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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Carrasco transitions to coach

Alex+Kulpinski+%2F+Arizona+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0AMens+Tennis+Assistant+Coach+Andres+Carrasco+takes+practice+swings+at+the+Robson+Tennis+Center+Wednesday+morning.++
Alex Kulpinski
Alex Kulpinski / Arizona Daily Wildcat Mens Tennis Assistant Coach Andres Carrasco takes practice swings at the Robson Tennis Center Wednesday morning.

Hitting the courts has a new meaning for former Arizona men’s tennis player Andres Carrasco. Instead of the usual routine of warmups, drills and cool-downs, he now stands on the sidelines as a volunteer coach for the Wildcats.

“It’s a completely different role. It’s not about yourself anymore, but about others,” said Carrasco, who played his final season at Arizona last year. “My motivation comes from helping others improve their game and also their mental ability.”

Carrasco’s love for the game began at the young age of 4. Up until age 17, the Spain native was determined to be a professional tennis player. But due to an ongoing battle with a herniated disc, Carrasco quickly realized that becoming a pro was unrealistic.

But his love for the game did not waver, and at 19 years old, he decided to play at the collegiate level.

Carrasco joined the UA men’s tennis team in January 2007 to play alongside one of his close friends, Bruno Alcala. In his four-year career, Carrasco managed to earn the titles of Second Team Pac-10 All-Academic Team and Pac-10 All-Academic Honorable Mentions Honor.

“He was a big impact player and ranked number two in singles,” said sophomore men’s tennis player Kieren Thompson. “We are going to miss him as our captain, but are glad to have him come back and be a coach.”

Carrasco has been a captain for the men’s team for the last two years. Because of that, the transition from player to coach has been quite smooth.

“He continues showing leadership qualities when dealing with the guys,” head coach Tad Berkowitz said. “With such a young team this year, we are looking for one of them to step-up as the leader and Andres provides a great example of a leader.”

In his senior year at the UA, he knew volunteer coaching would be his next step in the tennis world.

“Andres is a good go-to guy for the guys on the team because he has been in their shoes,” Berkowitz said. “The fact that he also has a good understanding of both the players and the coaches’ expectations creates better communication for our team all around.”

Carrasco is also learning the behind-the-scenes dedication it takes to be a collegiate men’s tennis coach. From filling out extensive recruiting paperwork to organizing his multiple duties, Carrasco finds himself adapting to his new role.

“The first step to being a good coach is to be a ‘friend’ to your players since the way they feel emotionally will determine their performance in most cases,” Carrasco said. “However, there needs to be a balance in the relationship between me being their friend and me being their coach. As their coach, I expect to be respected and find that balance of friendship and coaching.”

Carrasco found this balance with his coaches while playing, which made his experience as a Wildcat “unbelievable.”

Carrasco also believes motivating players is important. He understands that being a tennis player is like being strapped into a “mental roller coaster” for a season, and having that voice of reason creates some sort of stability in a crazy time.

He hopes to one day be the head coach of a college men’s tennis team. Both Berkowitz and assistant coach Tom Lloyd have been helping him look for positions.

“He has made a good name for himself in the tennis world,” Berkowitz said. “As long as he continues to handle himself well and builds strong relationships he will be well on his way.”

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