What Parents and Players Feel About Nelson and Her Training

 

Linda Thibodeau, Ph.D.

RR-Reflections on Ruth

My daughter started training with Ruth when she was a freshman in high school. Little did I know that we were not only working with an outstanding VB trainer, we were also going to experience more about life, character, perseverance, nutrition, and physiology than we could have gotten anywhere else. Ruth Nelson works with young girls through college to make them the best person possible through developing their talent as a VB player. She carefully determined every girl's needs and then developed a drill, organized a practice team, analyzed a video, or whatever it took to help her see her progress. She offered incredible training camps that included three important variables. First, there were nationally recognized coaches recruited to instill skill and motivation in the players. Next, she included intensive conditioning to get the girls physically ready for the competitions she would encourage them to experience. Lastly, she devised self-esteem building activities that would carry them through the slumps in their game that would inevitably happen. She networked among college coaches like a walking "face-book page" usually having a phone earpiece in her ear when she wasn't training. But not to imply she wouldn't take time to listen to your concerns, she often knew them before you could even express them AND have a list of three possible solutions to help … whether it was an orthopedic specialist, physical therapist, VB shoe, vitamin therapy, specialized ankle braces, shoe inserts, or a creative way to work on a skill without being on the court. This was extremely important as we suffered setbacks that resulted in sideline positions, sometimes for most of the season. Ruth kept in touch and nurtured that desire to do whatever it took to get back on the court and to learn from every situation … even being on the sideline. If that wasn't enough, we'd see her at Rachel's games and wonder how she had time to do that as well. Then she would comment on how the training had transferred to the "real" court or whether more specific training was needed. Navigating the college-search maze can be daunting, but we always knew she was there for help, even if we were behind the ideal time-line. This included lengthy conversations following team visits to help sort out the very important factors in making the decision. Without her assistance, I don't know that Rachel would be as happy as she is today playing all-around the court with the Southwestern University Pirate Volleyball Team. Ruth instills a confidence in young women that allows them to go off to college with a strong set of skills to approach most every situation. She still keeps in touch and trains Rachel in the summers. Her multi-faceted training efforts will carry Rachel way beyond her time on the court and into her life as a successful professional at whatever she decides to do! THANK YOU RUTH!


Mary & Neill Marshall

Our daughter Mary-Kate has trained with Ruth since the end of her 5th grade year, almost five years. If you had told me how far she would come on those five years, I would have thought you were crazy. Ruth has taken a girl that was always picked last, the little girl no one wanted on their team, to the first one picked due to her superior skills and work ethic.

In that period of time Ruth has become Mary-Kate's coach, but in addition her advisor, cheerleader, confidante and advocate. When you submit to the "Nelson Way", you aren't just getting volleyball skills. You are learning life skills from an excellent teacher of life. When we started on this journey, we hoped Mary-Kate could make the A-team at her junior high. We thought that while the goal was a stretch, it was doable. With Ruth's help and guidance my daughter has revised her goals. Now she wants to play college volleyball at the D-1 level. It's quite a goal, and with Ruth's help it might be attainable.

In the area of college recruiting, you won't find a more knowledgeable source than Ruth Nelson. Not only has she been through it many times so she knows all the barriers and pitfalls, but also her relationships run both wide and deep. I am convinced we have the greatest college recruiting resource in the US in Ruth. As an aside, I never ever thought college recruiting was going to be something we as a family were ever going to get involved in. Ruth was the first person who ever mentioned it to us, and we thought she was crazy the first time it was discussed.

Another area of Ruth's expertise that is paramount is in the area of injury prevention. In the first few years, I always thought she was a bit too cautious and overly worried about injuries. I have changed my opinion 100%! She will always look out for the best interest of your daughter. As the girls get older, injuries become a bigger issue and are of great concern. Ruth uses all of her experience and knowledge to help insure your daughter stays on the court, which at times may be in direct opposition to others. When there is a difference of opinion, I always listen to Ruth. She is not worried about today's wins or losses. She has your child's long-term best interest in mind when she gives you advice.

Finally, Ruth is someone that my daughter can look up to, emulate and get advice from. Ruth has been a great help in raising our daughter. She does not want to disappoint Ruth and would never want to do anything that would. All we have to say is, "if you do that you are going to have to call Ruth and tell her". That stops the discussion. While all kids make mistakes, I truly believe having someone like Ruth involved in your child's life, will lessen the probability they will do something foolish. None of Ruth's young ladies ever want to make that call.

I always remember the times when I met all the really influential and important people in my life, such as when I met my wife, when I "met" all three of my children, when I met my best friends and when I first saw Ruth Nelson. For whatever reason, I just knew she was the right person to help us with Mary-Kate. I had no idea the impact of that meeting and what a positive impact she was going to have on all of our lives.


Scout Wonsang, age 18

Ruth is a phenomenal person; she has helped mold me into the player and person I am today. It's hard not to look up to Ruth; yes she maybe tough, but she puts every ounce of herself into her work. She is truly passionate about what she does and cares about each and every single one of her players. She makes us not only better players, but also better people. Ruth teaches us to be humble and appreciate the opportunities we have been given, how to handle ourselves in difficult situations and how to be positive role models to others. Whenever you watch Ruth work with younger girls, you can't help but smile. She makes sure that the girls are having fun. She helps maintain the girl's passion for the sport and builds them up. I'm not sure if Ruth realizes the impact she has on people. She makes those around her want to better themselves and better those around them. We need more people like Ruth in the world!

Gay Wonsang

My daughter Scout Wonsang has been training with Ruth Nelson since 7th grade, and she has been a mentor for Ruth since her freshman year in high school. Ruth has been instrumental in Scout's development as a player. Scout was a very raw, determined and aggressive player. She was quick and could get to the ball, but she did not have the proper skills and techniques to control the ball. Scout had the will, the drive and the work ethic to become an elite player; she just did not have the ability to always be consistent. When Ruth began working with Scout, she demanded that Scout be disciplined, use proper technique and to handle the ball with complete control. Due to Scout's dyslexia and ADD, it was difficult for her at first to meet Ruth's demands, but Scout's work ethic and deep respect for Ruth would not allow her to do otherwise. Because of Ruth's encouragement and training, Scout became an extremely good ds/libero. Ruth has a way of pinpointing a player's weakness and through proper training (demanding proper technique and playing with control), turning that weakness into a strength. When Scout goes to a tryout, the one consistent comment she gets is, how well she uses proper technique and how well she handles the ball with control. Ruth also teaches the intellectual aspect of the game and what a player should do in every situation that occurs during a game situation. She will many times teach critical parts of the game that many coaches do not take the time to teach, such as how to cover the blocker and how to read the set. All of this has made such a huge impact on Scout as a player. Since working with Ruth, Scout has made several national teams, and she gets a lot of comments from opposing coaches on her playing ability as well as her aggressiveness on the court. With Ruth we were able to combine Scout's raw aggression, her use of proper technique and ball control to make her a very consistent player who can get the job done.

