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Poplarville softball uses camp to educate players

Poplarville’s Lady Hornets softball program held its summer camp at Poplarville High School on June 16 because it’s not allowed to take part in travel camps due to Mississippi High School Activities Association guidelines.

The camp was designed to teach the players about the finer points of softball by learning from college coaches, so Pearl River Community College softball coaches Christie Meeks and Hannah Sparks visited the high school to help the Lady Hornets.

Poplarville Head Coach Janessa Deckwa said the camp started around 9 a.m. and what followed was three hours of instruction and drills designed to improve the players’ abilities.

The team split into offensive and defensive groups with each unit working on specific aspects of that side of the game.

Pitchers and catchers also got some work in during the camp that included a team building exercise as well.

For the exercise, the players held hands and were subsequently tangled together, which then forced them to use effective communication skills to untangle themselves without breaking the chain.

Deckwa said it was a shame the team wasn’t able to take part in a travel camp like years prior, but there were some benefits to staying home and having the coaches come to them.

“It was certainly easier not having to transport them to another place. We basically went through our same routine getting warmed up and then they came to us,” Deckwa said.

COVID-19 guidelines were still in place during the camp, which meant everything was being sanitized regularly and there wasn’t much sharing of equipment.

While necessary to ensure the athletes’ safety, Deckwa said the guidelines slow the pace of practice.

“It was just kind of hard to have time to fit everything in we wanted to do. Now we have a ton of things we’re trying to fit into a small schedule,” Deckwa said.

Even with the slower speed Deckwa said the camp was beneficial for her players.

Having other coaches provide some instruction gives athletes a new perspective to work with, while also allowing Deckwa to expose her athletes to possible recruiting opportunities with the college coaches on campus.

“I think having a different look on things is good. (Also), I can get coaches to see my older players that want exposure and an opportunity to play college ball. Any time I can offer that to them that’s good,” Deckwa said.

Following the camp the plan for the team is to continue practicing on Tuesdays and Thursdays until the week of July 4th where the players will get a break.

When the players return it’ll all be about scrimmaging and getting the players in game like situations.

“That’s the plan right now as long as we can feel confident to do live situations and get them back in game shape. It’ll mainly be for older players. Younger ones will see how the games go and kind of see how we do things,” Deckwa said.