A Coach Development program that follows NCCP guidelines is one of the requirements for PCO to become registered/recognized as a national sport organization (NSO) and be eligible for funding through Sport Funding and Accountability Framework (SFAF) opportunities. It is also a requirement for some provincial/territorial organizations to become registered as a provincial sport organization. The program is intended to develop coaches and subsequently certify them, thus some refer to the program as Coach Development and others as Coach Certification. Either description is intended to cover both aspects.

A “Coach Certification Program Reading List” has been compiled to assist potential coach candidates in learning various aspects about the various models, processes and information that is helpful in developing a Coach Development program. This ”‘Coach Certification Program Reading List“ can de found at the end of this document.

A workgroup from Pickleball Association of Ontario (PAO) has started the development of a Pickleball Coach Development program, on behalf of PCO, and is expected to continue to do so, with guidance from PCO, and involvement from PCO and the provincial organizations.

Throughout the past year, PCO has communicated status to its members and has received numerous questions and expressions of interest. Here are answers to FAQ’s that we have either received or anticipate receiving.

1) When will the Coach Development program be complete?

A: Short-term: Pickleball Association of Ontario has been working for the last 18 months to develop a Coach Development Program, with a draft ready for review by June 2020.

2) Can I now start taking courses to become a Pickleball Coach?

A: Since we are in the process of creating the Pickleball Coach Development program, the course requirements are not yet final. However we have been in contact with the Coaching Association of Canada, and we have been advised that people can start training in multi-sport NCCP courses. The following are recommended:

  • Get Coaching (online course) [General interest – orientation to NCCP]
  • Coaching Basics (online course) [General interest – orientation to NCCP]
  • For the Community Initiation program to be developed, or anyone interested in coaching children:
  • Fundamental Movement Skills

For the Introduction to Competition program currently in development, the following are planned prerequisites:

  • Make Ethical Decisions (online course)
  • Nutrition (online course)
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Design a Basic Sports Program
  • Basic Mental Skills

It would also be advisable for the Intro to Competition coaches, at least, to take the Introduction to LTAD e-learning.

Please note that most courses are not free. The course cost will be stated either in the course description or be evident during the registration process.

To learn more about NCCP click here.

3) How do I sign up and register for courses?

A: Register for Fundamental Movement Skills

Get Coaching is a free online course and will not be credited on your Locker, and can be taken here . Make sure to watch all the videos framed and pinned with a red pin. Please start with the Navigation video.

Take Coach Initiation in Sport here

Registration for the other courses on the list above can be done via the Locker or calendar links.There is no particular order the modules need to be completed.

4) What if I want to take courses in another province?

A: The NCCP multi-sport curricula are offered Canada-wide. This link
shows the contacts for each province and territory. These contacts are called Provincial/Territorial Coaching Representatives (PTCR) and can facilitate your multi-sport training.

5) Is there a calendar showing course offerings?

A: For course calendars, it is best to contact the appropriate PTCR.

6) How do I register for pickleball specific coach training?

A: Once the pickleball specific coach training has been identified and developed as part of the Pickleball Coach Development program, we will let you know when and how to register.

7) How will my course credits be tracked?

A: Once you register for your first course or begin the registration process for Coach Initiation in Sport on the Locker, you will be assigned an NCCP number. Transcripts of your completed courses will be stored in your Locker.

8) When I finish all the required training, will I then be a Coach?

A: Training alone does not qualify you to be a certified Coach. Part of the Coach Development program will be the creation of a coach certification process. That process will consist of completion of required training, observation in a coaching environment, along with an independent evaluation of a coach portfolio. The detail of this process will be defined as part of the Coach Development program.

That said, once you have completed your first training course and it is registered in your Locker, you will be recognized as a coach with an “In Training” status. That status will remain the same until you have the option to complete the certification pathway process described above.

9) There are a lot of interesting courses on the NCCP site. Can I take any courses of my choice?

A: You may register and pay and attend any course you desire, provided you meet the course prerequisites, if any. You do, however, run the risk of taking courses that are not needed for the Coach level that you are pursuing. Once we determine the Coach levels and course requirements as part of the Coach Development program, we will let you know.

10) Some pickleball teachers refer to themselves as instructors, and others call themselves coaches. What is the difference?

A: Definitions of Coach and Instructor vary depending on dictionaries cited, and common uses. For purposes of the Pickleball Coach Development program, we will align with the Ontario Trillium Foundation definitions and NCCP curricula.

Instructors are focused on teaching and improving select skills that are needed for a specific sport. An instructor helps a non-competitive participant develop a skill; e.g. a ski instructor teaches skiing but not how to run a slalom race.

