Reese Bates, an upcoming senior at Blue Valley Southwest High School, is taking the volleyball world by storm.
The longtime lover of the sport is inspiring athletes all over the world all while making her dreams a reality.
Reese has had a deep love for volleyball since she was 8 years old. When the COVID-19 pandemic forced athletes all over the world to stop doing the sports they loved, Reese was only getting started.
Not only did she continue her workouts and drills at home, she decided to share her determination with others. She created an Instagram and Twitter account with the sole purpose of sharing volleyball content.
“I thought, I’m already doing these drills and workouts so why not video them and put them out there to try and inspire other people during that tough time when there was nothing going on,” Reese says.
Reese refused to let anything stop her from getting in realistic workouts and drills. She got creative using items around the house, such as a half Bosu ball she flips over to work on balance. Her dad helped her create a board on top of a foam roller using an old mirror.
“It’s great for me to do the drills, and people seem to love it,” Reese says. “They love new challenges, and just being able to inspire people every day still is just amazing.”
When Reese started her inspiring video content creation, she had no idea just how much it would blow up. Collectively on Instagram and Twitter, she has more than 15,000 followers.
“I had no idea it would come this far. Some of my views on Instagram have still been blowing up from last year,” Reese adds.
Reese says the most rewarding part of her work are the comments people send.
“I’ve heard from several college coaches and just random people who say ‘I don’t know if you know how much you’ve inspired people and helped them through COVID,’” Reese says.
Because of her powerful work in the world of volleyball, Reese caught the attention of the Federation of International Volleyball who reposted many of her videos. She received a message on Instagram asking if she’d be interested in interviewing U.S. Beach National Team member Kerri Walsh Jennings, one of her longtime volleyball idols.
Walsh and her husband, Casey Jennings, invited Reese to attend a clinic in Reno, Nevada where she was able to learn from them and meet their Olympic coaches and nutritionists.
“They are just the sweetest people I’ve ever met,” Reese says. “We did an activity at the end where we wrote something inspirational on a volleyball, and I wrote ‘2028’ because that’s the year I want to play in the Olympics, and she wrote, ‘I’ll see you there’ next to it.”
Reese says she owes her success and accomplishments to her parents, who show their constant love and support.
“They are the best I could ask for,” she says. “They wake up to me pounding balls against the garage wall, which you can hear in the whole house. They just love me so much, and I love them.”
Reese is already on her way to achieving her dreams. She’s committed to playing Division I Indoor and Beach Volleyball at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama. Her goal for her final year at Blue Valley Southwest is to make it to the State Championship, which the school has never done for volleyball.
She wants to encourage young kids who are just getting started in a sport to push through all of the challenges and keep moving forward.