Pratt Impact develops metal, earns medals with 10 teams featuring area athletes
The 2020-2021 season for the Pratt Impact Club Volleyball team has been full of medals, all earned by players showing true metal as they put in the time for practices, tournaments and driving to competitions near and far, on top of regular school work and sports seasons. The club, made up of students from a variety of local schools, has a total of 10 teams, 12 coaches, and over 100 members. Overall, the ten teams collected 28 medals, all finishing first or second this year.
Impact director Kelley Maydew has been with the club since its creation in 2007. Maydew first began the club with Misty Kulas and they made the club in Pratt. Kulas now runs her own Impact team in Kansas City. Maydew said the Pratt club is one of hundreds that fall under the Heart of America (HOA) jurisdiction. The HOA Region that Pratt is in has a mission of promoting the growth of the sport of volleyball at all ages and skill levels for girls and boys. Maydew said the mission of her team is similar, but with some more specific goals in mind.
“Our mission is to provide a competitive, positive, and healthy environment for the players and teams within the community,” Maydew said. “We do prioritize faith, family, school, and then club. Our hope and objective is to connect with these kids and make a positive IMPACT on their lives as well as see some growth in their game.”
Maydew said that Pratt Impact looks for coachable players who are willing to take the time to focus on the fundamentals of the game and being quality players instead of only being worried about speedy progress. She said their number one goal is to develop the player and the advanced expectations they will need to succeed at the next level, whether that next level be middle school, high school, or even college.
Impact is for girls and boys who want to learn and play the sport of volleyball. The youngest team is 10 and under and goes periodically up to 17. Maydew said the number of teams offered will vary season to season depending on the players involved. For example, the 10 teams this year were comprised of: one 10-year-olds team, two 12-year-olds teams, two 13-year-olds teams, two 14-year-olds teams, two 16-year-olds teams, and one 17-year-olds team.
All players and coaches in Pratt Impact must be HOA certified and pay an annual fee to be a part of the organization. Coaches are run through backgrounds checks and a safesport exam prior to getting their certification. All players also pay a club fee, which goes into buying team uniforms, gym rentals, tournament fees, and paying coaches. Maydew is proud to say that the team tried to keep fees as low as possible, and is the lowest in the area.
The season is from November through March. Typically, the teams practice about one or two times a week, usually at Blythe Family Fitness. Their tournaments are mostly in Wichita, Hutchinson, or Pratt.
Maydew said she began a club team to coach her oldest daughter and give her a head start on the fundamentals, confidence, and wisdom when she was ready to play in school. Ever since then, Maydew has stuck to the team because she is passionate about the sport and the relationships she and the players make throughout the seasons. She recently coached her youngest daughter through high school in Impact.
“One of the greatest things about club volleyball are the relationships that are built,” Maydew said. “It brings players from different communities and schools together.”