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From the classroom to the court

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Showing her sophomore girls how to properly serve the ball, coach Villegas laughs as she watches the players learn from their unsuccessful attempts at serving the ball to their partners.

Showing her sophomore girls how to properly serve the ball, coach Villegas laughs as she watches the players learn from their unsuccessful attempts at serving the ball to their partners.

Maria Risner

Maria Risner

Showing her sophomore girls how to properly serve the ball, coach Villegas laughs as she watches the players learn from their unsuccessful attempts at serving the ball to their partners.

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Set, spike, ace. Spanish teacher of 13 years, Christina Villegas, has taken on the 2017 sports season as the new junior varsity volleyball coach.

Villegas played a multitude of sports during her years of school, but volleyball had been one of her greatest passions.  Already a full time teacher, Villegas applied as soon as she heard the coaching position was up for the taking.

“I have always wanted to be a coach,” Villegas said. “I helped out the coach in a non-paid position at my previous school.” She played volleyball through all of standard junior high, high school and college intramural.

“Believe it or not, I was a diehard athlete. Lived and died for sports.” Villegas said. “People don’t really see that from me.” She had played as setter and took on the position as the team leader. She came to the area to teach, and it lead her to take a long sabbatical from her volleyball passion. “I came from a family of coaching,” Villegas said. Her father served as a Whittemore-Prescott baseball coach for 40 years.

Being a teacher, she figured she would use her own classroom techniques out on the court to put a new spin on old traditions. Establishing the bonds between athletes on a team has been a goal for Villegas. She turns this into reality for her team by using skills she has come to know from her past knowledge and her work in the classroom.

“The girls have to work with everyone on the team, not just their favorite people.” She also tries to help make the girls more aware of when they are making an error. For every error means you have to win two points more than the opposing team. This concept is referred to as “washing” in volleyball.

“You have to come back with a force. You have to come back with a vengeance,” Villegas said,

she entered this season with a firm motto in mind: “When you believe it, you’ll see it. It came from the book, ‘The Mindful Athlete.”’

“It changes the old, ‘I’ll believe it when I see it,”’ she said. Over the course of the season, Villegas had seen much strength and perseverance in her volleyball players even with the transition of the athletes seeing her go from the classroom to the court.

“It’s weird seeing her going from a teacher to a coach,” sophomore middle hitter Isabelle Bliss said. “It’s different, but she has been very good and supportive, like a normal coach.”

Villegas was more than happy to have been a mentor to the girls this season. “I think they are a great group of kids who truly want to go out and do their best and have the potential to go out and do their best. I hope someday, that they are able to go out and go as far as they can,” coach Villegas said.

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From the classroom to the court