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Josh Barrenechea, Junior Tennis Programs Coach

You may be thinking who is this ‘Josh’ that my kids keep talking about? Or you may even recognise him yourself from your visits to the lovely Saint Lucy’s.

Well, let us introduce Josh properly. Josh is one of our finest tennis coaches and he also heads up all UQ Sport Kids tennis coaching programs.

With his wealth of tennis playing experience (he’s a pretty mean opponent on court) and being only twenty-something himself, it’s unsurprising that he’s super popular with the younger players. His enthusiasm for the game is infectious and his energy on court makes him a firm favourite with our tennis kids.

On a rare off-court occasion, we were able to grab Josh for a Q and A session to see what he loves most about coaching the kids.

How long have you been coaching and how did you get started at UQ Sport?

“I’ve been coaching tennis for five years and worked in tennis centres before which were much smaller. So when the opportunity to work at UQ Sport came up, I thought it would be really good to work for a bigger organisation with a lot more on offer – 21 courtstennis programsgym… It was a no brainer.”

When did you start playing tennis?

“I started playing tennis when I was five. I played through school and at my local tennis club. I grew up in Brisbane and always played for Queensland Primary School boys. Though I probably started taking it really seriously when I was 10 or 11.

I represented Queensland and Australia in tournaments when I was 12. When I was 16 I played in Europe and Asia for a year, and then went to America and played for Vincennes University in Indiana.

I had a fair few injuries by the time I came back, so that’s when I started coaching. My uncle owned a tennis business so that’s really how it started. I always knew I wanted to do something in tennis but I was just never really sure what.”

What do you like most about tennis?

“I like the competitiveness. I’m really competitive and I love to win.”

What do you like most about coaching kids?

“I love seeing the kids’ progress and watching them grow up playing tennis is great too. It’s really rewarding to think that I’m helping them fall in love with a sport that they’ll hopefully keep playing throughout their life.

And they’re heaps of fun! I don’t think kids learn unless they’re laughing.”

What are your future goals?

“I want to keep coaching kids and watch my kids’ tennis skills develop. It’s great to watch them go from five years old to competitive games. I always try to give them the best chance at playing club-level tennis (or higher) but I hope that all the kids continue with the game. It’s such an awesome sport to play.”

What’s your advice for young tennis stars and their parents?

“It doesn’t matter how good you are when you start but putting in 100% will always make them come out better the other end. I really encourage parents to be involved. Seeing parents show their support is always great. The kids who do better always seem to have parents who are cheering them on off court.

UQ Sport has some really clear goals for how kids can progress. The new progression chart has really helped us and parents see where kids are with their tennis meaning that we can put them at the right level from the start.

We have everything here for kids, not just tennis but life lessons and a great environment for making friends too.

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