The new leadership of the Northern Mariana Islands Volleyball Association under president Somia Quan is off to a good start with its weeklong clinic under the supervision of FIVB Level III certified coach and Oceania Sports Education master educator Mike Rabago attracting more than its expected number of attendees.
“We hoped to have at least 5-10 participants per age group so having a turnout of 91 kids was amazing—albeit a little overwhelming. This was a very good exercise for the coaches because the first two days were planning and then the end of the week was implementation,” said Quan.
The clinic was the second in a series of three NMIVA has conducted with the help of Rabago and was held from June 14 to 19 at the Agape Gymnasium along Middle Road in Gualo Rai.
“We didn’t set too many goals with this clinic aside from nailing down the content of the clinic and getting our coaches involved with the kids under Mike’s supervision,” said Quan.
While there were really no definitive goals that NMIVA set, Quan saw a lot of opportunities for growth and potential
“During implementation, it’s important to then make adjustments when needed, like when you have 91 participants. There were many lessons learned in this clinic from the coaching and hosting perspectives. This was an opportunity to learn from the experience and then do the next one better so that we get to a point where the operation is seamless and the environment is conducive to the participant getting as much time and repetition as possible in these clinics,” she said.
The NMIVA president they are looking at the big picture when it comes to rebuilding the CNMI national volleyball team and the series of clinics with Rabago is just the first step in its vision to invigorate the sport and raise local players’ level of play to the point where the Commonwealth could again hold its own in regional volleyball competitions.
“The process of building a regionally competitive national team does not happen overnight so it was very inspiring and motivating to see that the interest for volleyball in our community is still there and it just needs to be brought out and cultivated. Overall, we are very happy with the results and are thankful that coach Rabago is able to help us begin this journey,” she said.
The weeklong clinic had a tremendous effect on the youth that took part in it and you only need to read the comments of four participants. “It was a great and fun experience! I’d love to do it again, but with some scrimmages! Thank you coach Mike for your time and effort,” said 17-year-old Kepina Tababa.For 17-year-old Madelleen Narciso, the clinic gave her a chance to improve her volleyball game. “This was a great opportunity to learn more about the sport and to develop new skills. Thank you, coach Mike and everyone who helped out to make it happen, looking forward to the next one!”
This sentiment was shared by Andrei Bayking. “It was a wholesome experience! It was great seeing many kids from different ages participating in the program. I would definitely join again next time! Thanks again, coach Mike!” said the 18-year-old.
The clinic also served as a respite from the COVID-19 pandemic that has cooped up the island’s youth for several months. Just ask 17-year-old Maury Zon Tybaco, who said, “Volleyball has been my all-time favorite sport, so it was an amazing opportunity to train once again after the improvement of the COVID-19 situation. In this camp, not only was I able to take the proper steps of serving, receiving, and spiking but had the opportunity of training with talented passionate people whom I share similar interests of the sport,” she said.