Jada Penn admits softball is her favorite sport, but it’s one of the reasons she decided to join the Atkins volleyball team. “A lot of my teammates from softball got me interested in it,” she said. “My dad (Ty Penn) always spoke of playing volleyball, so I decided to try it.”
Penn, who plays second and third base on the softball team, said there are mutual benefits from playing both sports. “Serving makes my arm better for softball season,” she said. “It helps strengthen my arm for batting and throwing. Softball gets me conditioned for playing volleyball because we start practices in the summer.”
The Camels senior has played three years on the varsity team. “I like the diversity on the team and the fact that we can talk as a team,” she said. “I like the different positions you can play.”
Penn plays mostly on the back row but has been working on the front row.
Serving the volleyball has been one of her biggest challenges. “Last year I was not as good at serving as I am now,” she said. “I have been practicing a lot on and off the court. My coaches have pushed me to do better and become a great server. I want it to be more than getting the ball over the net.
“My personal goal is to have at least five aces in every game,” she added. “I had three in one game against Walkertown.”
She’s also working hard on other areas of her game. “Digging up spikes and communicating on the court need some work,” she said. “It’s very challenging because some of my teammates are very advanced. They play AAU volleyball. They have helped me to become a better player.”
As a senior, Penn’s leadership on the team is invaluable. “If we get attitudes, I try to clear them up even when we may lose a match,” she said. “One of the big talks we have after losing is never have a day where we put our…