I wanna be a Morro Bay pickleball coach

April 22, 2024

Dell Franklin,


Editor’s Note: The following series, “Life in Radically Gentrifying Cayucos by the Sea,” to be posted biweekly includes the notes, thoughts, and opinions of an original American voice: author Dell Franklin. 

Franklin’s memoir, “The ballplayer’s Son” is currently on Amazon.

On a Saturday morning, Ethan and I were at Del Mar Park in Morro Bay trying to find a tennis court, it was filled with players who’d reserved the court, when we ran into a big old guy (at least in his 70s) whom we once played basketball against, Art, who was coming from the busy pickleball courts. After we exchanged greetings, I asked Art what he was doing there as Ethan and I prepared to shoot around at the hoop court we were standing on.

“I’m a pickleball instructor,” he said, and we noticed a little pack on his shoulder with a small handle protruding. “A  pickleball coach.”

We were wordless. This is a guy who’d played half-court basketball in one secluded area close to the basket because he was possibly the slowest person on the court any time he played and couldn’t run, although he did have a medium range shot and moved people around under the hoop with his bulk. Far as I know, he never played tennis but possibly ping pong.

Well, after he left, I informed Ethan that almost everybody I know who used to play tennis–or any other sport for that matter–and became a pickleball zealot has also become a pickleball coach, and I wondered what legitimatized them as  competent pickleball coaches.

Was there a school or federation where these people of all ages went and learned from a big time instructor, and passed some kind of test and received a certificate of graduation, or a diploma verifying that they were pickleball coaches? And, could they now place their names on ads at pickleball/tennis courts, or have business cards placed in strategic locations, or go on Facebook or NextDoor as pickleball coaches charging a certain rate in the new, thriving industry of pickleball coaching?

I heard the other day that my old beloved yoga instructor, Natasha—who never played tennis and told me over and over again she felt she needed cardio but wasn’t very athletic—has a husband who is a pickleball coach, and now she is a pickleball coach.

Well, I’ve never played pickleball, but just from watching, I feel I could train and coach some of these goofs, because I was once a good ping pong player and have always been a decent tennis player. I know the strokes and would only have to learn the rules before I passed whatever test an official pickleball authority–who grants certificates—gave me, and graduated me as an official pickleball coach.

I can then put my name on Facebook or NextDoor or get business cards or place an ad as a verified pickleball coach at any of the tennis/pickleball courts throughout the county where pickleball oafs are invading them like a pestilence.


Just the other morning, Ethan and I were finishing up an hour of grueling nonstop tennis rallying at the Cayucos courts, when two ladies at least in their late 50s but possibly close to their mid 60s showed up, exchanged pleasant hellos with Ethan and myself, and then put down a net and lines on half of the tennis court now designated for pickleball.

When they started playing, it was quite obvious that one of the women was indeed a pickleball coach. She was all business and tutoring the other woman, and it appeared she was quite competent and patient and very, very positive and encouraging, a good thing, and that she was making headway, another good thing, and that being a very competent and positive and encouraging and patient pickleball coach could end up being a very lucrative as well as fulfilling occupation.

In fact, if the day ever comes when Cayucos tries to run me out of town because I’m unable to pay my rent and have become too much of a problem to survive in today’s Cayucos, I can always go to pickleball school and get my official diploma and maybe scrounge up enough money to stay on and play tennis in town.

When I broached this possibility to Ethan, he looked me right in the eye, without blinking, and said, “I don’t think you’d be welcome at pickleball university.”


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There actually is a way to become a certified pickleball coach. You should do it! https://usapickleball.org/get-involved/coach-education/

It’s nice to know somebody still plays tennis