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UISD's Tania Castro selected for elite coaching mentorship program


Posted Date: 04/03/2024

UISD's Tania Castro selected for elite coaching mentorship program

Tania Castro, an assistant volleyball coach at Alexander, is the first woman in Laredo to be part of the ROCK Program, which is an elite mentorship program designed to retain young coaches, the Texas High School Coaches Association has announced.

“It’s an honor to be the first female in Laredo to be a part of the THSCA ROCK program,” said Castro. “I feel that I have a responsibility to learn from some of the best/top coaches in Texas that are willing to teach and share their knowledge so that I can bring it back to our program at Alexander. The goal is to teach coaches like myself how to handle a work-life balance. They teach us, educate us and fight for us.”

ROCK stands for RARE, OUTSTANDING, COMPELLED, and KNOWLEDGEABLE. The ROCK Mentoring Program, a partnership formed between the Texas High School Coaches Education Foundation and Texas A&M Thornton-McFerrin Coaching Academy, has been created to meet the needs of and retain high school and middle school teacher-coaches, according to organization officials.

Castro teaches physical education level Pre-5th grade at Newman Elementary and is an assistant coach at Alexander. For the past two years she has been in charge of the freshman volleyball team at Alexander.

“During the season, depending on our practice schedule, I will go to Alexander in the mornings for morning practice, travel to Newman to receive and teach my classes here and then travel back after work to make it to the time left of varsity practice at Alexander,” Castro said. “It is a total team effort from the Alexander coaching staff and with my admin here at Newman. Having their help and support has allowed me to do well at both campuses.”

Data shows many first through fifth-year coaches and teachers are leaving the profession, according to a news release by THSCA. “There is a critical need to cultivate and assist these professionals in finding their passion and being prepared as coaches, teachers, and leaders in an ever-evolving environment,” states the release.

The two-year program is in two phases. The first phase was the Mentor Symposium, which occurred in Arlington, TX on March 3rd and 4th. The second phase is online and mentors and ROCK mentees will receive articles, videos, podcasts and scenarios that provoke discussion, according to foundation officials.

Castro was nominated by a colleague who called her “outstanding.”

“I think it takes a lot of heart and passion towards the profession,” Castro said. “Not many can balance or take on a role that a coach can. I think outstanding coaches are willing to continue to learn and grow within the profession. In order to be outstanding one must do things that’ll set them apart: networking, coaching outside of the high school, building connections, going to clinics, learning from other professionals … I am working to be an outstanding coach for our youth here in Laredo.”

In July, according to the news release, the ROCK mentees will volunteer as convention staff for the annual THSCA Coaching School and attend sessions designed specifically for coaches in the ROCK Mentoring Program.

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