CCA Freshman Competes With Intensity and Integrity

Nia Hendricks
In celebration of the young athlete's accomplishments and sportsmanship, we asked outside hitter, Taylor Bates, to share her experience playing for the Florida and USAV High Performance teams, as well as her plans for the future.

Competing intensely with integrity is the key to success for Calvary Christian Academy Athletics. Freshman athlete, Taylor Bates exemplified this attitude throughout the 2018–19 Indoor Volleyball season. In the summer of 2018, Bates was one of the few volleyball players out of hundreds chosen to play for the Florida High Performance and USAV National Training Program. These high-level opportunities have only sharpened her focus as a team player. Her humility and dedication to the sport shined forth in an interview with the Sun Sentinel where she shared that “she is hoping that all the national experience and competitive tournament play will continue to benefit her [CCA] Eagles squad.”

Bates began playing volleyball at an early age, playing for club teams for seven years and at Calvary Christian Academy for four. The outside hitter has her mind set to play volleyball in college and she’s aware of the hard work it will take to get there. 
CCA: What does a typical week look like in-season?
Taylor Bates (TB): During club season (November through early July), two practices during the week with two hours of volleyball and one hour of conditioning, and one weekend practice that is two hours long. So about eight hours per week for my club team. For CCA (late July through late October) five days per week for two hours each practice. I also train on my own (strength and conditioning) for another three hours per week.
CCA: Tell us what it was like to play for the Florida High Performance and USAV High Performance teams—what did you enjoy, what did you learn, and how did the experience you gained translate over to this year’s volleyball season?
TB: I was very honored to have received this opportunity, especially being so young compared to the other girls on my team who were going into their Sophomore and Junior year. There were over 600 girls who tried out for the Florida team and 12 made the team. A few thousand girls tried out for USA Team and about 100 were invited to train in Colorado Springs. I had an absolutely amazing time and I was able to learn so much by competing at a high level and made some lasting friendships with girls all across the country... We had great coaches who were very knowledgeable and they gave me great tips that I was able to take into high school and club season.
"Taylor has been working [really hard] and doing it the right way."
CCA: How do you balance academics, family, and social life?
TB: During the school year it requires a lot of sacrifice and I actually scheduled a study hall so I had time each day to get a head start on my school work. Thankfully during club season, practice does not begin until 5:30 PM, so I am able to come home and get as much homework done as possible and then go to practice and finish up anything else after. When club season is in full swing, it is hard to be able to hang out with my school friends because our team travels all over the country. Some of my best friends are on my travel team, so I am able to still spend a ton of time with them—which is the best part of playing on a team sport.
CCA: Have you faced any challenges in the years you’ve been playing volleyball? How did you overcome them and how did your faith play a part in that?
TB: During a two-year stretch I actually broke three bones, which caused me to have to sit out a bit during volleyball season. It was very frustrating because I wanted to be out there with my team but I couldn't because I was in a cast and unable to play. With all the jumping that takes place in volleyball, I often experience knee and foot pain, but I try to ice whenever possible. I am also pretty fortunate that my dad works in orthopedics, which allows me to get X rays, MRI, and therapy/braces pretty quickly when I need [them]. I looked to the Lord for strength rather than get down and feel sorry for myself. It also gave me a chance to lift up and support my teammates and focus on others, rather than just focusing on myself.
"[Taking a break due to injury] gave me a chance to lift up and support my teammates and focus on others, rather than just focusing on myself."
CCA: What are your collegiate and career goals? Do you hope to play in college and/or professionally?
TB: Yes, my goal is to play Division I Volleyball in college. The success of my club team has given me a lot of exposure to many college coaches, and making the High Performance teams has helped in building my resume. Over the next few years, I will be attending many college camps in the hopes of being able to make the best decision. As of now, I think I would like to pursue a degree in Kinesiology and remain in sports to some degree for my career. Volleyball is not like other sports (like baseball, football, basketball); there is no professional league in the US. However, if there was an opportunity to play professionally in another country, I would consider it.

"Taylor has been working [really hard] and doing it the right way," said CCA Girls Head Volleyball Coach, Hugo Jimenez. "She has a lot of strengths that I believe are priming her to succeed but the one that stands out the most is her approach to the game...My time with Taylor tells me that if she stays healthy and humble, she’s going to be able to compete at the highest level by the time she is done competing at [CCA] and with Boomers." We’re proud of players like Taylor who, at such a young age, display the CCA Athletics Department's core values—discipline and humility.
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