Practices for two indoor sports are set to kick off at the end of the month.
Indoor youth soccer and volleyball registration is now open. The seasons will consist of six Saturday morning games from Feb. 2 to March 9 and weekly practices beginning Jan. 22 for volleyball and Jan. 21 for soccer.
Jennifer Hart, Parks and Recreation recreation supervisor, said the sports see good attendance with many new faces and many children returning from year to year.
A group of kids plays a volleyball game in 2011 at the Coliseum as part of the youth leagues offered by Marshalltown Parks and Recreation. Registration for both volleyball and indoor soccer is now open.
"They give kids an opportunity to try something they might not have tried before," she said.
Volleyball is open to children in grades third through sixth, and the soccer program accommodates children in grades K-6. Both co-ed programs will teach fundamentals and give each child lots of playing time, Hart said.
Each child will receive a T-shirt with their parent's payment of the $25 fee required to play.
Organizers will split children up by grade every two grades. So, for volleyball, third and fourth graders will play together and fifth and sixth graders will play together. For soccer, kindergartners and first graders are paired together, second and third graders are paired together, etc.
New this year, the Marshalltown High School volleyball team and coaches will help kids learn the basics of the game. Hart said the MHS volleyball team has helped with clinics in the past to much success.
She said she hopes that this addition will help spur interest in the sport, which has been waning over the past few years.
Shannon Naughton, of Marshalltown, said her 11-year-old daughter Kya has played volleyball through Parks and Rec for the past two years. She said her daughter has enjoyed the program, mostly because of its flexibility and the organizers' willingness to adapt styles. It is what prompted her to enroll Kya for a third year.
"It has taught her some life lessons," Naughton said. "It has not only helped her physically with learning a new sport, but socially as growing as a person."
The Parks and Rec program has whetted her daughter's appetite for the sport, she said, and with Kya now at the grade limit for the volleyball program through Parks and Rec, she will go on to play through her school and through the Iowa Amateur Athletic Union.
Parks and Recreation is still looking for parents to act as coaches for the soccer program. That commitment would be one or two weekly practices and one game.
Christina Ennenga, of Gladbrook, said her son Braden, 9, has played soccer since kindergarten, and she and her husband coach for Parks and Rec. Her daughters have played basketball and volleyball through the city. She likes the programs because they are inexpensive and offer many opportunities for children to socialize.
In particular, she said, the presence of Marshalltown Community College players at Braden's soccer practices helps the kids like him see how good they can become if they stick with it. It helps spur their interest.
Hart said the sports are good for kids and contribute to their well-being, something Ennenga echoed.
"It keeps them active and healthy in the winter time when they might not always be able to go outside and play all the time," Hart said.
Those who register after Jan. 9 will be subject to a $5 late fee. Parents can register their child between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the Parks and Recreation office, 10 W. State St.
Online registration is available for soccer and forms for volleyball may be obtained at marshalltownparksandrec.com. For more information contact Marshalltown Parks and Recreation at 641-754-5715.