I am grateful to Ruth not only for making Scout an outstanding volleyball player, but also for making her a better person. Scout endured several disappointments and difficult situations over the years, and Ruth was instrumental in helping her deal with them in a positive and productive manner. From dealing with a difficult coach, to being moved to a new position on varsity, to the death of her beloved grandfather, Ruth was able to guide Scout to handle these situations with a positive attitude and not to give up on her hopes and dreams. Many coaches who work with Scout always comment on how she ups the level of play on the court through her hard work, ability and positive attitude. Scout is an encourager who is always looking for the best in the people she shares the court with. I give full credit to Ruth for all of this. Because of her time with Ruth, I know that when Scout leaves my home and heads off to college, I know that she will be able to handle herself in any situation.


Emory Moody, age 16

I started training with Coach Ruth Nelson when I was 14. I have played club volleyball for three years and school and rec volleyball for approximately eight. Over those years, I've had a lot of coaches and have gone to many camps and clinics. In that time, I have never met anyone as serious and dedicated to coaching until I met Coach Ruth. She cares about every aspect of the game – especially the players. She gives her full attention and respect to everything and everyone. She spends equal time with everyone, answering any question a volleyball player could have. Not only is her coaching extraordinary, she has the ability to connect and coach individuals in such a positive and productive way. I had never improved so much and in such a short time as when I trained with Coach Ruth.

In the sessions I've spent with Coach Ruth, she has improved every aspect of my game – hitting, passing, setting and serving. When I started in volleyball, I was tall for my age and played mainly outside hitter. Over the years, I've become one of the shortest outside hitters, yet that is my main position, in club and school, because of my success. I owe that to Coach Ruth. She worked on my technique and also taught me to play smart, reading the opposite side of the court, to choose the best placement and type of delivery of the ball. She also taught me, as a hitter, you have to go for it – full throttle. You have to have confidence to do that, and she gave me the chance to build that confidence. Outside hitting and defense are my main strengths/positions. Until I worked with Coach Ruth, setting was my weakest skill. Afterwards, it improved so much I have also played the setter position.

Anyone who trains with Coach Ruth is so fortunate, because they are bound to improve greatly. She breaks down everything, explains, and gives examples. She corrects you until you get it right. She won't give up until you are successful. She believes in each individual so much – it's very empowering. It stays with you when you need it the most. She is always focused and energetic, and she wants all her players to have the most possible success. Her coaching methods are solid as well. Coach Ruth is more than just a coach, though, she is a supporter, a trainer, and a friend. I have never had such positive coaching with just as visible success, until I trained with Coach Ruth. She is simply inspiring!

Marla Moody

My daughter, Emery (16), and I met Coach Ruth when Emery was 14 – the summer before her freshman year of high school. I had heard wonderful things about Ruth Nelson and was excited from the moment we first made contact. The first time we spoke, we talked on the phone for almost an hour. She asked me many questions about Emery – her goals, volleyball experience, personality, and general background. She also shared a wealth of information regarding herself, volleyball and training. In that first conversation, I knew I had connected with someone very serious and dedicated to volleyball and the athletes she trains.

The first thing we did with Ruth was a Train and Compete class. When playing club volleyball, my daughter's birthday puts her in a club division grade level above her actual grade. There were 2 Train and Compete classes – one for 7th - 8th grade and one for 9th – 12th. I wanted to put Emery in the high school group, since she had just finished a club season playing against 9th graders (as an 8th grader). Coach Ruth, thought it best to come to the middle school group so she could determine proper placement. This is an example of Coach Ruth's thoroughness and care. She did not want to place her above her level. That would not be good for her nor the other girls.

After talking to Emery, working with her, and watching her play, Coach Ruth decided she would benefit most from the high school level group. Those lessons were the most beneficial time Emery had spent in her years of playing club volleyball where she practiced 4 hours a week with her club coaches and did various camps and clinics. The Train and Compete classes were twice a week and varied from 2 to 8 girls. It did not matter if there were 2 or 8, Coach Ruth spent 1 on 1 time with each girl and quite often a lot of time. As I observed with another mom when we were new to the class, she said to me, "Don't worry if your daughter looks like she's doing worse than ever. Coach Ruth has them practicing the correct techniques, breaking it down step-by-step, and encourages them to not worry about what they do or what it looks like in the meantime." I was glad she told me that, because as I was watching, I was thinking, "Come on…I know you can do better than that..." We all know how competitive volleyball is, and we always want our daughters to "look good" around coaches……so this was a new, and very welcomed concept for both of us. Coach Ruth explained to my daughter, "Don't worry about the end result at this moment; just focus on this part of the technique you're working on." By the end of that session, we were seeing results in all aspects of her play. My daughter even said, "I learned so much! She's incredible!"

Another valuable thing we feel very fortunate to have been exposed to through Coach Ruth is NART™. NART™ is a training program designed to be performed in the water. The NART™ routine strengthens the core and muscles volleyball players' use, in a non-stressful way, to increase their vertical and protect them from injury. Emery just started it this summer. We participated in two tournaments over the summer, one of which was a 4-on-4 tournament in which Emery played setter and OH – blocking in both positions. One of our teammates' parents, who we knew also from our club team season said, "Wow, Emery's a beast!" referring to her getting multiple blocks (which isn't easy at her height – barely 5'7"). All I could say is, "NART™ must really be working!"

We feel extremely fortunate to know and train under Ruth Nelson. She truly cares about her athletes. She has so much knowledge and experience and a multitude of connections in the volleyball world. Coach Ruth routinely passes along great information on conditioning, college recruiting, and upcoming opportunities. She is a terrific resource and support – and a great person, all around. I only wish there were more days in a week and we had met and trained with her sooner!


William Allred

Age 16: My daughter Morgan Allred has now worked with Ruth Nelson for two years. She is a 16 year old player who will be entering her junior year at Hebron High School. Morgan has continued to show great improvement under Ruth's coaching. As a sophomore, she was team captain for the Hebron Junior Varsity. Morgan has developed a very solid all-around game and never left the court. Morgan also played select volleyball with Skyline Juniors with their Roshambo 162 team. This year they finished fifth in the National Division at USA Junior Olympics and wound up 37th in the Nation. Because of Morgan's all-around game, she very rarely left the court. Morgan is an outside hitter, who plays all around. At Nationals, she had 41 kills, a team high 60 digs and the only girl on the team not to miss a serve through 21 games.

Ruth has developed a solid overall game for Morgan. She truly knows how to communicate with Morgan where she understands the technique and how to make self-corrections when necessary. Before she left for Nationals, she pulled Morgan aside and encouraged her to be focused and to have fun. She knew she would be hitting against tough players and that she would need to keep her confidence up. She followed Ruth's advice and played very well at Nationals.

Ruth is very intuitive as to the issues that Morgan faces from a technical perspective. She can pick up on Morgan's technique and correct quickly. Her style of coaching is to put the player in the best position to hit or pass effectively. She has give Morgan a very solid foundation to understand the game and to make self-corrections when her technique is off. My best advice to other parents is if your child truly has the desire to learn the game and is willing to learn, go see Ruth.

