in the Pac-12 athletes’ lives and to show our students that sports don’t stop at the high school level,” said Xu.  

Coach Sealy was also excited about the participants’ energy and excitement at today’s clinic. “Regardless of the level they’ve played at before, they seemed really interested in trying new things and we don’t always see that working with young athletes in America. Overall, it was a great experience.”

At the end of the clinic, Pac-12 athletes and students mingled to sign tour posters, t-shirts and volleyballs to commemorate the event.