FAQ

What Do You Do As a Pickleball Teaching Professional?

I train and coach players who want to learn pickleball, improve their skills and gameplay performance, and achieve a higher skill-level rating. I also consult with clubs, organizations, and entrepreneurs who want to develop high-quality pickleball programs or facilities and grow 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 personalized Skill Development 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. I also coach at clubs or facilities where members are permitted to invite me in as their guest.

What New Initiative Are You Most Excited About?

The newest initiative at Coach Mark LLC is a partnership with the Birch Bay Activity Center to start and grow a Junior Development Training Center. In February 2022, Coach Mark became a Certified Junior Pickleball Instructor through IPTPA, the International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association. Also in February 2022, the Birch Bay Activity Center became an official IPTPA Junior Development Training Center.

You can read more about this initiative on the IPTPA website at this link.

What is Your Coaching Philosophy and Model?

My coaching philosophy is “Play Slower and Lower.” 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 business and training consultant (in my first career) 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 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 coaching fees are competitive at $40/hour plus tax (not including applicable guest or court access fees at venues where I instruct or train). And, this per hour 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 Focus on Play Slower and Lower and the Slow Game?

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

Play Slower and Lower (and the Slow Game) focuses on mastering the control and consistency required to hit all nine shots in pickleball from anywhere on the court. The benefit? When you slow the game down with quality drop, dink, drive, volley, and reset shots, you upset the rhythm of opponents. This enables you to control game tempo, produce high balls (popups) that you or your partner can easily put away, and win more games, matches, and medals!

What Pickleball Clubs or Organizations Do You Belong To?

I’m a member of the Bellingham and Skagit Valley Pickleball Clubs in northwest Washington. I’m also a member of USA Pickleball and Pickleball Canada, in addition to maintaining memberships in my three professional associations (International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association, Professional Pickleball Registry, and Pickleball Coaching International).

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