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Callaway volleyball team preparing for season

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

It’s been a smooth transition for the Callaway High volleyball team.

Following the 2019 season, head coach Precious White stepped away from the program to take a teaching position at Newnan High, creating an opening at Callaway.

Leigh Bailey, who had been the head coach at Troup High for the previous two seasons, has stepped in to fill that void.

Bailey became the Callaway head coach earlier this year, but for more than three months she was unable to meet with the players because of the coronavirus shutdown.

That changed in early June, with teams getting the go-ahead to begin summer workouts, and Callaway has been going at it hard since then.

Now, Callaway is a little more than a week away from its season opener, and Bailey is proud of the  way the players have adapted to having a new coach.

“These kids, they are just soaking in everything you say. It’s been really nice,” said Bailey, whose team opens the season on Aug. 10 with a pair of matches at Harris County. “Everything has been really smooth.”

At the start of summer workouts, Callaway was extremely limited in what it could do.

There couldn’t be more than 10 people in a group, and players weren’t permitted to use game equipment, including volleyballs.

“We were just in here running,” Bailey said. “You couldn’t use a ball, and I’d never met the girls, so I had no idea what their skill level was.”

Despite the limitations, the players and coaches were happy to finally get together after an absence of more than three months.

“When we started coming in here, it was like Christmas day,” Bailey said.

As the summer went along the restrictions were lessened, and now there aren’t any limitations on what players can do in practice, and Bailey is hoping the players take something positive from practice each day.

“If you can get a little bit better each day, that’s all you can hope for right now,” Bailey said. “Just get a little bit better at whatever your job is. Then we can make things happen.”

At Troup, Bailey was a part of a successful program, first as an assistant coach, and then as the head coach.

In 2018, Bailey’s first season as head coach, Troup reached the second round of the state tournament.

Bailey believes the Troup program benefited from having a freshman team, so she has created one at Callaway.

“I feel like that’s how Troup got their people ready,” Bailey said. “They’re working together, and they’re working on skills when they’re young. Then when they get to me or a head coach, they already have those skills.”

As for her future, Bailey hopes to be at Callaway for a while.

“I don’t want to go anywhere,” Bailey said. “That’s one thing I told (principal Jonathan) Laney. I want to be here for the long haul.”