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Players Past and Present Instruct Future Chief Stars

A typical school year features multiple championships for Massapequa High School’s sports teams, and that’s because the district’s athletes learn what it takes to be successful at an early age. One place they start is at the annual Summer Sports Skills camps, which feature instruction from coaches as well as current and former Massapequa athletes.

This year’s camps, hosted by the athletic department, began the first week of summer vacation and continue through the end of July. Sports include baseball, boys and girls basketball, cheerleading, field hockey, football, golf, gymnastics, boys and girls lacrosse, boys and girls soccer, softball, track and field, boys and girls volleyball and wrestling. Camps are held at the Massapequa High School and Berner Middle School athletic facilities.

Coach Elissa DiSalvo welcomed 87 girls entering grades 5-8 to the four-day girls volleyball camp at the high school. She and about 20 members of the varsity volleyball team helped campers work on the fundamentals such as serving and passing. Most importantly, Coach DiSalvo said, the girls learned how to love the game and how to be good teammates.

Emily K., who just graduated from Massapequa High School and will be playing volleyball at the college level, was one of the instructors. She attended the camp herself as a child and said it helped prepare her to play in high school.

“I love seeing that all of these girls are going to be the future of Massapequa volleyball,” she said. “This is the beginning for them.”

Christian M., who played on the junior varsity soccer team last year, helped out at the boys soccer camp on the high school’s turf field. About 40 children, entering grades 1-5, participated under the guise of Coach Matthew Burke and five student assistants.

“It’s a great experience working with the kids and it’s fun teaching them how to play soccer and seeing them make new friends,” Christian said.

The children played scrimmage games so they could practice the new skills they learned, such as dribbling, passing and shooting.

Baseball is the longest camp of the summer, running for five weeks. Students rotate through different stations where they work on hitting, bunting, baserunning, throwing and pitching. One of the favorite activities is a home run derby.

Each of the centers is led by a current or recent Massapequa baseball player. Paul D., a junior, said he wants to teach the future generation how to play the game the right way to keep up the program’s “tradition of excellence.”

“They look up to us,” Paul said, remembering how the varsity players were role models for him when he went to the camp as a child.

Tim D., a recent graduate after two years on the Chiefs varsity team, said he enjoys teaching children the game and showing them “that baseball can be fun.”