Age 15: Ruth has taught our daughter Morgan Allred for the last year. Morgan is a sophomore at Hebron High School and is sixteen years of age. She started working with Ruth last year at the beginning of club season. Morgan was on a National team and was considered a solid player but would struggle with her technique and consistency at times. She would hit strong at times, but then would lose her consistency and her confidence. Morgan has worked with several coaches over the past three years but never seemed to really understand what she was doing when it came to hitting.

Ruth provided a positive foundation for Morgan to understand her technique and to understand how to make corrections when her technique was a little off. Her greatest strength for Morgan was to make sure Morgan understood what she was doing, give her the correct technique and finally an understanding of how to correct her errors. Ruth is a very clear communicator and does a great job of connecting with her students who are willing to learn. Morgan is a very serious minded young lady who is willing to listen and make changes. Her personality has worked well with Ruth and vice versa.

I have enjoyed getting to know Ruth and listening and watching her instruction for my daughter. She is a coach who doesn't mind parent involvement. She enjoys visiting with the girls she coaches, and she comes and watches their games. She has been and is a very positive influence in my daughters life. She has also given Morgan the opportunity to mentor other girls, which has given Morgan the opportunity to give back. We have really enjoyed the relationship with Ruth. Morgan has flourished under her instruction. She finished her club season last year as the Most Valuable Player on her team. Ruth played a huge role in that award. We are looking forward to exciting times ahead with Ruth as her private coach.

My daughter Morgan has played volleyball for five years. She started out at Prestonwood in their youth program and has played both school ball and club volleyball for the last three years. Along the way she has had wonderful positive and skilled coaches … and some not so positive nor skilled coaches. She has learned through all of these experiences. She has developed a strong foundation to play volleyball. A part of that foundation was built through repetition and drills.

Mentoring:
IAD through Ruth Nelson has given Morgan a more defined and clear understanding of the game. My daughter is very black and white in her understanding. She will try to accomplish skills through repetition but will struggle if she does not understand what she is trying to accomplish. Ruth has taken Morgan to a higher level of understanding of the game. Ruth has made sure that Morgan understands what she is doing with her body. However, the key has been that Morgan understands what she is doing and now has the tools to make the adjustments to correct her mistakes. Volleyball as in life is a matter of understanding and adjustments. Ruth has given Morgan the skill set to understand why she made a mistake and how to make the adjustment to correct the mistake.

I would encourage any child who has the desire and drive to learn and to achieve to search out and work with Ruth. Ruth has shown nothing but a positive and encouraging environment for Morgan. She has also given Morgan the opportunity to give back to other kids through the mentoring program. By assisting, she has the opportunity to learn and see how others develop. Life should truly be measured by what we give and not what we take. She has given Morgan the opportunity to give back.

Finally, Ruth allows parents to be involved. She has no hesitation for the parents to see and learn what she is instilling in their children. Too many times, I see coaches who are prideful and exclude the parents. As a parent, I will always cherish the opportunity to be involved with my daughter. Thanks Ruth.


Bridget Depperman, age 15

Hi, I am Bridget Depperman. I have worked with Ruth Nelson for 6 months! Working with Ruth has helped me improve every aspect of volleyball. I have learned more effective ways to set, pass, block, serve, and hit. I have also learned timing and have increased my vertical jump! I have had so much repetition that I now know what a great pass, set, block, serve, and hit feels like. I now have the ability to know what happens and how to make each aspect of volleyball more effective. My confidence has improved as has my understanding of the game of volleyball. Thank you Ruth Nelson!!

Tracey Daniel

My name is Tracey Daniel, and I am the mother of Bridget Depperman, age 15. First time my daughter touched a volleyball was in 8th grade. Bridget was never taught the basics of the game, but she loved it so much she continued to try playing recreation volleyball. One year later, winter of 2011, we were introduced to Ruth Nelson and the REAL game of volleyball. Ruth has taken Bridget to heights we never imagined possible – in just six short months. Ruth's knowledge, experience, expertise, personality, drive, and love of the game of volleyball, as well as understanding of a young, dyslexic little girl, has helped Bridget to reach volleyball goals in record time! Bridget's respect for Ruth, and Ruth's patience for Bridget has been an amazing experience for our family – not just Bridget – but our family. Ruth is my friend! Thank you Ruth – you are my go-to friend!


Renee Elsner

I want to let you know how much I appreciate your help and guidance with training my daughter, Heather, this summer. You provide her with the importance of dedication, hard work, and a real understanding of what it means to set attainable goals. You also provide her with a structured training program that includes, not only Volleyball skills and techniques, but also incorporates activities to develop her as a well-rounded student-athlete. I have seen her grow and mature to accept athletic challenges, discover more about herself, and most importantly, feel very good about who she is and what she has accomplished.

I can't thank you enough for all that you do. You are a wonderful role model for Heather, and I feel very blessed that you have entered in to her life, as well as mine.


Sydney Campbell, age 18

My name is Sydney Campbell. I have trained with Ruth for about nine years. I currently play for Dallas Synergy 18 National, and will be playing volleyball in the Ivy League at Cornell University next fall. If anyone had told me that I would be playing college volleyball when I began training with Ruth, I would have told them they were crazy.

I met Ruth when she started training my rec team. With Ruth's encouragement, I tried out and made VICTORY Volleyball Club's second 12s team. I started training with Ruth on Tuesday nights at 9:30, a time slot that was too late for most people. In the beginning, I could not even overhand serve over the net. I can remember entire sessions where all I would do was serve, and just a few would make it to the other side of the court. I would get so frustrated, but Ruth never stopped believing in me. After more training, I had one of the most consistent serves on my team.

Ruth continued to work with me and taught me solid techniques in all of my skills. While Ruth stressed the importance of being an all-around player, as a setter, I feel that one of the most valuable things I gained from Ruth is court sense. She helped me learn what decisions I should make in all different situations.

When I started training with Ruth, my dad and I would talk about how cool it would be if I was still playing volleyball when I was a freshman in high school. While we weren't sure if I would be able to make the freshman team, Ruth told me that if I really wanted to play at the collegiate level, it would be possible through hard work and dedication. At 14, I found it hard to believe that I would ever be able to reach such a goal, but with Ruth's encouragement I pressed on.

Last year, our Dallas Synergy 17 National team won a national tournament in Omaha and then qualified for the Junior Olympics at the regional qualifier. Stepping onto the court at Nationals was an incredible moment for me; it felt as if my hard work had come to fruition, that my dedication meant something. I owe that moment to Ruth. More importantly, Ruth helped me to find the drive I needed to earn a spot on the team at Cornell. This is another dream realized that can be attributed completely to Ruth.

The lessons from Ruth that I value most, however, are not necessarily the ones I have learned from her on the court. Ruth taught me the importance of role models. She taught me about some of the greatest volleyball players that ever lived, including Flo Hyman and Danielle Scott, but she did not tell me to look up to these players just for their amazing skill. She taught me to look up to them because of their character, their work ethic and their humility.

She then showed me the importance of becoming a good role model myself. Ruth taught me that for every action that I made, there was someone watching. This became evident as I began to help Ruth with her City Program. My skills may not have been the greatest, but Ruth taught me that I could be a leader simply by setting an example with my enthusiasm and character.

