While getting ready to start the match against arch rival Stevenson High School, the coach gives the team a pep talk about how the players should try their best, practice good sportsmanship, get every ball back, and, most importantly, have fun. This philosophy describes Leslie Tracy–mother, Carmel High School girls’ assistant tennis coach, and Pebble Beach tennis pro–perfectly. Her face lights up with a smile when she teaches the Carmel team both mechanical skills and life skills to help the team grow as people on and off the court. After a long tennis career of playing in tennis tournaments nationally, she chose to give back to the community by coaching. She started assistant coaching the Carmel team two years ago.
“I enjoy working with the girls,” Tracy says. “I also love to help them with life skills, and it’s a great way to give back.”
By coaching with such compassion, she is admired by all of the players on the team.
“Leslie has taught the team sportsmanship and how to use that on and off the court,” singles player Dillan Chiewpanich claims. “She is teaching us vital life skills through helping us with our tennis.”
Being a second-year assistant coach, Tracy has made a drastic impact not only with teaching sportsmanship, but through her compassion to the team.
“Leslie is so kind because she always asks us how our day is going and always talks to us about managing stress and staying happy,” second-year CHS player Dana Donaldson claims. “She is always willing to help us with tennis or anything else no matter what the circumstances are.”
With so much coaching and playing experience, Coach Tracy has learned that tennis can teach life lessons and help people understand how to handle hard situations.
“Tennis is a microcosm for life,” she claims. “You learn how you react and handle yourself in tough situations, and it teaches you so many important life lessons.”
Tracy has a great deal of tennis experience, a lot of which was acquired during college. Tracy attended the University of the Pacific in Stockton on a tennis scholarship and played in many national tournaments, allowing her the opportunity to travel worldwide and learn important life skills.
During college and playing tournaments, the tennis star was ranked 6th nationally in doubles and 97th in singles. Since she was ranked so high, she qualified for the NCAA competition in Florida during college. She also won second place in the state of California.
“I loved to compete,” Tracy claims. “Yet losing was the best thing I could have been through because it taught me how to handle losing and how to be a good loser on and off the court.”
The four-year tennis star loved every minute of her time on her college team. She and her team became a family, and she made some of her best friends from playing on the college team.
After her renowned tennis legacy in college, she put tennis on hold to start her family. She has two children, Lauren and Scotty, ages 18 and 15.
Daughter Lauren admires her mother for everything she does on and off the court.
“My mom is a really hard worker on and off the court, and I really admire her,” Lauren affirms. “She does a good job of picking drills and games that she thinks everyone will enjoy. She tries to make sure everyone is included and having fun.”
Before her coaching career started, Tracy’s life changed when she fell ill during her first pregnancy. Her tennis career was never quite the same afterwards.
“I hemorrhaged the retina in my eye, causing a blind spot,” Tracy states. “This made it difficult to compete at a high level afterwards.”
Yet, even though she could not compete like she used to, the dedicated mother mentions how motherhood was even better than playing.
“I was just a mom,” she mentions, “and that was the best thing that I could have done.”
As well as her renowned tennis legacy and time as a mother, she was also involved in other activities throughout high school. She was Associated Student Body secretary and won the state championships in badminton in high school.
Tracy has had a long career of tennis fame throughout her life. Most importantly, she has made a significant impact in the lives of the entire Carmel girls’ tennis team, along with the lives of the tennis community throughout the Monterey Peninsula. Her kindness and dedication to tennis and her family shines and has a significant impact on the lives of everyone around her.