Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the country. With a current estimate of 2.5 million participants and an estimated 8 million participants in the next couple of years, establishing standards for the pickleball teaching professional has become a priority. We have players seeking instruction for their own personal improvement being taught by tennis and racquetball professionals who do not have a background in pickleball. At other times, we have well meaning pickleball players trying to help players while providing poor or sometimes incorrect instruction. Beginner and intermediate players are being taught tennis or racquetball strokes such as driving the ball with power without developing the consistency of a dink game or understanding the importance of a 3rd shot drop.
Developing Minimum Teaching Standards
In order to protect players and the demand for proper instruction, the International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association (IPTPA) was formed. (see list of founding members) This first wave of instructors is meant to provide MINIMUM standards of teaching. Its primary objective is to distinguish those who understand the rules of play, have a thorough knowledge of the strategy, shot selections and proper stroke development specific to pickleball, while being able to consistently demonstrate those skills. These objectives will be met through a series of exams. The first will be a pass/fail 50 question written exam where the applicant must meet a minimum standard of 80%. Upon successful completion, the applicant will be required to take a skills exam (see video for required elements) where a minimum score of 80% will also be required to pass. Finally, the applicant will be observed teaching a one-hour lesson. It is the applicants responsibility to contact the director of a training/testing center (see list of centers) near you, while supplying a student for the observed lesson. Once all tests have successfully been completed the candidate will be eligible for membership. Acceptance to IPTPA is complete after receiving member dues. Dues must be paid on annual basis to maintain membership.
Certification is the First Step
Passing a series of exams and being observed teaching a one-hour lesson will not guarantee a great teacher. What it will guarantee is that the certified instructor understands the rules of play, and has a thorough knowledge of the strokes, strategies and proper shot selections specific to pickleball. There are a number of factors that contribute to a great coach. Teachers and coaches spend a minimum of 4 years getting a degree in education while taking classes in psychology, theory of sport and many others in order to get prepared for a career in education and coaching. Even after all the schooling that is required we´ve experienced great and poor teachers and coaches. Therefore, certification is simply the first step in what the IPTPA considers a full-time commitment to improving your skills as an instructor. The IPTPA will be providing workshops, seminars and other learning opportunities throughout the year in an effort to continue each instructors´ improvement level.
Continue Your Training
Each instructor will be required to earn 2 continuing education units (CEU´s)/ year in order to maintain their status as a certified pickleball teaching professional. Earning CEU´s will be available in a number of ways, some originating from the IPTPA, while others will be contributions in the form of articles, video´s training tips etc. from the certified pickleball teaching professional. This will encourage two way interaction between the association and it´s members. OUR association is only as strong as the commitment and value our members place in it. So visit our website often for specific opportunities.