The most valuable thing I have gained from Ruth, however, is discipline. In teaching her players skills, Ruth has always emphasized the importance of technique. I learned that the key to consistency was being precise with your technique so that you would be able to correct yourself when necessary. Ruth's discipline was evident in almost every aspect of her training sessions. She ran the drills with maximum efficiency so that each player could get as many touches on the ball as possible. She would even teach the parents methods for shagging balls so that the drills could be run faster.

What Ruth taught me about volleyball skills has allowed me to reach my potential on the court, but what Ruth taught me about character and discipline has made me the person I am today.

Rachel and Dana Campbell

"Do you want to play volleyball in college?" That was the question our 11 year old daughter was asked before her first club tryout. The question seemed ridiculous. College volleyball was the last thing on any of our minds. The spindly, bookish kid would be lucky to make the second 12s team.

Earlier this year we celebrated that same kid's commitment to play volleyball at Cornell University of the Ivy League. Our oldest daughter, Sydney, has accomplished that which was beyond any of our wildest dreams seven years earlier.

The one constant in the story was and is Ruth Nelson. She was the one person who remained encouraging when, despite hours of training, Sydney landed on the "B" team in middle school. She was the one person who never doubted what discipline, coupled with desire, could accomplish.

What Sydney has learned from Ruth over the last seven years has not been limited to volleyball. When the opportunity came along to write a college application essay about a person who had a significant impact on her life, Sydney immediately picked Ruth. While the forum may have been the volleyball court, Ruth has always taught the importance of being a role model. From Danielle Scott-Arruda, the captain of the U.S. Olympic team, to high school and college players, Ruth has exposed Sydney to many great role models, and shown that one can be a role model at any age.

Our family has treasured our association with Ruth over the last seven years. As our youngest daughter, Ainsley, begins her high school years, we look forward to Ruth's positive influence for many years to come.

Whitney Bailey, age 18

Hi, my name is Whitney Bailey, and I am 18 years old. I trained with Ruth from 7th grade to 12th grade. Throughout the years, she taught me many things, and if it weren't for her I would not have had the attitude and skills that it takes to play in high school and club. What Ruth taught me went far beyond the spectrum of volleyball. Her lessons gave me the determined mind-set with which I now go about other things in my life.

Every time I would arrive at the gym, I knew that I would be pushed to do my best, and get better doing it. Ruth does not simply tell you to do something; she explains it and reminds you about a hundred times. When I first started training with Ruth, I had made the B-team in 7th grade, and I wanted to get good enough to make the A-team in 8th grade. Ruth worked with me on every skill area and made me more confident as a player. Tryouts came around, and I was so excited to make the A-team. After that, I continued training with Ruth and improving my game. I played for national club teams for many years and enjoyed it most of the time because I had the groundwork that Ruth gave me to be a valuable player and have fun at the same time.

Ruth's passion for the game made me love volleyball that much more and encouraged me to reach my goals. Her lessons taught me how to not only pass, set and hit with the right form, but also how to stay in the game mentally and perform at my highest potential. I owe all of my successes to her and am eternally grateful for her guidance and encouragement through the ups and downs of my volleyball career. She has altered my life and attitude in more ways than I can count and I am blessed to have had her in my life.

Mary Tidwell

I am the mother of a young 12 year old daughter that wanted to play volleyball last December. We had only done a year or two of simple rec ball with the Carrollton Recreation Center. It was something that Ashleigh liked and she seemed to do O.K. at it. Well then came the world of Club Volleyball. Her two friends had tried out and made it before Ashleigh even knew what club was. So we started trying to get her into a club. I never realized the devotion that these young girls have. They were younger then she was and they were all sooo good! We got on a team as an alternate and started from the beginning.

She took a skills combo with Ruth and Courtney at IAD. She had a long way to go. Very slowly Ruth took her under her wing and started training her on how to do everything on the court. It took months before she could serve overhand or even volley the ball back over steadily. Ruth is a powerful teacher. She showed her how to do every move the correct way so she wouldn't develop bad habits. She worked and worked until suddenly, after many lessons, I started to see a volleyball player emerge. The skill/combo session showed her how not only how to play, but helped her to do exercises that would improve her volleyball skills. I always want to find every available skills class out there to make sure that she would be ready for next years try-outs. I have tried 6 different clubs and I asked Ashleigh which coach she liked the best out of all of them and she said "RUTH" of course, because she explains everything and why it should be done that way. She feels that you coach the best!!!

Your attention to detail is what has made it possible for her to understand the game. It has taken a steady 6 months, but now Ashleigh can do just about every position and she has a great chance of making the A team on her 7th grade volleyball team next year, and even making it on a club team. My heart goes out to you, Ruth because I don't think it would have been possible without you. We look forward to many years of training with you. Thanks for all you do!


Devon Dawson, 16

I am a Junior at Wakeland High School in Frisco, TX. I started training with Ruth during club season of my Sophomore year. I was making the move from a middle hitter to an outside where I had no experience. Ruth taught me how to hit from the outside. We worked on my approach, arm position, how to contact the ball with my hand, to control the ball and place it effectively. She broke down every aspect of the hit in a way that I could understand it and apply it to my game. In addition, we worked on blocking, serving and defense.

My time with Ruth improved my ability and confidence as a player. But what has also stuck with me is that Ruth values her players as people encouraging us to be good students and citizens. She not only coaches me on the court but also has helped prepare me for life.

Karen Dawson

We were fortunate enough to meet Ruth Nelson through a skills taping we were preparing for recruiting purposes. Ruth met with a group of 4 players in preparation for the taping. After the skills taping concluded, Devon continued to work with Ruth in private lessons. Devon was very athletic but had not been worked with on technique. Ruth transformed her play and brought it to a new level. Ruth improved her hitting, blocking, defense and serves.

In addition to improving Devon's play, Ruth's guidance through the recruiting process has been invaluable. Her workshop answered many of our questions, got us organized, and established a clear plan to the move forward. Because of this, Devon will be able to reach her goal in becoming a college athlete.

Lastly, I would like to comment that Ruth truly cares for her players. She not only wants them to be the best athletes they can be, but pushes them to become better people.

Dixie Allen

Mentorship Program

My name is Dixie Allen, and my daughter has been in Ruth Nelson's mentoring program since she began working with Ruth. As a parent of one of Ruth's girls, I have come to realize the multiple levels of what Ruth teaches, both on and off the court. What she teaches all her girls is not just volleyball but what they need to know about conducting themselves in a responsible and respectful manner, especially to their parents.

Both Jenna and I appreciate the opportunity to give back to a program she loves so much. The experience with the younger girls is not only a positive experience for her but has added to her self-confidence. Many of these girls look up to her, and when they see her, they go out of their way to say "hi". Obviously, giving her a tremendous ego boost. Not only that, she is proud to know she has had an impact on their development.

Thank you so very much, Ruth, for giving these girls another avenue for developing their values and life skills.

