Zach Milne
ASU Student Journalist

From player to coach: Tim Mowery’s story

April 29, 2019 by Zach Milne, Arizona State University

Mowery leads his team's final practice of the season.

As St. Mary's season winds down, third-year tennis coach Tim Mowery is seeing improvement in his players. Continuing to improve is what Mowery is all about. 

From the beginning, Mowery has held the same values he had when he played tennis back in college. From playing to coaching, Mowery knew he would want to give the knowledge he learned from his coaches to younger players in tennis.

“When I started growing up playing more competitive tennis, the game became much more mental,” Mowery said. “Like anything in life, tennis or any other sport, you face a lot of adversity, and so you’re going to fail a lot. And being able to maintain that positivity that you think you can, because if you think you can you will.”

Mowery has been coaching since he was 16 years old while playing in high school, and he continues to love the game just as much as he did back then. He hopes that players like seniors Quentin Duran and Michael Fletez can learn something from him and take it with them for the rest of their lives.

Mowery has taught his team about more than just the game. As Fletez said, his head coach has helped him learn important lessons as a person, not just as a player.

“He’s taught me how to be respectful to others,” Fletez said. “Tennis-wise, he’s helped me with my shot completely. Before I was terrible at it. Now I’m pretty decent with it.”

Duran, who met Mowery before he became head coach, enjoys the friendship they have developed over the years.

“When a coach and an athlete have that special connection, in more of a friendship connection than coach, athlete ... it makes it easier to grow as a person and as an athlete,” Duran said.

Mowery had to gain the trust of his two current seniors when he came on board. The transition was easier for Duran, having known Mowery prior to him taking over as coach, while Fletez found the process a bit tougher. But he was able to adapt quickly thanks to Mowery’s coaching philosophy.

Mowery focuses on the bigger picture, and less about the little problems his players cannot control, such as the wind or the opponents’ calls. For him, prioritizing winning is not what tennis is about. Learning to be humble in defeat and accepting your failures as lessons is what helps build character as a person and tennis player.

Even now, as the season winds down, Mowery still coaches as if they have a brand new season ahead of them. Noticing small fixes now is what he believes will continue to help his players in the future.

“Even today, I was looking at their forehands and backhands and I noticed one player, his backhand is really awesome ... but in the forehand I noticed a little glitch,” Mowery said. “I said, "You know, let’s try moving your elbow closer to your body, making it more compact,' and in just 10 minutes his forehand was so much better.”