Finding a good instructor

Thanks to the Internet and social media you can find dozens of nearly anything you want. However, finding something you need of good quality is a different story. We recently sent back three different garden pagodas before we got one we could live with. (We give thanks daily for liberal return policies.)

Same applies to everything in our pickleball world, too. But it’s not just the material stuff,it’s the stuff where “good” is harder to measure. Since we get asked regularly on this site for recommendations for instruction, instructors, or clinics, we got to thinking that it might be a good thing to examine how you can tell for yourself if an instructor or clinician is worth the money, and hopefully in advance of hiring them, either for yourself or for your club. The following are a few rules we follow and suggest you might follow as well:

  1. In these days, when everyone who is 4.0 or above seems to consider themselves not only an expert player but an expert coach, weeding out the wheat from the chaff is a way to start. We tend to look for certified instructors first. The certification programs we most admire are those offered by the ITPTA (internation Pickleball Teaching Professiona Association).The founder of that group is Seymour Rifkin. He’s a good guy with a terrific personal sports background himself. There may be others as good but that’s our first stop in finding instructors. Once you find someone in your area than get referrals. More than any one thing we look to referrals for the straight scoop, although often we’ve had to cull through the referrals to find one we thought was written by someone other than the instructor’s mother.
  2. Clinics are another animal. The credentials a person needs to handle a 25- or 100-person clinic are somewhat different than the credentials of an instructor. We lose track of how many clinics we’ve arranged for clubs…dozens, anyway. Some are good, some aren’t, a few a great. Cost is also a consideration. Unless you’re a fanatic we don’t recommend the “boot camp” approach generally. Sticking your head in a fire-hose f information and/or practice over two days isn’t a guarantee you will remember anything. And get recommendations.
  3. Doing some networking also works. Call your other nearby clubs. Or else call one of the few truly big clinician names in the game. our facility or stick around to be your full time instructor but may know somebody with his vast network of contacts. He’s also worth having out for a seminar IOHO. Please post back if you have success through either of these venues…and if you do something different entirely as well. For instance, you could call Prem Carnot, the Pickleball Guru. He maintains a huge list and vast network of contacts. He’s also worth having out for a seminar IOHO. Please post back if you have success through these approaches…and if you do something different entirely as well!
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