Coach Matthew Lowry: Building Relationships Beyond Basketball
Coach Matthew Lowry, the Will C. Wood Women’s Basketball Varsity Coach and program director of the Travis Lady Jets travel basketball team, is a coach who cares deeply about his athletes. In speaking with him, it was easy to tell that he not only wanted his players to succeed on the court, but off the court as well. “You do not know what these players are going through off the court. Have them send you their club schedule. Be a coach that cares.”
Through building strong relationships with his athletes, Coach Lowry would oftentimes have it happen to where his athletes would call him first for different things going on in their lives, completely unrelated to basketball. Additionally, it was not unusual for his current athletes to buy him a ticket to their graduation. It was easy to tell that building strong relationships with his athletes and seeing them develop on and off the court is the reason why he coaches to this day.
How does a coach build lasting relationships with his athletes? For many, this can be one of the most difficult aspects of coaching basketball. However, being able to improve in this area as a coach will bring an entire new meaning to coaching basketball. Coach Lowry was able to share a story relating to one of his former athletes.
It was a typical Saturday for Coach Lowry, who was in yet another gymnasium watching a basketball game. As he watched, he noticed one girl in particular who played really aggressively and with a lot of passion. These two qualities are exactly what he loves to see within his own travel team, the Travis Lady Jets. After the game, he met up with the girl’s parents and asked them where she was playing travel basketball. The girl’s parents said that she used to play on a travel team that Coach Lowry was familiar with, but they are currently still looking for what team she is going to play for next.
In the interview, Coach Lowry shared how he could tell that this player needed some guidance. So, he asked the parents if she could join his team. They happily agreed to have her play. Fast forward to the middle of her season, Coach Lowry decided to show up to one of her games. All of the sudden, the girl goes running out the door in the middle of the game in tears, upset about her individual and team’s performance.
Instead of disciplining this athlete for acting out in the middle of the game, Coach Lowry decided to show compassion. After the game, he went over to the girl and told her, “You are with me now. While I understand why you are upset, this cannot fly with my program. But let this be your fuel”. This brief yet powerful conversation, was the initial building block for Coach Lowry in developing a strong relationship with this athlete.
Like every athlete and coach relationship, there were ups and downs. However, as time went on, she began to trust him more. Eventually, their relationship was able to get to the point where she would start to share with Coach Lowry different things going on in her life. The more he got to know her, the better their relationship got. Soon, the better he was able to coach her. Although she is no longer playing basketball, Coach Lowry still keeps in contact with her as they have been able to build a lasting relationship, beyond just the game of basketball.
One piece of advice that Coach Lowry shared in how he is able to build strong relationships with his athletes was to constantly remind them that once basketball is done, he is still going to be there for them. Be a coach that that makes a difference in the lives of others.
Currently, Coach Lowry is now heading into his 8th year in coaching, his 2nd as the Head Coach for the Will C. Wood Women’s Varsity Basketball Team. In the prior season, they finished 13-11 and were able to make the playoffs. The Will C. Wood Women’s Basketball team will be a lot of fun to watch in the 2022-2023 season as Coach Lowry uses his “coaching beyond the game of basketball” mindset to help the team win a championship.
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