Exmouth tennis teen Josie Culliford targets a bright future on and off the court

PUBLISHED: 17:44 20 March 2019

Exmouth tennis player and coach Josie Culliford. Picture LISA CULLIFORD

Exmouth tennis player and coach Josie Culliford. Picture LISA CULLIFORD

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Exmouth teenager Josie Culliford, an Exeter College 'A' level student, has successfully completed her level three tennis coaching qualification just three weeks after her 18th birthday.

Josie is a member of Exeter College Tennis Academy as well as East Devon Tennis Academy and the Devon County Squad. Josie had previously achieved her levels one and two as a coaching assistant and passed her first aid course, gained her safeguarding certificate and completed the competitions organisers training.

Having qualified as a coaching assistant, she secured several positions at Budleigh Tennis Club, Seaton Tennis Club, the Tennis for Free programme at Cowick Barton and more recently at Exmouth Tennis Centre.

Josie started concentrating on tennis when about 12 years old after Derek Blackmore, the performance coach at Exmouth, saw her play during an Easter holiday programme at the indoor centre.

Since then, Josie has represented the county on many occasions at 14U, 18U and in the ladies’ county team.

In 2015 she qualified in the Road to Wimbledon competition to represent the county on the grass courts of SW19 where she got to play on Court 19 and more recently she represented the South West Region at the Association of Colleges Championships.

She became 18U county singles and doubles champion last summer and she will represent the SW region at the college nationals again next month.

Josie intends to continue with coaching throughout university, where she will undertake a Sports Science degree and hopes to integrate her passion for tennis with future career.

She thoroughly enjoys doubles matches, particularly in the local leagues.

Whilst she loves competitive team tennis she likes to emphasise the fun aspect above all else as she has seen too many players give up the sport when it gets too serious.

Josie would love to get more girls involved in the sport too and to help them retain their interest as they often abandon it as teenagers.

Josie had the privilege of meeting Judy Murray, promoting the ‘She Rallies’ programme two years ago, which inspired her interest in the drive for girls being kept interested in sport.

Even as a young teen Josie was always mindful of the impact on confidence big losses can have and has been known to allow (discreetly) her opponent to win games in a set so they don’t feel so bad and give up a sport that should be enjoyable and about the taking part, not just the winning!

For Josie, it’s all about playing well herself.

Any win, of course, is a bonus, but it is not seen as the ‘be all and end all’ with enjoyment being a huge part of the sport.

She also promotes fair play and respect for the opponent as being a very important facet of the game.

If you have a child interested in taking up tennis and particularly if they would prefer a female coach, Josie can be found coaching at any of the above venues where she would be happy to talk to you and your child about how they can get involved in tennis.

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