Getting to know Bailey Webster
May 8, 2009
AUSTIN, Texas -- Bailey Webster so dominated the high school volleyball scene, she decided to start college a little early.
Webster, a 6-foot-3 outside hitter from Baltimore, signed with the Volleyball team last fall after rounding out a high school career that saw her ranked as the No. 1 recruit in the nation by PrepVolleyball.com. Webster enrolled at UT for the Spring semester, and has already been training with the Longhorns on the court and in the weight room.
Webster recently talked with TexasSports.com about her transition to college life.
Did you have to do a lot of extra work in high school to come to UT early? My fall semester I took two English classes, and I took another class as well. But everything else I already had. Most people already have their credits, but (schools) just spread it out. It wasn’t hard.
Will you get to participate in your high school graduation? I’m planning on going back for prom and graduation. It will be busy during that time, because we get back from Europe on June 2. Then I will go back to prom really quick, come back for summer school and go back really quick for graduation. It will be crazy.
What appealed to you about enrolling early at UT? Personally, I have so much to learn. So many girls at this level are at their peaks, and they know all that they’re going to know -- they’ve already learned everything. But on the East Coast, volleyball isn’t as big, so I don’t know probably half of the stuff I need to. I just felt like I would have been really stressed if I would have just come in the fall. There would have been so much for me to adjust to, volleyball and school and everything. I don’t think I could have handled it, or enjoyed it. Now, I’m able to pace myself into it.
What have you learned already? The right way to hit. Little things -- I’ve never noticed how I hit because I could jump over people. But I wasn’t hitting the right way. So now I want to jump over people and hit harder. Or, blocking techniques -- before I could get away with some stuff, or be late to the ball and still block. But I wasn’t doing it the right way.
What fit about the University of Texas for you? All during the recruiting process, I wished I had a "dream" school. I had never even thought about going to the University of Texas, then when I came here for a visit, I thought, “Oh my gosh. This is so cool.” I love people, and people are so nice here. Like in Baltimore or the East Coast, you don’t speak unless someone speaks to you. You walk by and you don’t say anything. People here are always saying “Hi, how are you?” I like it.
Have you had some time to enjoy the UT and Austin community? It’s been great, because I’ve been able to go to some softball, baseball games. I went to basketball games earlier this semester. I feel like I’ve been to a lot of things. It’s been fun and interesting.
Volleyball also does offseason beach workouts. How was that for you? The very first time, I was not feeling it. I was really awkward. I mean, we don’t have beaches or even sand in Baltimore. It’s totally different. You can’t just jump up and hit the ball. You have to do different shots. And I just don’t play it. The girls from Cali were killing it, because you have to block later. You feel like you’re getting up over them, and then they just dink it over your head. But toward the end, I could see a big difference. I got a lot better, and I’m bringing some of those shots into the gym. It really helps your game. When we all went back indoors, we felt like we were jumping so high.
What were the biggest challenges to adjusting to college? Coming here, I was a little nervous about looking bad on the court in comparison to the other girls. But once you get into it, we’re all the same. It’s intense, and we’re a team. So you can’t think about that. We make each other better because we’re all playing against great players all the time. I also thought classes would be so different, but I think I was prepared more than I thought. I didn’t struggle with that. Classes came pretty easily to me. I think I was ready for everything.