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Neptune Volleyball Provides Opportunities For Kids In South Bay

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Posted: Friday, October 18, 2019 2:37 pm

Volleyball players of all levels were jumping and hitting the ball over the net and enjoying the beautiful morning at the beach. On this particular sunny and warm Saturday, four courts had been set up on the beach and players were grouped by ability with at least one coach overseeing them.

Since this past June, Neptune Volleyball has been offering Saturday lessons on the beach off of Dunes Park from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and a number of kids from elementary to high school age have been taking advantage of this new opportunity. Whether you are an indoor volleyball player and want to improve your skills or prefer beach volleyball - or even if you are new to the game, Neptune Volleyball can help.

Founder Jon Ogrodowski is originally from the East Coast and moved to San Diego 10 years ago. He first had the idea of holding the clinics in Imperial Beach because his fiancee is a Mar Vista graduate. “Neptune started five months ago. All of us coaches have played indoors 5 to 7 years. Indoor clubs are becoming pricey,” he explained.

Neptune Volleyball is under $1,000 for 12 months compared to other clubs who charge between $3,000 to $4,000 for seven months. “I want to give students at Mar Vista High School and other schools, who have a passion but not the financial resources, to train,” he said.

Ogrodowski explained that when a team plays indoors the cost of the gym can be up to $200 an hour while the beach is free and the only expense then is the coaches and the equipment. Many of the coaches at Neptune, teach volleyball at various high schools and clubs around San Diego including Ogrodowski who is a coach at Epic Volleyball in Poway.

Although the program is co-ed, it was mostly girls playing on this particular Saturday. Michael Gillespie from Chula Vista was on the beach watching his daughter play. He found out about Neptune through another parent. “She’s excited,” he said of his daughter Roxanne,15. “This helps her indoor game. This is more athletic, the sand sinks [under your feet] and the net is higher… you use different muscles,” he said.

His daughter has played in club teams for a couple of years. “The sand is hard to move around and it helps me get good at hitting. Everyone is so nice, it’s a great environment overall. I know a couple of the coaches already,” said Roxanne.

Ogrodowski said that the clinics Neptune offers are a good opportunity to try volleyball for kids who have never played before. He said usually within 2 to 4 weeks a new player can play volleyball.

Laini Brown was another parent waiting for her daughter to finish the clinic. She played beach volleyball growing up and had been looking for a program for her daughter Abby,15, to join. Abby is new to beach volleyball. “There hasn’t been a program [like this]. For this to be out there, well organized, broad reaching, it’s a real blessing. It’s an opportunity to be exposed to the sport, to help her learn new skills, be a faster and smarter player,” she said of her daughter.

Coach Lindsey Guinto played volleyball since she was 12 years old, making it 15 years of play. She is a coach at Sweetwater High School for boys and girls volleyball. “My goal is to push beach volleyball. It’s an upcoming sport at the college level. Some kids miss out on indoor volleyball scholarships but on the beach level there are more opportunities for scholarships,” she explained.

Although Guinto played other sports, once she tried volleyball she was hooked, then when she hurt her shoulder and couldn’t play for a while she started coaching. “It increased my passion. It’s awesome to watch players improve over time,” said Guinto.

Guinto is excited about the buzz volleyball is creating near Dunes Park. “It draws a crowd and you see a bunch of people sitting here…getting people to come and watch even for a couple of minutes…we thrive off the support,” she said.

Some of the players have been attending the clinics since June, others come and go. “They are the ones that have improved the most,” said Ogrodowski of those players who have continued. This summer when many teenagers were out of school Neptune trained as many as 80 on Saturdays.

As the word spreads about the program, Ogrodowski hopes to attract more Mar Vista students and pointed out that some schools do well in volleyball because they have more financial resources but his goal is to bring training to local kids who may not have the same financial resources as some of the elite schools.

Neptune Volleyball will be offering a free clinic on Saturday, Oct. 26 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. “Check it our before you sign up,” said Ogrodowski.

The upcoming winter season starts Nov. 2. Drop in sessions are $30, 12 sessions are $215. Three and six sessions are also available.

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