For TCU students who have participated in sports in high school, their journeys and dreams of sports usually end at graduation, unless they choose to become a college athlete.
Senior middle school education and Spanish double major Heather Mathis created Frog Sports, a subprogram of TCU Student YMCA, so students could still participate in sports without the commitment of being part of a team.
The organization is for students who want to continue using their sports skills to coach children.
Frog Sports was originally Frog Soccer, but after becoming affiliated with the YMCA, the organization was able to expand the sports offered, Mathis said.
Frog Sports currently consists of soccer, basketball, flag football and T-Ball.
“If we get connected with other YMCAs, there’s a possibility to open to other sports like volleyball, cheerleading and stuff like that,” Mathis said.
Junior middle school education major Paige Rodriguez said she was intending on going to a meeting for one organization, but coincidentally ended up at a Frog Sports meeting.
Once she was told about the organization and how students were able to coach their own team, she said she was hooked.
“Ever since I was told we could coach actual kids and it wasn’t like we were watching people coach, I jumped right in and started doing it,” she said.
Rodriguez coached basketball and T-Ball last year and plans on doing so again this year.
Although students are able to coach ages 3 to 12, she said she was a coach to 3- and 4-year-olds.
Coaches pick a day out of the week to have practice and have the games on Saturdays, Mathis said.
“When you’re working with 3- and 4-year-olds, you really have to have something that’s consistent and the drills that I had were very consistent,” she said.
Junior computer science major Greg Kolesar also coached basketball and T-Ball last year and said since he worked with young children his practices usually consisted of basic drills.
“In basketball, it was just dribbling, passing and shooting and for baseball [T-Ball] it was hitting, catching and a little bit of throwing,” Kolesar said.
He said he enjoys coaching both sports because they are both different and the children he coached are also different.
Young children are expected to have their good times and bad times and Rodriguez and Kolesar said they both experienced that.
“Their behavior was never the same, some days they’d be excited and listen to me, but then other days they wouldn’t,” Rodriguez said. “There were those times where they just weren’t into it and would cry the whole time.”
Aside from wiping noses, dealing with vomit and having players cry, Rodriguez said at the end of the day having a player come up and thank her and give her hugs made everything else not matter.
Mathis also said she had rewarding experiences while coaching soccer to children.
At the end of the season she actually felt like she made a difference in someone’s life, she said.
“It’s learning the sportsmanship skills and the life skills that you get out of sports that to me are the most important aspects of coaching,” she said.