Elm Creek School establishing volleyball academy

Emily Distefano


Elm Creek School’s already-impressive volleyball program will get a boost next year with a special volleyball academy programming. (SUPPLIED PHOTO)

Elm Creek School’s already-impressive volleyball program will get a boost next year with a special volleyball academy programming. (SUPPLIED PHOTO)

Volleyball enthusiasts will be happy to hear that Elm Creek School is creating a whole new Volleyball Academy program for interested student athletes to attend in the fall. Elm Creek School phys. ed. teacher Derek Tyler said starting the Volleyball Academy is a response to the game’s immense popularity not only in Elm Creek, but across the region.

Tyler estimates that around three quarters of the Elm Creek School’s junior high and high school population play volleyball, and the school has had a lot of success at the provincial level.

“We realized that volleyball is incredibly popular in Prairie Rose School Division, as well as in the Pembina Valley, and we noticed that kids are looking for more opportunities to play and to train at a high level,” he said. “If they’re not able to make club teams or travel to club teams in Portage or Winkler or Winnipeg, there’s not really anywhere they can go for extra training and high level experience.”

The Volleyball Academy will let students train at that high level during the day, and gain their physical education credits at the same time.

The school plans to offer one hour of volleyball instruction every school day, or six hours per six-day cycle.

“It’s a regular slotted class during the day, so it fits in perfectly,” said Tyler.

The curriculum is the same as the regular phys. ed curriculum, but the outcomes will be met through volleyball-centric lessons.

The advanced course is geared toward students who wish to achieve and experience an extensive course of study in volleyball.

Tyler said the high level of training should help every student achieve their full potential.

“I hope they leave with knowledge and the tools to learn what it takes to achieve a high level in volleyball, and sport in general,” he said. “I’m hoping that students can go on and play [in] college or university, or go on and coach in the future.”

Students will also attain coaching and referee certifications.

The Volleyball Academy courses include advanced technical and tactical instruction; personal fitness management as it relates to volleyball; related theory in areas of nutrition, sport psychology, prevention and care of injuries, coaching certification, and officiating; as well as the core curriculum of the general physical education course.

Tyler has plenty of experience in the sport, having played on club teams and provincial teams since he was a teen.

He has 13 years of experience at high school and club levels, was named the 2014 and 2016 Manitoba High Schools Athletic Association “A” Boys Volleyball “Coach of the Year” and has made numerous MHSAA provincial volleyball and basketball appearances with Elm Creek School.

Tyler’s own playing experience includes time with the University of Manitoba Bisons men’s volleyball team (2004-2009), where he was team captain for the last two years and MVP in 2009. He is also a two-time USports (CIS) national bronze medalist with the University of Manitoba. Also with the University of Manitoba, he won the 2007 Club U20 national champion. In 2005, he was a gold medalist with Team Manitoba at the Canada Summer Games.

Tyler said volleyball has always been a passion of his, and he enjoys using it in his teaching career.

“I’ve just been drawn to it since the beginning, and now I put all my effort into coaching,” he said, noting that the sport is great for teaching students about life skills like time management and achieving success through teamwork.

The program is open to students in grades 9 through 12.

The exact number of spots available hasn’t been determined yet, but enrollment is limited.

Spots will be held for current Elm Creek School students, as well as students who hope to transfer for this program.

While it may be possible to sign up later, the school is asking people to apply by May 15 because of the schools of choice deadline.

You can contact Elm Creek School at 204-436-2354 or email