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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The cycle: From student to coach

Carly Earnest
Texas State senior setter Ryann Torres (14) and junior defensive specialist Jacqueline Lee (7) discuss strategy with fellow teammates, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2023, at Strahan Arena.

For the past decade, sports have provided a platform for many different talented athletes across the nation, and two Texas State volleyball players have decided to use their platform to guide and motivate younger athletes through the world of coaching.

The United Volleyball Association has allowed junior defensive specialist Jacqueline Lee and senior setter Ryann Torres the opportunity to grow as coaches and help younger kids understand what it’s like to be a Division I collegiate athlete.

Both Torres and Lee serve as assistant coaches with the United VBA and find it rewarding when they can help teach and motivate a young group of athletes aspiring to be like them.

Torres initially began coaching a year ago to help grow her love for the game of volleyball and found a much more important goal in the process of working so closely with kids.

“The big picture is all about building great people,” Torres said. “Sports have great instilled qualities that can be used and last forever, so I think being able to teach them young will help them be more prepared in the future.”

Lee first began training and teaching others since her senior year of high school and has been involved with the United VBA serving as an assistant coach for three years now. She said what defines her work is not her success as a coach, but instead, her players’ success.

“My coaching philosophy is ‘How can I take my experiences and apply them to these kids who are going through the same thing and make it better for them?’” Lee said. “I want to put these kids in the best position possible, so they don’t have to struggle in the ways that I did.”

Texas State head volleyball coach Sean Huiet said he sees the value in players practicing their coaching ability. Not only does it benefit the Texas State players who practice coaching, but also the children who are involved.

“We love giving back to our community and Ryann and Jackie do a great job representing our program,” Huiet said. “It’s great to see them being role models for the next generation; not only does it help them for their careers, but it also helps with learning leadership skills for our team as well.”

Since joining the United VBA, Torres has gained a different perspective on coaching and what it’s like being a young student while having a role model figure to learn from.

“I was once a young volleyball player that had viewed older athletes so intriguing, so being on the other side of it now is something that I wouldn’t trade for anything,” Torres said.

Game days at Strahan Arena also show exactly the kind of inspiration these players have passed onto the younger generation, as the stadium is filled nightly with young fans and aspiring collegiate athletes.

Lee said that her favorite part is hearing the young fans scream her name in the crowd, and understands how important it is to remain a good role model for the kids.

“You don’t realize how important your work is on a small or large scale until you see those kids lining up on autograph day and telling you they loved your energy on the court,” Lee said. “That’s awesome because even when I’m not having the best game, it can be really uplifting.”

Huiet realizes the growth coaching can offer these young girls and believes that the benefits of learning from athletes at the collegiate level can certainly help them grow on and off the court.

“It allows them to show younger athletes what it takes to play at our level and the hard work it took to get here,” Huiet said. “The other part I love is watching the young ones realize that our athletes are human— they like to laugh, have fun, make mistakes and were once doing these camps as well.”

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