Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Badger players take shot at coaching

[media-credit name=’LUKAS KEAPPROTA/Herald photo’ align=’alignnone’ width=’648′]Volleyball_LARGE_LK[/media-credit]

There are
some who can learn from words on a page, and there are those who learn by

sophomore setter Nikki Klingsporn and senior outside hitter Morgan Salow,
learning to coach is best done by the latter.


last winter and continuing through the summer, both Salow and Klingsporn
coached for Capital Volleyball Academy in Madison. The program, run by
Wisconsin volunteer assistant coach Dave Bayer, is in its second year and has
225 players, the most in the area.

though the program is only in its second year, it already has had prominent
Wisconsin alumni as coaches. Last year, All-American setter Jackie Simpson was
an assistant coach and has moved on to the staff of the volleyball team at
Winona State this season. Also, former Badger Angie Sanger, who graduated in
2003, coaches the program’s 17 Elite team. Before the season, Bayer offered coaching
positions to all the current members of the Wisconsin volleyball team. That’s
when Salow and Klingsporn stepped up.

“I think
it’s great when our players get out in the community and coach teams,” UW head volleyball
coach Pete Waite said. “It’s great because they are role models for the
young athletes. It is also good for them to have an eye of a coach on the court
when they become players again back on the court for us. You know coaches are
on the sidelines just like the fans, and it always seems so easy from the
sidelines. But then, you have to be able to verbalize to the athletes how to
accomplish something.”

During last
year’s club season, Salow was an assistant coach on the club’s 17 Elite and 18
Elite teams. With both squads, she traveled across the nation to different
tournaments, finding success in many. At the AAU National Championships in
Orlando, Fla., both of her teams finished in the top ten, and at the JVDA
Championship in Louisville, Ky., the 17 Elite team finished third.

success of her teams made the summer a little more easygoing.

“It’s so
much fun because the girls have fun, and they love going to practice and love
being there,” Salow said. “Also, you have fun. It’s just an all around happy
atmosphere. They work hard, they compete and it was an all-around lot of fun.”

Klingsporn, coaching is in her blood. Her father, Mark, is the head coach of
Oakdale Tartan High School in Oakdale, Minn. Both her dad and her mother, who
played volleyball at North Dakota State, have helped her become a solid player
and now a coach.

parents have always coached me. So I took what they taught me and brought it to
my team,” Klingsporn said. “I think that has helped a lot because I do want to
be a coach when I get older.”

For any
club team, there are several advantages of having current, younger players on
the team. One, Waite said, is it helps bridge the generational gap between the
younger players and the older coaches. He said because the student coaches and
the players are so close in age, it makes it easier for them to bond and gives
them a mutual respect for each other. 

The student
coaches also help the players understand what they are going through and the
dedication it takes to make it to the collegiate level.

through it before, they can kind of see into the future in terms of what these
girls have to do to prepare to get to the level where they’re at or even go
beyond where they are at,” Bayer said. “I think that’s the beauty of having
Badger players as coaches. They are actually playing at a level our players are
trying to get to.”

Having a
good connection with the players also gives potential recruits a positive image
of what playing at Wisconsin is really like. Although the players are not there
for recruiting purposes, it still helps when possible prospects not only see
how the UW program works but gain an understanding what it takes to make it in
a major college program. 

“It gives
the local players a flavor of what it’s like to be a Badger player because I’m
sure they talk about road trips and our coaching staff,” Waite said. “I know
their sole purpose is to get into coaching, to get their feet a little wet and
see if it is something they want to do in the future.”

both players did not do any recruiting while coaching, they still gave the
program a good enough name to attract some youngsters. Kelli Kasha and Kirby
Toon, whose father is former Wisconsin wide receiver Al Toon, are going to play
for the Wisconsin volleyball team next fall. Both Kasha and Toon played on
Salow’s team, though she was not the deciding factor for either of the girls to
play for the Badgers.

For the
players, coaching also has some personal perks. During tournaments, both Salow
and Klingsporn had the opportunity to talk to the many coaches who attended the
club matches looking for recruits. These connections help them network for
future coaching jobs they will be looking for.

practice, coaching during the off-season gives the players a different
perspective of the game. They understand what coaches are going through every
day and the tough work they put in to make sure the team runs smoothly.

“Nikki has
actually made numerous comments to me from time to time,” Bayer said. “Even
last year during the spring, she understands the game better now after coaching
and being around other club coaches. She has a much better appreciation for
what Pete and (assistant coaches) Colleen (Bayer) and Brian (Heffernan)
and myself do for the Badgers day in and day out.”

Also, the
coaches have said both Salow and Klingsporn’s understanding of the game has improved.
They have begun to notice many of the minute details of the game and the things
they can do to make sure their game is perfect.

volleyball IQ and their sports IQ went up. You have to analyze entire
situations; you can’t just focus on yourself or one position,” Waite said. “You
have to look at everyone around you and how they flow together. Their stats
improved and their mindset as a team player.”

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