Former Badger volleyball players teach the game in Eagle RiverSubmitted: 06/17/2019

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EAGLE RIVER - Pass, bump, catch: a drill that Kelli Bates and Haleigh Nelson have done together a million times.

It's something they're now passing on to the next generation.

"It's just nice to see kids that want to have a good time and are willing to try anything," Nelson said.

Bates and Nelson played together on the Wisconsin Badgers volleyball team for three seasons, then played on the same French team and are now coaching young volleyball players together.

"She knew that she wanted to play professionally and I didn't, and then all of a sudden it kind of hit me that I didn't want to stop playing," Bates said. "Then her and I ended up getting the same agent."

"Because we got to do that together, you know, we can kind of reminisce," Nelson said. "If she hadn't been with me, I would just kind of be coming back with these cool memories and everything but no one to share it with."

The friends moved on from sharing experiences to sharing knowledge with middle and high school students.
"I think it's all just building on essentials," 17-year-old Macy Marion said. "It's really fun to get out here and be able to build on your prior knowledge."

When Bates and Nelson look at the dozens of young athletes and friends that came out for the camp, they can't help but see themselves.

"I can definitely see that love for volleyball, that initial excitement of when you first start playing," Nelson said.

"The girls are so eager to learn," Bates said. "It takes me back a little bit."

Nelson says she plans to leave the pro circuit and focus on starting a career in marketing.

Both Nelson and Bates said they would like to coach volleyball in the future.

Story By: Andrew Goldstein

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