Thursday, December 2, 2021

Finding the Right Instructor 

Coach Wayne’s Corner

Submitted Photos

Like many other professions, qualified tennis and pickleball instructors receive certification from their perspective sports professional organizations.  

In tennis, the USPTA (United States Professional Tennis Association) and the PTR (Professional Tennis Registry) are the two governing organizations who certify qualified instructors.  

In pickleball, the USPTA has partnered with the IPTPA (International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association) and the PTR has partnered with the USAPA (USA Pickleball Association) and formed the PPR (Professional Pickleball Registry). 

Most pickleball clubs, facilities, academies, etc. that provide clinics and lessons to their players require that the instructors are certified by either one or both of the above-mentioned organizations, so that wherever you go you know that you should be training with a qualified instructor. It’s like hiring any other individual professional for services; you can be assured by all the diplomas and certificates hanging on their walls that they are knowledgeable, qualified, and experienced in their profession. 

So, with all of that out of the way, making sure you are happy and satisfied with the results when you plop down $75 to $100 for a private lesson really comes down to personalities. 

I have been seeing the same doctor for my annual yearly physicals for over 20 years. While there are several other doctors in the area I could choose to go to, I go to him because I like his bedside manneraka, his personality. The same thing is true with my dentist, my CPA, my realtor, etc.



Like a doctor and a patient, the individual relationship between a coach and a player in the sports of pickleball and tennis is different than the group relation between coaches and players in team sports. 

Sustaining a good relationship between player and coach is like sustaining a good relationship in a marriage; it is a team effort by both participants.  

A player and a coach need to understand and accept the fact that there will be ups and downs in their relationship. You will experience good lessons, great lessons, and yes, at times, frustrating and challenging lessons. There will be times when you get along and everything’s great, and there will be times when you disagree and argue, and things will be not so great. There may be times where one or both partners of the team may feel the relationship is no longer working. When this occurs, it is important that both player and coach know when to ask questions and when to listen to answers. 

Most importantly, a player and a coach need to grow together. 

Having a good relationship with your coach is a vital part of your game, and that relationship is crucial to the ongoing success of your goals and accomplishments in your pickleball life. 

Finally, just because you go to the dance with your steady date, doesn’t mean you can’t occasionally dance with another partner. Take a clinic or a lesson when you’re away on vacation, it’s kind of like a girls or boys night out. Every relationship needs a break from one another every now and then.  

Wayne Clark is a professional tennis instructor with over 25 years’ experience coaching players on all levels of the game. Wayne is also qualified in pickleball instruction and is on staff as an instructor with The Pickleball Academy of Southwest Florida at East Naples Community Park. Contact Coach Wayne by email at, or by phone or text at 239-450-6161. 



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