How to know when you’re ready to coach pickleball
Q&A with Coach Emory Clark
Coach Emory Clark is a PE teacher in South Fulton. He’s also a certified pickleball coach with Agape Tennis Academy.
Coach Clark became a member of Team PCKL after looking for a quality product at a good price point he could recommend to his clients. He sat down with us to share tips for anyone interested in starting their own pickleball clinic.
How did you get into pickleball coaching?
I learned pickleball 20 years ago in school. But in 2017, I wanted to make a little extra money while also doing something I’m passionate about: helping people stay active and healthy. So I actually led a walking group — it was for middle-aged people starting their fitness journey. We would end a lot of walks at the pickleball courts and play some games. People loved it. And it gained so much traction that I thought, “maybe I can start giving pickleball lessons.”
What does coaching look like for you today?
I started coaching at Agape Tennis Academy in 2020. I mainly coach beginners there three days a week and give private lessons two other days a week. Lessons look like 60-75 minute sessions with less than eight people to a group.
How does someone know when they’re ready to start a clinic?
If you can write and follow a lesson plan, you’re ready to start.
What could someone’s first clinic look like?
You should go with what you know. Write a lesson plan that breaks down basic skills of pickleball. And start small — hosting no more than four people at a time. You could then have them play a few points and see what skills they need to work on. You should also look into certifications. They grow your knowledge and build credibility.
What’s the biggest challenge of leading a clinic?
Adapting to different skill levels. Because you’ll teach people who have never hit a ball to people who come from an experienced tennis background.
What cool opportunities have come from coaching pickleball?
I self-published a book about pickleball. It’s called Ava Armstrong the Pickleball Princess, and it’s about a little girl who just wants to play pickleball! I’ve also used pickleball to help girl scouts earn their sports badge. They learn how to set up a portable net, mark the court, and play.