Dixie Allen


Tiffany Firebaugh, age 13

Hi. My name is Tiffany Firebaugh, and I am 13 years old. I currently play on the victory 14 national club team, and I owe it all to Ruth Nelson. She is an amazing trainer. She taught me discipline. When I first went to her, I was concentrating on just my serve...that's all I expected from her. I got much, much more!! She explained things in such a way I could understand and be able to put it into practice. If I didn't understand something, she didn't just drop it, and try something else, she would explain it in a different way using drills. In one lesson, I would learn so much. It was very fast paced-which prepared me for anything I could ever face on the court during a game. She pushed me to success in all areas of the game, including the mental areas...and I am so grateful for her doing that, although I might not have been at the time... :) It made me a stronger, better-prepared player. Before I met Ruth, I thought volleyball was just a fun game, skills...passing, setting, serving...but I learned it was a tough, mental game as well. She is unlike any coach I have ever had, or any coach I will have in the future. She taught me if I worked hard, and never gave up, I could succeed. She always kept me accountable, too. No excuses with Ruth. This helped me so much to have to be responsible. When I went to Ruth, all I wanted to learn how to do was serve. She told me about upper-body strength, and told me I should take physical training as well. Now, I can successfully serve an overhand serve over the net 10 out of 10 serves. On top of this, she taught me how to do a jump float serve, and I can serve that successfully over the net 9 out of 10 times. On top of teaching me how to serve, she taught me how to play defense, be a successful hitter, and learn how to set. As a hitter, my jump before Ruth Nelson was 19". Now, after she has pushed me through physical training, and learning from her for about 7 months, my jump is now 25.5". She taught me so much in the short time I was with her. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with the one and only Ruth Nelson. If you have the chance to take lessons from her, I'd grab the opportunity!

Sally Firebaugh

Ruth Nelson and her abilities to teach volleyball can be summed up in one word - amazing. My daughter, Tiffany, was thirteen years old when I asked Ruth for help. Tiffany had already finished one season in club volleyball at the regional level. However, Tiffany did not get to play a lot and her serves barely made it over the net (if they went over at all). Tiffany and I were both a little worried that she would not make it back on the regional club team so we asked Ruth Nelson to help her. Tiffany is a self-driven, self-motivated child and she had spent hours and hours in the driveway serving her volleyball onto the garage trying to strengthen and improve her serve. She really tried hard but it wasn't really helping much.

The first lesson with Ruth was amazing. She worked with Tiffany on her timing, her toss, her foot positions, everything. I was so happy because my daughter was improving right before my eyes. Ruth also worked with Tiffany in all other areas like passing, blocking, and hitting. Ruth did much more than drills. She taught Tiffany the proper way to move; she taught her how to watch the opponent to know where the ball would be going, she taught her how to have a winning emotional outlook. Ruth is so detail oriented that she noticed Tiffany's pinkie finger was causing her to mess up on blocking! She gave her special exercises to do on her own time also. One of the things that Tiffany enjoyed most during her lessons with Ruth was her "talks". Tiffany respects Ruth so much, and she absorbed everything Ruth would say. Tiffany worked with Ruth for about seven months. The time came for club tryouts again, and Tiffany felt prepared and that made her feel confident. She felt like she now had a great chance of making her club regional team. We were both surprised and elated when the results of the tryouts were posted. Tiffany had made the National team! Tiffany is now enjoying club volleyball on the national level, and we both know we owe it to Ruth! By the way, the weak little serve Tiffany once had is now gone and has been replaced by a strong serve that rarely misses. Ruth is a very special, one-of-a-kind lady!


Ebony Nwanebu, age 10

I have trained with Ms Ruth for the past 4½ years. Best improvement I have made is in the skill of passing. I learned how to focus on the ball to get it to the target. My strong spiking and over hand serving allowed me to make a volleyball club team this past season.

I'm glad Ms Ruth was so caring about me and teaching me the skills and the game of volleyball. I plan on becoming the best volleyball player I can be.

Joyce Newell (Ebony Nwanebu's mother)

Ebony was 10 years of age on June 5, 2005. She has been training with Ms Ruth Nelson for the past 4½ years. Ms Ruth started training volleyball skills to Ebony when she was in Kindergarten at the age of 5. With each passing year, Ebony gained strength and Ms Ruth was able to provide more technical training for each skill of the game.

Ebony's strongest strength skill is spiking. Ms Ruth started her out with the proper techniques for down ball spiking due to Ebony's coordination and strength. Ebony now has the 3-step approach down to follow through and spike the ball with authority.

With Ms Ruth's training and Ebony's improvement, Ebony was named co-receiver in her age group of the Flo Hyman Award in 2003 while attending a club volleyball academy. Ebony attended a local summer volleyball camp in the summer of 2004. She was named camper of the day for one of the days.

This past volleyball club season, Ebony at the age of 9, played on a TAV Metro 12's Team. Playing on a team with older girls, Ebony improved her skills, learned teamwork and built up her confidence.

Ebony was not only trained in volleyball skills by Ms Ruth, but also at a young age. Ms Ruth made sure Ebony knew the positions on the court by name and number, size of the court, height of the net, and the number assigned to each spiking location on the court.


Linda Keithley parent of Julia Keithley, age 6

My daughter Julia met Ruth when she was 6 years old. Too young for volleyball herself, she was watching Ruth work with her older sister's team, as they prepared for an appearance at the Junior Olympic Volleyball Championships. But for Ruth, there's no such thing as "too young". Ruth started working with Julia and a small group of children her age, and before long they could pass the ball to target, serve the ball over the net from the 10-foot line, and make an approach and hit the ball over the net. It was amazing to watch Ruth work with these young children, as she commanded their attention and insisted on 100% effort, and yet made it so much fun that they didn't want to leave and couldn't wait for the next session. Ruth has a way of teaching each skill and breaking down the mechanics that allowed Julia to learn the skill quickly and be able to correct her own mistakes. Their hard work culminated in an appearance at the American Volleyball Coaches Association convention, where Julia and a group of girls ages 8 to 12 demonstrated not only their skills, but also their ability to critique each other and to teach the skills to someone else.

Ruth takes a personal interest in each of the girls she trains, and Julia has learned so much more than volleyball from her. It was an experience she'll never forget, and has given her a love of the game that she'll never outgrow.


Ainsley Campbell, age 11

My name is Ainsley Campbell, and I am 11 years old. I have trained with Ruth for a little more than 2 years. I came to Ruth with little experience, but she taught me how to do the fundamentals in the correct form, so I could then learn more challenging skills with little difficulty. She taught me how to do an overhand serve, and the basic passing, setting and hitting. She also taught me the formations and rules of the game that most of the kids my age hadn't been exposed to yet. Because of her training, I have been able to play on a 12‚s club team at Victory Volleyball Club, even though I am still a year younger than the rest of the players. My coach has been able to play me as setter, outside hitter, and defensive specialist because of Ruth teaching me all those skills at a young age. I have served out games at both Lone Star Classic and Cross Court Classic, and have been able to understand and run more complicated plays and formations. Ruth gave me the chance to play in many demonstrations, including one for the AVCA coaches, an experience I'll never forget. If I hadn't had the opportunity to train with Ruth, I would never be where I am now.

