FAQ

What Do You Do As a Pickleball Coach and Consultant?

I coach players who are serious about learning the game of pickleball, improving their skills, and obtaining an official skill-level rating. I also consult with clubs and organizations interested in developing high-quality pickleball programs and growing more loyal promoters.

What Coaching and Consulting Services Do You Offer?

Visit the Services section of this website for a description of the programs and services I offer individuals, groups, clubs, recreation centers, and health and fitness facilities.

Coach Mark with client Sally Harper discussing her Skill Level Improvement Plan

How Do You Protect the Safety of Players?

Coach Mark’s #1 priority is the safety of every client. This includes making sure court surfaces are playable and stopping play when balls come onto the court. And because of Covid-19, Coach Mark adheres to all rules established by local health authorities as well as facility managers of the venues where coaching is conducted. To further mitigate risk, Coach Mark primarily works one-on-one with players or in small groups. In addition, Coach Mark received both shots of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine in April of 2021.

Where Do You Coach and Teach Pickleball?

I’ve been fortunate to secure teaching and coaching privileges at the Birch Bay Activity Center as well as on a private court at Lake Whatcom in Bellingham, Washington. I also coach pickleball at clubs or facilities where members are permitted to invite me in as their guest.

Do You Play Pickleball Tournaments?

Yes, I like to test my skills in tournament competition. For example, I used my 2021 Winter Trip to Surprise, Arizona to play five tournaments, including four mixed doubles and three singles events. I was very fortunate to meet and partner with a talented and tenacious player by the name of Judy Musgrave. The results?

  • 2021 Arizona PIG Chase #1: 4.0, 50+ Mixed Doubles (Gold)
  • 2021 AAU Tournament: 4.0 Senior Mixed (Silver) and Under 50 Mixed (Gold)
  • PPA Grand Slam Qualifier: 4.0, 60+ Men’s Singles (Silver)
  • 2021 Wickenburg Winter Blast: 4.0 Senior Mixed (Gold)
Five medals in seven events (four in mixed doubles and one in singles). Not a bad result for my 2021 Winter Trip to Arizona!

What is Your Coaching Philosophy and Model?

My coaching philosophy is “Play Low and Slow.” My coaching model is summarized by “Control Plus Consistency Equals Confidence.” I also have a value proposition: “I’ll Get You Ready for the Next Level”.

Why Should I Hire You as My Coach?

There are five reasons:

First, I have a skill set and background that differentiates me from other pickleball instructors and coaches. I’m an IPTPA Level 2 Certified Teaching Professional and Rating Specialist with a 4.5 level skills rating. I had 50 years of tennis playing and 10 years of tennis coaching experience before picking up the sport of pickleball. Plus, I had 35 years experience in the workplace as a business and training consultant helping people learn new skills and improve performance.

Second, I practice “diagnosis before prescription.” This means I carefully analyze skills based on IPTPA requirements and seek to understand your personal goals (e.g., advancement from 3.0 to 3.5 or 3.5 to 4.0). Then, I design an action plan of lessons, drills, and practice sessions to help improve skills and performance.

Third, I blend a methodical approach to learning with a friendly and supportive coaching style to help you improve control, consistency, and confidence. Whatever your level of skill, my job is to make learning fun and provide actionable feedback you can use to improve sustainably.

Fourth, I know how to feed balls consistently and vary the pace to match your skill level or development goal. Having a coach that knows how to feed balls is essential for a high-quality learning or drilling experience (a fact many players as well as coaches/instructors take for granted). Coach Mark was required to demonstrate ball feeding skills before becoming an IPTPA Certified Teaching Professional and Rating Specialist.

Fifth, my coaching fees are competitive at $40/hour plus tax. And, the fee can be shared by up to four players participating in the same session.

Why Do You Emphasize “Play Low and Slow”?

Coach Mark with Jean Allen and Jill Reimers at the Semiahmoo Resort indoor courts in January 2020

Play Low and Slow emphasizes defense, consistency, strategy, and teamwork. The goal is to take control of game tempo, play aggressive (“hard and fast”) when appropriate, and force opponents into making mistakes or popping up balls for easy winners. When others play low and slow, you experience fun and exciting rallies of 20+ shots instead of frustrating rallies that last only 3-4 shots.

Another way of thinking about Play Low and Slow is this: Now that you’ve learned how to play pickleball, are you ready to learn how pickleball should be played?

Do You Belong to a Pickleball Club?

Yes, I’m a member of the Bellingham Pickleball Club of Bellingham, Washington. As well, I have the good fortune of playing with a very talented group of advanced players (from both sides of the border) at Birch Bay Village in Birch Bay, Washington.

What Pickleball Paddles Do You Recommend?

I recommend the Vulcan Sporting Goods line of paddles. As a Player Ambassador for Vulcan, I provide my clients with demo paddles to test and I also help them save money on any purchase. More information is available at this link on the Coach Mark website.

Does the Coach Mark LLC Website Have a Privacy Policy?

Yes, you can go to Privacy and Cookie Policy and Terms of Service for more information.

How Can I Get in Touch With You?

Go to the Contact page of this website. I welcome the opportunity to help you learn how to Play Low and Slow, develop more Control, Consistency, and Confidence, and Get Ready for the Next Level.