Thompson moved to Georgia in 2000 after playing collegiate volleyball for Southern University in Baton Rogue, La. She proceeded to become an official for the Georgia High School Association in 2003 which provided her a revelation on the state of youth volleyball in the county, she said.
“I noticed the discrepancies in the skill level of players from this area compared to other counties,” said Thompson. “There was a need for a place the girls can train and improve.”
Thompson, who has 18 years of coaching experience, proceeded to develop Push 1 which currently has seven club teams and 62 players ages 11 to 18. It also hosts Camp Blaze, which are instructional sessions held throughout both Paulding and Douglas counties. The inaugural camp was a one-week session at Colonial Hills Christian School in Lithia Springs where Thompson has been the varsity head coach for six years.
This summer, Camp Blaze events were held at South Paulding, Hiram and Paulding County High schools.
“We’ve exposed the sport to girls who have never experienced organized volleyball,” said Thompson. “Parents are looking for opportunities for kids to develop their skills and even find out if they like the sport.”
Push 1, which is sanctioned by USA Volleyball and the Southern Region Volleyball Association, has an experienced coaching staff which includes current Hiram varsity head coach Kevin Thomas.
“Playing volleyball builds self esteem and socialize with other young women,” Thompson said. “We’re one of the least expensive clubs in Georgia because we want girls from all academic and financial backgrounds an opportunity to play.”
Push 1 requires players to provide academic progress reports from their schools to play for the club. The organization also assists players starting at the age of 15 with the process of qualifying for college scholarships, including tutoring.
Push 1 will begins its club season holding open tryouts in October before starting competition the next month.