Sydney Campbell, age 14

My name is Sydney Campbell, and I am now 14 years old. I have trained with Ruth for about 3 years. When I started training with Ruth, I could barely even get an underhand serve over the net, but with her help I learned to do my overhand serve. I am currently working on my jump floater serve. Ruth taught me correct technique so that I can be more consistent in my game. After training with Ruth, I was able to play on Victory 12 Regional, and I was then able to make my 7th grade team. I was then able to go on to make my school's 8th grade team as a setter. With her help, I played setter this past year for Victory 14 National, the first time that I have ever been able to play on a national team within the club. She has helped my setting so much because she started working with me on more advanced sets when I was only playing 12s, so now that we are actually running them really I understand what is going on. Because of the time that she has spent with me on passing, I have been told that if I wasn't a setter I could be playing libero. I had the privilege of participating in a demonstration for the AVCA coaches with my sister, which is the coolest thing that I've ever done. I recently made the High Performance Camp for the North Texas region as a setter, and my partner, who also trained with Ruth, and I qualified for the Junior Olympics in beach volleyball. But being able to play volleyball well is not the best thing that you can learn from Ruth. Ruth taught me about hard work, respect, and discipline, three things that I can carry with me in my life after volleyball. I honestly think that if Ruth hadn't stayed at the gym with me until 10:00 on! those Tuesday nights in those first years, I never would have been able to accomplish what I have done so far.

Rachel and Dana Campbell

Our daughters, Sydney and Ainsley, now ages 14 and 11, began working with Ruth at the ages of 11 and 8, respectively. Over three years, both girls worked with Ruth in both private lessons and in group settings.

While both girls have yet to play their first high school match, the growth and success we have seen over the past three years have been truly remarkable. First and foremost, each has developed a passion, focus and work ethic that are uncommon among athletes their age. That has translated into success on the court.

In three years, our oldest has gone from being a solid second team club player to a major contributor on a team consistently finishing in the top of the open division in national qualifiers. She was one of approximately 50 14-15 year old players in the region recently selected to participate in the High Performance Camp by USA Volleyball.

Our youngest began playing club volleyball at age 10, and had a great first year. Having had the benefit of training with Ruth, she has solid mechanics, as demonstrated when she served the last 10 points of several matches, including the championship match in bracket play in a major tournament.

But the lessons learned have not been limited to volleyball skills. By exposing our daughters to older players that were solid role models, from high school players to a three-time Olympian, Ruth has taught our daughters a sense or responsibility to teammates and the sport of volleyball. Rather than being self-focused, as are many athletes of all ages, our daughters are focused on supporting their teammates and promoting the sport. Indeed, we have never been more proud of our oldest than in a time of adversity - when she got benched during a crucial match, for just the second time all year. Rather than leave the court with a pout, she screamed encouragement to her teammates throughout the remainder of the match, to the point that she was actually light headed. While she is only 14, one of our oldest daughter's greatest joys is now assisting with training younger players, just like the older players did for her when she was just starting out training with Ruth.

In sum, the many hours training with Ruth have made our daughters better volleyball players and better people. Whatever paths our daughters may choose, we know that the foundation laid in the last three years will serve them well.


Cat Mundy, age 18

I have worked with Ruth since I was 14 years old. I was actually one of the two girls who got her back into training again! I'm glad that we convinced her to because she has changed my life. When I started training with Ruth, I was a scrawny and uncoordinated girl who, with the help of Ruth, grew to be a scholarship player. She helped me in every aspect of the game and helped me in my spiritual growth. She really got me motivated to keep playing volleyball and to never give up on myself. I was my own worst critic, but she made me a mentally tough player and ready to take on the world! Well...at least the volleyball world! I trained with her every year for four years.

My junior year in high school and 3rd year playing club Ruth decided she would head our club team and train us like a college team. We used high intensity training (HIT TEAM) to improve our skills and be the best that we can be. She worked her hardest to expose us to college coaches and devoted so much time to making sure we were getting noticed so we could continue our volleyball growth through college. Playing on the HIT Team was one of the most incredible experiences of my life, and it taught me how to be strong both on and off the court. I improved in all aspects of the game. My hitting and blocking became stronger, and I have never played such great defense in my whole life. The hours we put in for the team really had you in the mindset of what college would be like. With both the physical and volleyball training, I realized I had never been in such great shape in all of my life. Because of Ruth's great coaching, she has helped me to receive a varsity spot for 3 years, 1st and 2nd team All-District honors, 2 MVP awards, a Texas All Star Game appearance, and a college scholarship. Ruth is more than just a coach to me; She is a friend, who I confide in and who takes care of me. Sometimes I even called her my fun Aunt Ruth!

Through the time that I have spent with Ruth, I have been able to plan my future and make the best decision that I could possibly make. Ruth is my mentor, and I love her to death. I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to spend time with her and receive her wisdom and coaching. She took me under her wing and led me down a path to opportunity and success. I have earned a volleyball scholarship to play for Belmont University in Nashville, TN, and am very excited. Ruth has made a huge difference in my life and is truly the best coach I have ever had.

Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey G. Mundy

Our daughter is leaving for college in a few days knowing that she accomplished her personal goal of playing Division I volleyball on scholarship. This would not have happened without Ruth N. Nelson. Not only did she skillfully instruct her in the fundamentals of the game but, perhaps more importantly, Ruth inspired her to love and respect her body, her health, her coaches and the volleyball legends, past and present, who have helped make volleyball what it is today.

Five years ago, we were fortunate to be introduced to Ruth as she was in the process of helping the director of a recently formed, Christian-based volleyball club gain some momentum. Ruth was attracted to the idea of melding a spiritual experience with a successful volleyball program. Our daughter was 14 and this was her first club volleyball experience. A few months into the season, to our good fortune, Ruth agreed to coach our daughter and another teammate privately, in addition to her overall instruction in the club. Her incredible knowledge of the game, focus on fundamentals, disciplined but loving instruction, and belief that these girls could achieve their highest goals through hard work and commitment, were the keys to success we had hoped for. In eighteen short months, our daughter moved from a bench warmer in middle school to a Varsity starter on our Class 5A senior high program and an impact player on her club team.

It also became obvious to us that during Ruth's years as a college coach, she had gained tremendous respect within the college coaching community. Ruth knew everybody at the tournaments we went to! She would be talking to the head coach of USC or Hawaii or Florida or Texas or Stanford, Kentucky, Minnesota—it went on and on. She made introductions on my daughter's behalf to a number of coaches, which eventually resulted in several serious recruiting follow-ups and it was clear that they respected her opinion. Ruth was a tough taskmaster and expected total focus and discipline of her young protégés because she knew that would be the expectation of any college coach they played for in the future. Then Ruth introduced a pilot program into the club that she called the HIT (High Intensity Training) Team. She really stepped up the training and conditioning and gave them a little taste of what college volleyball would be like. She knew it would help them all make an informed decision about whether or not they really wanted to become college players. When our daughter visited colleges and observed team practices and training, she felt that the weight-training, conditioning, fast pace of the practice and drills were very familiar. Ruth was right. The girls that believed in Ruth and her philosophy have all been recruited into college programs this fall.

Yes, our daughter did have some God-given fundamental athletic ability, but there is no way she would have had succeeded in her personal goals had she not known and trained with Ruth Nelson. Not only did Ruth teach her the essential elements of skill and game strategy, but she also imparted a love and respect for the game, which means our daughter will be playing in college because she really enjoys it and is ready to take her game to the next level. Ruth taught our daughter that the sky's the limit if you are willing to work for it.