A coach, by contrast, also teaches competition skills – both how to ski, and how to race. “Coaches play many roles – instructor, motivator, disciplinarian, mentor, friend, manager and fundraiser. They understand the developmental stages and limits of their athletes, as well as basic kinesiology, sport psychology, nutrition and basic first aid. And they help
players improve their skills, develop strong character, and gain confidence.”

11) What different levels of Coaching programs will be offered?

A: As we develop our Coach Development program, we will define the coach levels, and whether the instruction elements will be separate or combined into the coach roles. Tentatively, the coaching levels would include:

  • Community Initiation (new players and recreational players),
  • Community Ongoing (seasoned recreational players wanting to improve)
  • Intro to Competition (players wanting to excel in competition)
  • Competition Development (players driven to improve their competitive performance)
  • High Performance (players pursuing advanced competition at national and international levels).

12) International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association (IPTPA) is offering Train the Trainer and Coach programs. Can’t we just use those programs for our NSO and PSO requirements?

A: IPTPA is globally recognized as a leader in Pickleball skills and techniques instruction. It is branching out into the realm of providing consistent training for developing instructors and coaches. Its programs focus primarily on the Pickleball specific skills and how to teach those skills. It does not cover many of the multi-sport coaching knowledge that the NCCP guidelines are looking for. Also, the IPTPA currently does not have a Long Term Athlete Development model that it can reference to adapt training, instruction and coaching techniques to the maturation level of the target athlete.

We have reviewed our approach with Seymour Rifkind (Founder/owner of IPTPA) and he is interested in our approach, and welcomes further discussion regarding sharing of information as we both develop our programs.

Since NCCP,IPTPA, Professional Pickleball Registry (PPR) and other coaching program organizations have differing requirements and curricula, there are no reciprocal agreements between organizations. However, it is expected that training in one of the programs would accelerate success in the other. We have received a letter from the Chilliwack Pickleball Club regarding their IPTPA trained instructors. The response can be viewed here.

13) What is the PCO position for provinces and territories who are requesting that PCO sanction and approve their coaching programs as a prerequisite for their registration as a PSO or TSO?

A: PCO cannot sanction or approve any coaching program until there is a pickleball coaching program developed and approved in the NCCP framework by Coaches Association of Canada and Sport Canada. In lieu of an NCCP pickleball coaching program, PCO will support any province or territory seeking PSO or TSO status by reviewing its locally developed coaching program, for its teaching methods, content, and focus on safety and well being of the athletes.

14) Why is this Coaching Development taking so long? I heard it is 2 years behind schedule.

A: Actually, our Pickleball Coaching Development process is on track and will meet our schedule for completion of a draft proposal by June 2020. At that point in time we will be ready to submit the draft to Coaching Association of Canada (CAC) for review and approval. However, to date, CAC cannot yet commit to slotting us into their review schedule as there are sports bodies ahead of us in the queue. We have been in discussion with CAC to both provide assistance to us in the process and to provide potential review dates when our draft is complete.

It is a long process as there are around 50 criteria that the coaching development product needs to satisfy which are not easily defined and constructed without expert assistance. We have contracted world-class consultants who have guided other Canadian sports organizations with their NCCP coach development programs. Our consultants worked with us to develop the timeline and it is aggressive but achievable, given continued focus and hard work by all of our work group members.

15) I want to be a certified pickleball coach. Who has certification programs available?

A: There are numerous organizations, individuals or groups that offer coach training and will give you a certificate. These entities are self certifying, and not tied to any third party and governmental review and oversight. Sport organization requirements in Canada are quite well organized and defined, including the NCCP requirements for coaching. Sport for Life, Coaching Association of Canada, and Sport Canada are all involved in the rigorous review and approval process for Coach Development and Certification programs.

Once developed and approved, it is expected that our Pickleball Coach Development program will be the only nationally certified option available.

If you have other questions, please contact:
Jim Parrott, Director of Player Development (

Coach Certification Program Reading List

Although not all inclusive, this list provides a good baseline knowledge for those who wish to volunteer to assist in the development of the Coach Certification program, or who wish to be Pickleball Canada coach candidates.

  1. Coach Training in Canada
  2. National Coaching Certification Program Overview
  3. National Coaching Certification Model
  4. NCCP Policy and Implementation Standards
  5. CAC Sport Specific Training
  6. NCCP Long-Term Athlete Development Information For Parents
  7. Developing Physical Literacy
  8. Physical Literacy Concept Paper
  9. Sport for Life for Coaches
  10. Sport for Life LTAD Sport Models
  11. Benefits, Barriers and Quality in Children Recreation and Sport