Former Olympian to coach volleyball camp

Carla Allen
Published on August 29, 2012

Janis Kelly, a former Olympian and long-time member of Canada’s national volleyball team, holds a souvenir ball from one of the world championships she played in. Kelly is conducting a six-session volleyball camp at the YMCA starting Aug. 29.

Carla Allen photo

Volleyball enthusiasts have the rare opportunity to improve their skills under the supervision of a former Olympian who played for the Canadian national women’s volleyball team for 10 years.

Janis Kelly, a constable with the Yarmouth Town RCMP detachment, was a formidable player in competition.

She was starting power hitter for Canada at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and voted MVP three times at the Japan World Cup. She holds the record for most kills (50 spikes that the other team cannot bump) in one match.

Participating in numerous international competitions, she was also the recipient of several awards at the international level. Her powerful attack and spike serve made her a star player against teams in Italy, France, Puerto Rico, Switzerland and the Dominican Republic until 2006. She joined the RCMP shortly afterwards.

This year the Winnipeg-born star was inducted into the Volleyball Manitoba Hall of Fame.

Kelly says she misses playing volleyball, but she has been assisting with coaching at Université Sainte-Anne.

 “With the national team we used to do clinics for high schools and places like that,” she said.

“I’ve been wanting to do this for years and now I’ve finally found the time.”

The co-ed volleyball camp sessions will be held at the Yarmouth YMCA on Aug. 29 and 30, and Sept. 4, 7, 9 and 12.

Although the primary focus is for ages 9-13, 14-16, 17 and older, there is no age limit and adults are welcome to participate as well.


 The cost is $15/session and includes a camp t-shirt.

Participants will be taught a solid foundation of fundamental skills through fun and active drills, building up to team play. Sessions are divided into beginner and advanced skill levels.

Experienced athletes can fine-tune their skills while competing in drills and games against players of a similar ability. Spiking, setting/serve receive (passing), defence, serve/serve receive, blocking and spiking will be taught.

Kelly, who is volunteering her time to teach the camp, says she wanted to open up volleyball to “people who don’t know how to play, to people who didn’t make the high school team but want to get ready for a high school team.”

“The key is we want to make it affordable to people who can’t afford to go to the big camps that cost $100 a session. We want to give them a good base on all the skills. They can go to one, or all the sessions,” she said.

Denise Brown, centre manager at the Yarmouth YMCA, says the facility would love to build on the program if it is successful.

“Maybe we could have a (permanent) volleyball program at the Y,” she said.

“We are trying to grow our youth programming. “

Kelly continues to marvel at the many ways volleyball and sports have enriched her life and wants to help youth pursue similar opportunities.

“You find a passion for the sport and I swear it takes you so many places.

“I didn’t know it was going to pay for my university but it paid that. I’ve travelled the world with a national team. Once a month we were in another country. There are lots of advantages.”

For more information on the volleyball camp, drop in to the Yarmouth YMCA or call 902-742-7181.