Obviously, we are fans of Ruth Nelson. Our daughter and we have come to love Ruth not only as a great mentor and coach, but also as a wonderful and caring friend. We look forward to our ongoing relationship with her and know that anything that Ruth decides to pursue in the future will be equally as successful. We have the highest opinion of her talents, drive, work ethic, honesty, discipline, and knowledge and she has our unfailing respect and support.


Lauren Evans, age 19

This is a testimonial for Ruth Nelson. Ruth has been my volleyball trainer for 4 years. When Ruth started training me I was an athlete who loved volleyball, but no matter how athletic I was, I had very incorrect form. Ruth taught me everything about correct form and the fundamental skills in volleyball. She really changed almost everything I was doing. My game went from good to my best. Because of Ruth I am now a college volleyball athlete. In fact I am playing as a freshman, and so far I have played in almost every match. It's a dream come true.

But that's not all. Since working with Ruth I made my high school varsity team, became captain, and twice helped lead my team to the state playoffs for the first time in the history of the school. For another first time, my team beat our rival Allen high school. I was twice chosen as the Defensive MVP and twice earned district and state honors. I twice earned the Most Inspirational Award. I was named female athlete of the week for the Dallas area by the Dallas Morning News and honorable mention once. I was selected for the USA volleyball High Performance camp in Colorado Springs, and had the privilege of competing for the North Texas Junior Women's High Performance team, which placed 4th at the national championship.

Ruth is a phenomenal trainer. She knows just how to help each person reach her highest potential. She really pushes hard but she builds your confidence at the same time. Ruth accepts nothing but your best, but she's right there beside you the whole way, helping you improve every step of the way.

Not only is Ruth a wonderful trainer, she is a mentor too. She helps you in the good times and the tough and rough times. If you have a problem with your game, she'll help. If you have a disappointment during recruiting, she'll help. If you need someone to trust and talk to, she is there for you. She celebrates all of your successes too. Ruth becomes as proud as an athlete's parents.

Ruth is an advocate for the game of volleyball. During the years she trained me, Ruth invited me to many events where Olympic and National team athletes, college coaches, and college athletes spoke or held clinics. As a young player, it was so exciting to meet these other volleyball mentors. And now, as a freshman playing volleyball in college, I got to sign my first autograph for a fan! I feel like things have come full circle.

I am honored that Ruth trained me. She made a difference in my game and in my life. She still keeps up with me, watching my college volleyball career. In fact she keeps up with many of her athletes. She has trained numerous college, national, international, and Olympic players. I am very proud and blessed that one of them was me.

Mike and Nancy Evans

My daughter trained and worked with Ruth Nelson for 4 years. Truly, she changed her life. Ruth helped her understand the difference between athletic ability and athletic skill. Because Ruth focused on the fundamentals of volleyball, and demanded excellence, my daughter's skill improved dramatically. The amazing thing about Ruth's demand for excellence was the way she was able to individualize her approach while perfecting every tiny bit of my daughter's volleyball skill.

Ruth not only changed my daughter's volleyball skills, she demanded hard work. Now you might think a teenaged girl would dread lessons that demanded hard work, but it wasn't that way at all. She looked forward to the lessons, and would often ask for additional lessons any time she felt something about her game "wasn't quite right." Ruth earned my daughter's respect, but also showed her respect. There still is a special bond between them because of Ruth's approach. Her demand for hard work carried over into the classroom and into my daughter's family and social life too.

Ruth is a motivator and she believes in her athletes! She has very high expectations, and her athletes meet those expectations! But she always starts right at the beginning, right at the athlete's level, and pushes just a little more every day (some days it seems like a lot more!) Then one day I was amazed at the progress! People were noticing the change in her skills. Coaches were noticing! My daughter's confidence soared!

Without Ruth's guidance, the college recruiting process would have been very difficult to navigate. She understands every bit of the process, from both sides: the athlete's perspective and the coach's perspective. Her knowledge and assistance were invaluable every step of the way.

Ruth cares about every aspect of her athletes' lives. She is incredibly loyal and giving. And she cares about her athletes for the rest of their lives. In an era when children have a hard time finding heroes worth looking up to, my daughter is fortunate to count Ruth Nelson as one of her heroes. She is not only the finest volleyball trainer; she is a fine human being. I am honored that she worked with my daughter and helped shape her life.


Gerry & Debbie Standridge

Our daughter, Analissa Standridge - 5' 9" Soph, Martin Methodist College, 1YR Letter - began training with Ruth in 2/03. We and the other parents with the club noticed almost an immediate improvement with her skills. Not only did her skills improve, but her confidence level increased as well.

Analissa continued her training with Ruth throughout her senior season at Carrollton Christian Academy and then on the HIT Team. Through this training she found out how she compared in different athletic skills to other players. She is confident that she can compete at the college level at the middle position against players 3"-4" taller than her. She realizes she plays like a 6' because of the knowledge she has of her jumping skills.

It was because of the time she spent with Ruth that has enabled her to earn a volleyball scholarship at one of the top programs in the country playing for a former Olympian who demands a very a high work ethic. It wasn't just the physical skills we saw change, but also in her mental and emotional side too. She found out that hard work, setting goals and persevering through tough times and injuries will eventually pay off. And that is what I, as a parent, wanted out of all of the training. A college scholarship is obviously nice for financial reasons, but what she has gained from the work it took to earn it far surpasses a college degree. A degree will better enable her for the job market, but she has learned so many life lessons from spending time with Ruth that will benefit her for the rest of her life. A lot of what she has absorbed was not from being on the court, but just spending time talking with Ruth.

There are a lot of people who know a sport, and a few who know how to teach, and fewer who know how to adapt teaching to an individual athlete and an even smaller group of people who possess the skill to toss out life lessons along the way. I don't know how much one of those life lessons is worth, but I do know it's more than the cost of a lesson.

We highly recommend Ruth Nelson.


Shannon Walker, age 17

My name is Shannon, and I am 17 years old. I met Ruth Nelson three years ago when I joined my first club volleyball team. It is with Ruth's training that I have been fortunate enough to go from a beginner to a Division I player in that short period of time. It did not come without hard work, but it was under Ruth's watchful eye that my progress began. She knows when and how hard to push to get your game to the next level, or in my case several levels from where I started. Ruth possesses tremendous discipline that comes through in her training and gets the most out of each training session. It was her energy and positive message that allowed me to learn as much as possible in the time I had. I could not wait to take what I learned during practice and apply it in a real match. It was there that I began to see the real improvement and belief in myself that I could reach my goal of playing Division I volleyball. Ruth allowed me to set the bar at the level I wanted to achieve and then provided me the structure to achieve it. Even now, if I am at a club tournament and need just a refresher, I can call her and after just a few minutes on the phone rekindle the confidence she and her training instilled in me. It would seem that from what I have described that it was all volleyball. There were many discussions about hard work, setting goals, time management, respect, teammates and the importance of an education – all qualities that you can apply to everyday life. Last fall, I helped my team win the 2004 Texas 4A state championship and it was my jump floater serve (taught to me by Ruth) that made a difference in the matches, not to mention my defense. What an inspiration and difference she has made in my life!!

