Coaches Corner – August, 2021

Each month we will feature a bio and a teaching video from each of our coaches in the Vancouver area.

This month we are featuring …

Richard Lee

Richard Lee

Level Two Certified Pickleball Instructor (IPTPA)

Richard Lee has always have a love for racket sports. Richard grew up playing badminton and later on lots of tennis and squash as well.

Richard also loves to teach and has led group fitness classes for over 10 years. Since discovering Pickleball in 2015 he knew that it was the sport for him. Richard’s passion for Pickleball has led him to play competitively and to pursue coaching. Richard holds an IPTPA Level 2 certification and has been coaching for 3 years.

Having an analytical mind and a keen eye for body movement, Richard offers his participants guidance on appropriate mechanics and footwork to achieve positive outcomes.

As past president of the VPA and an ambassador for the sport, Richard continues to advocate the True Sport principle:

  • fairness,
  • excellence,
  • inclusion, and
  • fun

You’ll find Richard playing Pickleball as well as coaching at various venues around Vancouver. Richard is always up for a game, and his love for the Pickleball is evident whenever he plays. (He may also be the “best dressed” player on the court!)

Richard holds a diploma in Mechanical Technology, a Bachelor in Business Administration, and is still a full time realtor with 30 years of experience. Richard welcomes all your referrals!

To reach Richard about advice or to arrange for training, email him at richardolee@shaw.ca


Coaches Corner – July, 2021

Each month we will feature a bio and a teaching video from each of our coaches in the Vancouver area.

This month we are featuring …

Anke Harpe

Anke Harpe

Level One Certified Pickleball Instructor (IPTPA)

Anke started playing Pickleball in the fall of 2015. As a former physical education teacher with a serious squash-playing background, Anke switched to Pickleball following a serious shoulder injury.

Through her passion for Pickleball, Anke got involved in volunteering at the Dunbar Community Centre.  Anke seems to know everybody, and loves helping beginners, organizing & keeping order, and keeping all the players engaged and happy. 

You’ve probably seen Anke at the community centre, or on the outdoor courts where she conducts outdoor drills & drop in sessions during the summer outdoor play.

Anke loves drilling, training, teaching – and simply being active both on and off the courts.


Some important and positive advice from Anke for Pickleball beginners:

  • DO take lessons immediately.
  • DO purchase a paddle & shoes after taking lessons. (And get some advice from a professional).
  • DO spend time (both on and off the courts):
    • Practicing,
    • Handling the ball,
    • Wall drills
  • DO watch Pickleball videos on YouTube
  • DO have fun always!

To reach Anke about advice or to arrange for some training, email her at annecarineharpe@gmail.com or text/phone her at 604-787-6320


Anke has provided the following videos to illustrate some simple practice drills you can do at home to improve your Pickleball game:

https://youtu.be/G0FTH7avGCM
https://youtu.be/Wl0h4j2h7TE

TESTIMONIALS

Anke = well organized, patient coach.  She builds simple-complex drills customized to your needs.  Love how she makes drills into fun games!!   Anke is also one of the original pickleball advocates for our city and a wonderful ambassador!

– Karen, Vancouver BC

Anke’s depth of knowledge for training specific to the client, how to build skills at the right pace, and  how to promote development in the presence of limitations that I presented, and to avoid injuries…all  far exceeds the many others I have trained with here and away, due to Anke’s advanced experience as a coach as her career , all supported by her educational background.

Pleasant , organized and well paced experiences were mine to enjoy . 

I wish the same for you. anonymous

Anke is an excellent instructor!  She provides outstanding structure to every lesson, from warm ups to drills with fun mini-games along the way.  Anke is a very encouraging instructor who always makes me feel good while playing no matter how many mistakes I make.  She follows up after every lesson with a summary of what you did, going that extra mile.  I sought her out for individual instruction and am so glad that I did.  You will be in great hands with her!

