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Picayune volleyball ready to get back on the court

Because Picayune volleyball team has seen its offseason severely impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team’s Head Coach Courtney Dickens is trying to come up with solutions.

Dickens is also a coach for the Lady Maroon Tide softball team, but when that season ends she transitions to volleyball.

Dickens said she’d usually have tryouts for volleyball right after softball ends, but that isn’t possible right now with sporting activities cancelled and schools closed.

Currently, June 1 is the date the MHSAA said athletic activities will resume, but that date still doesn’t bring a lot of closure for Dickens.

She will still have to wait for the completion of tryouts before even attempting to set up a practice schedule.

“If we had volleyball as a class period I would’ve had tryouts in November. A lot of schools already have their team and are just waiting to practice, where as I’m having to wait on tryouts, then practice,” Dickens said.

In a normal offseason athletes would’ve already been able to get their physicals and paper work done.

Because of the pandemic Dickens said she’s going to have to make sure she gives her athletes enough time to get everything done before starting practice.

Usually Dickens would give athletes a month to get all their ducks in a row, but in the current situation she won’t have that luxury. “I have to give them time to get their physicals, but some people are going to be leery about going into a doctor’s office. This year with all this I’ll probably give them a week’s notice and go from there,” Dickens said.

The volleyball program is heading into its third year of existence and Dickens is still trying to increase the number of players and attention the teams receive.

Usually Dickens would have meetings at the high school and junior high campuses to drum up interest from potential athletes to join the team.

However, it’s hard to do that when everyone is out of school.

“It’s hard to reach out to kids. You can put stuff on social media, but with us not being in school it’s going to be hard for me to get the word out about when tryouts are,” Dickens said.

The current tentative plan is to start having practices in early June.

Dickens has had a couple of years to instill the basic principles of volleyball, so she’s hoping when things start back up again she can immediately move into the more advanced aspects of the sport.

There were plans to have some scrimmages against other local teams in the area, but even those arrangements are uncertain.

“I was looking forward to this, we had gotten some scrimmages together with Poplarville, Pass Christian and other local teams. We had planned that, but I don’t know how that’s going to work out,” Dickens said.

The Poplarville volleyball program was unavailable for comment prior to press time. Pearl River Central High School currently does not have a volleyball program.