Randy and Karen Walker

It is not too often that you meet someone who can change your life forever. My wife and I met Ruth Nelson three years ago when our daughter began playing volleyball at the club level. It was at that time that Ruth began her training experience with Shannon. Ruth not only provides volleyball expertise, but also showed unending support when it came to life in general, school, family etc. Ruth, my wife, my daughter and I have spent countless hours not only on the court honing the skills of volleyball but also in conversation (generally on the phone) learning about each other and things that matter most in life. Shannon (17 years old now) has grown tremendously as a young woman, both on and off the court. From a volleyball perspective, her many years of volleyball experience allow her to share her knowledge at the level necessary to help the student learn the skill. It does not matter whether you are 8 or 18; she is always willing to share everything she knows.

Ruth has played a major role in taking Shannon's game in just three years from a beginner to a Division I volleyball player. Shannon's game has improved tremendously but two areas standout – her jump floater serve and her defense. Shannon has learned not only the skill of the game, but also the mental toughness necessary to push herself and get the most out of her God-given ability. It was through all her hard work and training that she helped lead her high school team to the 2004 Texas 4A state championship. Shannon's successful season did not end there as she has been provided the opportunity to play Division I volleyball for the University of Texas at San Antonio. All the abilities I have described can be provided in any given setting whether there are 10 kids on the court or just one. Strangely enough, all that Ruth has taught her (and us) can be used in every day life, not just on the court. And last but not least – the recruiting process for my daughter. I have learned everything I know about recruiting from Ruth. The process, how to communicate, when to communicate, what questions to ask and her unending list of contacts in the volleyball world. She has shared her encyclopedia of knowledge regarding what coaches look for and how they recruit played an instrumental role in Shannon fulfilling a dream of receiving a scholarship to play volleyball at the Division I level.


Clarissa Pavey, age 14

Compassionate towards her players
Optimistic to see the best for her athletes
Awesome person
Considerate of the needs of each individual player
Happy to coach – always

Never gives up on her players
Enthusiastic while coaching
Loves the game
Superior coach to everyone
Only settles for the highest possible standard
Natural leader who commands respect

Hannah Pavey, age 12

My name is Hannah Pavey and I am 12 years old. For the past two years, I have played club volleyball for the Victory Elite top team in Dallas, Texas. In Minnesota, our team qualified for the Junior Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, and I am very excited to play in it. About four years ago, Coach Ruth Nelson coached my two older sisters, Jessica and Clarissa in lessons with other girls. I would always go along to shag until one day, Ruth tossed me a volleyball and asked if I wanted to learn how to play. When Coach Ruth was teaching me, she always took small, easy-to-understand steps to make my skills in volleyball better. She was always careful to make sure I understood what I was doing.

When I was a 4th grader playing rec. ball, people would always come up to my parents asking, "Who taught that girl to play volleyball? She has great form!" Coach Ruth Nelson has such high standards and helped me believe in myself. She motivated me to go into club ball and I want to work hard and play in college! I do not like coaches that yell or shout at my mistakes, but Coach Ruth never shouted or made me feel bad about myself, but encouraged me through my triumphs and mistakes.

My idol in volleyball is Flo Hyman, the world's greatest volleyball player! When Coach Ruth coached me on a rec. team called Team Flo, we played two years up. On a special day at the Victory Club Banquet, I was awarded with the Flo Hyman trophy symbolizing the hard work of such a great athlete! In December of 2003, Coach Ruth used me and five other young players she had been training, to demonstrate the excellent skill level young athletes can perform. We did this at a coaches clinic for the NCAA Division I Woman's Volleyball Championships. It shows what an amazing coach she is because she was asked to demonstrate what she had taught us to some of the top coaches in the nation! I wouldn't be the person I am today without the influence of Coach Ruth in my life.


Morgan Badgett

My daughter Jaynie Badgett is 14 1/2 years old. Jaynie worked with Ruth while she was 12 and 13. Her primary areas of improvement from working with Ruth were: effectiveness of and confidence in her serving, proper hitting approach, and correct footwork for defense.

Jaynie has played for Victory Volleyball Club's 12 National, 13 National, and 14 National teams. She has also played on her school's 7th grade and 8th grade "A" teams, both of which won district championships.

Ruth's relationship with Victory VBC and its players has been one of the club's major assets, and has greatly benefited a significant number of players from ages 8 to 18.


Beth Stokes

My daughter Lauren Stokes is a 16-year-old senior in high school. She has been training with Ruth Nelson for approximately 3 years via various camps and lessons. Lauren's goals were to improve in overall play and become either the leading setter for her club team or the libero. She succeeded in all aspects with Ruth's help. Lauren's setting improved so much that the school coaches asked her to coach the younger setters coming up thru the ranks. Lauren's last year of club had her playing libero - Ruth's drills and game playing philosophies really helped in tight situations. Lauren became a critical member of the team; this was evidenced by a best 3rd place finish in an Open tournament. Immediately afterwards, she experienced an ACL tear (from skiing), and the team never again finished in the top half of any tournament.

I would highly recommend Ruth to work with any young lady who has the desire to improve their skill sets and mental toughness. Lauren was actively recruited by three division one schools until the injury occurred. They were not only impressed by her quickness and dedication, but by the training she received first hand from Ruth N. Nelson



Madie Jones, age 14

I first met Ruth when I was 12 years old and just beginning my experience in club volleyball. Ruth helped me gain skills that I needed to know and that I have used ever since I began training with her. While training with Ruth for 2 years, I learned many valuable volleyball lessons, and I will always remember how she pushed me to be the best volleyball player I could be.

Rebecca Jones

My daughter, Madie Jones, age 14, trained with Ruth Nelson several times a week during club season and summer months, and she also had the privilege of getting to know Ruth and learning from her the game and fundamentals of playing volleyball over the span of several years. Madie learned so many things from Ruth including discipline and working hard towards being the best you can be at your game. Ruth taught Madie how to approach her hits and worked with her on improving the power of her hitting and also her accuracy. At age 14 Madie was awarded MVP for her club team and also selected for a USAV High Performance Development Camp and also selected for the North Texas Region High Performance Youth Team. She continues to build on the basics and fundamentals that Ruth taught her, which has brought her success and recognition at a game she loves to play.


Bill Wallander

Our daughter, Becky Wallander, is 13 years old. Becky took private lessons from Ruth Nelson during the summer and fall of 2004. Becky improved in all areas of play, with dramatic improvement in her hitting. Becky has advanced her play enough to be the starting outside hitter for the VICTORY 13N team. She has played a major role on the team this year, and her team earned their bid to participate in the 2005 USA Junior Olympics to be held in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Ruth is a terrific teacher for those athletes who have a passion to learn, train and play. As a parent who also coaches middle school varsity volleyball, I can attest to Ruth's knowledge, teaching skills, and genuine compassion and caring for the athletes she teaches. It has made a real and lasting difference for Becky not only in her play, but also in her attitude about her off court training and overall passion for the sport of volleyball.