FAQ

What Do You Do As a Pickleball Coach and Consultant?

I coach players who are serious about learning pickleball, improving skills and gameplay performance, and achieving a higher 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 of eight or less. In addition, Coach Mark received both shots of the Pfizer vaccine in spring 2021 as well as the booster shot in fall 2021.

Here’s a copy of the Coach Mark LLC liability waiver he asks all new clients to sign at their first session. Note the first paragraph of this waiver attesting to full vaccination status.

Where Do You Teach and Coach Pickleball?

I provide programs, private lessons, and Coach Mark training sessions at the Birch Bay Activity Center in Birch Bay, Washington where I’m the Pickleball Teaching Pro. I also teach, coach, and train with clients at a private court in Bellingham, Washington and at the Semiahmoo Resort in Blaine, Washington where I’m a member of the Health and Fitness Club. I also work at clubs or facilities where members are permitted to invite me in as their guest.

What is Your Coaching Philosophy and Model?

My coaching philosophy is “Play Lower and Slower.” 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 very different background from other pickleball instructors and coaches. I’m an IPTPA Level 2 Certified Teaching Professional and Rating Specialist with a 4.5 skills rating. I’m also a Certified Pro through PPR and a Certified Coach through PCI. Plus, I had 50 years of tennis playing and 10 years of tennis teaching experience before picking up the sport of pickleball. Finally, I had 35 years experience as a management and business consultant designing and implementing systems to assess, measure, and improve organizational and human performance.

Second, I personalize my training plans, drills, and Coach Mark sessions to match your strengths and talents. Although there are core mechanics (or fundamentals) essential for hitting any shot in pickleball, I do not believe in forcing players to play like me or follow a system or structure that is rigid or inflexible. There are many ways to develop pickleball skills and it’s my job as your “personal pickleball trainer” to accelerate learning and performance.

Third, I use the IPTPA Skill Level Rating System to guide assessment, training, and improvement plans. This System is used worldwide by IPTPA Certified Teaching Professionals and Rating Specialists to objectively test and develop the skills and performance of players. An IPTPA rating is a straightforward, reliable, and trustworthy measure of skill as compared to the inaccurate and misleading results created by complicated tournament rating algorithms.

Fourth, I know how to feed balls consistently and vary the pace to match your skill level or development goal (clients call me the “human ball machine”). 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 his ball feeding skills before becoming an IPTPA Certified Teaching Professional and Rating Specialist.

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

What Kind of Feedback Do You Receive From Clients?

In my October 2021 Coach Mark Survey, I asked clients for feedback about the delivery of my pickleball coaching programs and services. I received positive comments and tangible feedback for improvement. On the all important question – “how likely are you to recommend? – I received an average score of 9.9 (on a 0-10 point scale).

My goal at Coach Mark LLC is to ensure clients are happy and pleased!

You can read some of the comments I’ve received from my growing Family of Loyal Promoters over the last two years at this link.

Have Any of Your Clients Achieved a Higher IPTPA Rating?

In 2021, eighteen Coach Mark clients earned a higher skill level rating from the International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association (IPTPA). And, all of these clients are aiming to advance to the next level of skill in the next 12-18 months. In addition, I have another eight clients (as of January 2, 2022) who are starting their journeys to pass the skill and performance tests required to earn an initial or higher IPTPA skill level rating.

Why Do You Emphasize “Play Lower and Slower”?

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

Play Lower and Slower 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.

What Pickleball Clubs or Organizations Do You Belong To?

I’m a member of the Bellingham and Skagit Valley Pickleball Clubs in northwest Washington. As well, I have the good fortune of playing with a talented group of players (from both sides of the border) at Birch Bay Village in Birch Bay, Washington during the spring and summer.

I’m also a member of USA Pickleball and Pickleball Canada, in addition to maintaining membership in my professional associations (IPTPA, PPR, and PCI).

What Pickleball Paddles Do You Recommend?

I recommend the Vulcan Sporting Goods line of paddles. As a Player Ambassador for Vulcan, I provide Coach Mark clients with demo paddles to test. More information is available at this link.

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 Lower and Slower, develop more Control, Consistency, and Confidence, and Get Ready for the Next Level.