Coaching spotlight: Codie George inspired after learning from the best | 12 June, 2024 | All News | News and Features | News and Events

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Codie George is a coach at Tennis Australia’s National Tennis Academy and works closely with rising Perth teen Talia Gibson.

Brisbane, Australia, 12 June 2024 | Leigh Rogers

Codie George has turned a love of tennis into a successful and fulfilling career.

“Tennis has been a huge part of my life since I picked up a racquet at six,” George told tennis.com.au.

“I played a lot as a junior in the Northern Territory and then South Australia. Obviously as a kid your aspirations are around playing, not coaching in any sport.

“But when I had wrist surgery at 16, I started helping out at my local club behind the desk and got called out one day to help with the Hot Shots Tennis program. I thought it was going to be a nightmare, but I really enjoyed it and it just kept growing from there.”

Now, 15 years later, George is one of Australia’s leading high-performance coaches.

Following stints working as a private coach and with Tennis SA, the 31-year-old is currently a member of Tennis Australia’s National Tennis Academy coaching team.

George works closely with rising star Talia Gibson and was invited by Sam Stosur to support Australia’s Billie Jean King Cup team during their recent Qualifier tie in Brisbane.

> READ: Codie George steps into new role with Australia’s Billie Jean King Cup team

“Coaching can be very challenging, but ultimately very rewarding,” George said.

“Every day is different and in my current role I am getting to do so many different things, including the recent opportunity with the Billie Jean King Cup.

“I have been doing a lot of travelling in the past 2.5 years since moving to Brisbane, which are experiences I would never otherwise have had.”

The personal development opportunities are also huge, according to George.

“You have to learn to have patience and figure out different ways of implementing change,” she explained. “A big part of the job is problem solving different ways to get your message across so that it is understood.

“Coaching has definitely pushed me outside of my comfort zone. I moved interstate for the NTA role, am spending a lot of weeks on the road and am constantly around great tennis people who have been in the sport for a long time.”

She credits working under Milo Bradley, Sandon Stolle and Brent Larkham for a lot of her learnings, with Rohan Fisher and Belinda Colaneri having also been huge supporters both professionally and personally from the start of her coaching journey.

“I definitely credit having any sort of career in tennis to the great people I have been around and have had the opportunity to learn from,” George said.

“Dave Taylor had had a huge influence on my coaching too and I couldn’t be more grateful for his mentorship. His passion and wealth of knowledge about the women’s game is off the charts. He always says ‘stick to your line’, which is about having conviction in your messaging and to what you believe as a coach.”

George is especially grateful for the support from her partner Colin Ebelthite, a former pro player and fellow National Tennis Academy coach.

“I’m sure there is an unhealthy amount of tennis chat at times,” she laughed. “But I have probably learnt the most from him. He has a great tennis brain.”

Finding time for loved ones, friends and family is one of the biggest challenges that George faces as a full-time travelling coach, however she recognises it is a sacrifice that comes with the role.

“There’s a lot of travel, but it has to be done and I enjoy getting to see the world,” she said.

“It’s great to see lots of different places and tennis environments. Seeing what the playing and coaching level is like all over the world has really helped me as well.”

George is encouraged by the progress of her charge, 19-year-old Gibson, who peaked at a career-high singles ranking of world No.179 this week.

“My coaching philosophy is about the importance of the training standards you consistently bring each day,” George said. “That is where the magic happens.

“Talia has made a conscious effort to step up her physicality, intensity and intent, and in doing so, has made a lot of improvements.”

Talia Gibson in action at an ITF tournament in Portugal.

Talia Gibson in action at an ITF tournament in Portugal.

Such improvements have filled George with pride.

“I enjoy seeing growth in something that I’ve helped be a part of,” she said.

“Working on things each day, then seeing that transfer into matches under pressure. It’s the small things that I get the most fulfilment out of, rather than any specific result. And that’s the same whether I’m on court with a 10-year-old or with the Billie Jean King Cup team.”

George, a beneficiary of Tennis Australia’s President’s Women in Tennis Scholarship program, admits her own career trajectory has been surprising.

“It definitely wasn’t how I thought it was going to go when I first started coaching,” she noted of her ambitions of working in the high-performance space.

“But it is a great career to pursue, with so many different roles and avenues that you can go down in tennis, whether it is off court or on court. There are a lot of opportunities, and at the moment a lot of opportunities for females in sport as well.

“I’m lucky I’ve always been surrounded by people that had belief in me too.”

Read more in our Coaching Spotlight series:
> Brad Boynton: A local leader uniting a rural community
> Brad Dyer: Embracing journey with rising star Taylah Preston
> Alwyn Musumeci: A young leader with big dreams
> Annabel Taylor: Former Australian No.1 now guiding next generation
> Lara Walker: Proudly inspiring young girls

Find your way to play: Visit play.tennis.com.au to get out on court and have some fun!

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