Deb Barnes, a 1987 Moffat County High School graduate, returned Thursday to her alma mater to pass on knowledge she learned at the school 24 years before.
However, she wasn’t at MCHS to teach in the classroom.
Barnes, a former Bulldogs volleyball player, was there to impress on 15 current MCHS volleyball players the joy she has taken away from the game during a two-day camp, which began Thursday and concludes today.
“Volleyball is so fast-paced and there are so many ways you can attack the ball and ways you can’t,” she said. “In basketball, there are only two baskets you can score on, but in volleyball there is the whole court. You have six people playing six positions trying to make things happen.
“It is just so much fun.”
Barnes played three years of volleyball for the Bulldogs and is now in her second year coaching the sport at Mountain Vista High School in Highlands Ranch while also coaching the Highland Ranch Community Association’s volleyball team.
The inspiration to become a coach, Barnes said, came from her high school coaches, Ann Stehlin and Pete Bergman, as well as one of her closest friends, Marla Nicholson.
“Our coaches instilled in us a never-give-up attitude both on and off the court,” she said. “On the court, they brought us together as a team and I wanted to do the same for other girls.”
Cheryl Ivy, the MCHS volleyball team’s assistant coach, saw Barnes coaching in a three-day tournament in Greeley and suggested head coach Sandy Camilletti bring her in.
“Deb had this Craig connection from her childhood and I liked that,” Camilletti said. “She truly has a ton of knowledge and a love for the game she can pass on to our players.”
Camilletti said during the camp, herself, Ivy and Barnes wanted to work with players on game-like drills to get them up to speed and get as much intensity as possible out of them.
For Barnes, her mission was to bring the players together as a team.
“There will be a lot of team unity and if I can bring them together as a team, I think they will be better players,” she said. “I had an attitude instilled in me when I played — never say die — and I want to pass that along to this team.”
To help show teamwork, Barnes brought some of her players from Highlands Ranch to work with the Bulldogs.
“I think Deb’s girls will show our girls what it takes to be successful,” Camilletti said. “She wants to promote togetherness, and that is important in the sport of volleyball.”
The Bulldogs will have a chance to utilize what they learned at camp when they play in the University of Northern Colorado’s camp July 21 to 23.
But first, players must complete camp with Barnes, who said her biggest contribution to the camp is enthusiasm.
“I not only have a passion for the game, but also a passion to teach kids,” she said. “It is great to have the chance to work with the school again and I hope to help bring the team more success.”
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