Coach’s Corner – Think in Themes

March 28, 2024

Mark Renneson

If you’re a pickleball coach, there’s a good chance that you have to plan and name your clinics. While it might be tempting to describe the target audience, this is probably not your most effective approach for stimulating interest in what you have to offer.

Calling the session things like: novice clinic; Intermediate training; or advanced pickleball doesn’t do a whole lot to generate excitement in the mind of your potential players. Well, you might be a fantastic teacher, the lessons sound, well, boring!

It’s not much better to call your program based on the skill rating of the players you intend it to serve: 2.5 training; 3.0-3.5 clinic; 4.0+; etc.. Again, boring!

Instead, consider organizing your clinics according to a specific theme. Some examples I’ve used in the past include: How to Beat Bangers; Defence Wins Championships; All About Spin. All of these do a better job of giving your potential players an idea of what they will be learning about and that makes it more enticing for them to sign up. Of course, you still need to indicate the skill level you’re serving, but you can put that into the description or as an additional callout on the flyer.

Feel free to play around with subtitles too! Other themes I’ve used that we have found effective include: Starting Strong – How to Make the First 3 Shots Count; Turning the Tables – Transitioning from Defence to Offence; Super Third Shots — Everything You Need to Know About Drops, Drives and Lobs.

By organizing your lessons according to themes, your students will have a better idea of what they’re getting themselves into. It will also help you as the coach offer distinct lessons that hang together in the systematic way. There’s lots of room to be creative here, so have fun playing around with different concepts and different titles. But whatever you do, start thinking thematically!

Mark Renneson is Tennis Canada’s Head of Pickleball Coach Education. He oversees Canada’s National Pickleball Instructor Certification Program which is a joint project between Tennis Canada and Pickleball Canada. He can be reached at