– S. S., Vancouver BC

I was very fortunate to have been introduced to pickleball by Anke. She taught me all the ins and outs of the game and her enthusiasm got me hooked. She has such a positive energy that has helped make me not only love the game but to recognize that it is a social game and the priority is always to have fun! She is passionate about the game and that makes her an exceptional teacher and ambassador for the sport of Pickleball. 

Cathy Wolfman, Vancouver BC


Anke is truly an ambassador for the sport.  She has been dedicated to the development of pickleball (the sport) and pickleball (the community) for many years.  Not only is she willing to do whatever it takes for its betterment, she  is willing to play at the drop of a hat, whether it is group play, drills, one on one.

S, Vancouver, BC

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Coaches Corner – June, 2021

Each month we will feature a bio and a teaching video from each of our coaches in the Vancouver area.


This month we are featuring

Charles Neufeldt
Charles Neufeldt

Charles Neufeldt

Level Two Certified Pickleball Instructor (IPTPA)


Charles Neufeldt has been a fixture on the BC and Vancouver-area Pickleball scene for many years. If you’ve ever had him as a coach or instructor, you’ll surely appreciate his professionalism, athleticism and his dedication to the sport of Pickleball.

Originally from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Charles moved to BC in 2011. It was in North Vancouver that he was fortunate enough to discover his new passion – Pickleball!

Charles is now a full time Pickleball coach through his “Canadian Pickleball Academy” and player with businesses centered on the sport with which he has fallen in love. Charles is often a sponsor or exhibitor at local tournaments for Pickleball Paddles Canada, one of the VPA sponsors.

Charles, who was an elite badminton player in his youth, has been coaching the past 16 years. In fact, he was appointed as the Head Coach for the 2017 North American Indigenous Games for Badminton Team BC (and was subsequently reappointed for the 2020 Games). Charles has multiple certifications through the National Coaching Certification Program, including coach development.

As such, it was natural for Charles to transition to coaching Pickleball, in which he has obtained a Level 2 Certification with the International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association. He now offers group clinics and individual sessions to players of various levels throughout the Lower Mainland as well in other provinces . As a coach and player, Charles is progressive and dynamic and he understands that the game is evolving constantly in terms of strategies and techniques.

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Charles has many exciting things lined up for 2021. His goal includes competing more in the Pro division and is looking forward to playing in the US OPEN in Naples. In addition, Charles and his mixed partner, Karina Michaud, will be traveling across the World offering clinics to others who share their love for this fast-growing game with a crazy name.

To book a clinic and to find out about how you can play Pickleball in paradise check out CanadianPickleballAcademy.com

When asked what he likes the most about Pickleball, Charles says, “Pickleball is more than just a sport, it’s a community, it’s about the people you meet. I also love traveling and I can’t believe I’m lucky enough to be able to travel and play Pickleball.”


Here is a five minute training video “hot off the press” from Charles with tips for how to improve your “block shot”:

https://youtu.be/2n8kqJcaDlw

TESTIMONIALS

I chose Charles as an instructor because of his coaching experience, his Level 2 Certification and his background as an elite athlete.

Charles has an analytical mind and can identify skill areas needing development with an efficiency & ease that promotes learning. Charles possesses the capacity to adjust his style of coaching to suit individuals’ learning styles, and I think that’s a sign of an elite coach. Perhaps most importantly, Charles practices what he preaches: “Drill, drill, drill.”


Juls, Vancouver, BC

We (my partner Bea and I) just finished a Pickleball class with Charles. We loved it!

He is an amazing teacher with a wonderful easy going, fun personality!


Detlef K, Langley, BC

I’ve taken both group lessons and individual instruction from Charles. Both were well worth it.

I’m still quite a beginner at Pickleball, and a professional career is probably not in my future. But nevertheless Charles’s patience was much appreciated and he always showed me things to improve my game at least a notch at every lesson.

Bill, Vancouver BC

Charles and Karina are the best!

Each are able to see the next simple change to improve your technique. With their depth of expertise, they give step by step progressions are always enlightening. If you want more Enjoyment, Satisfaction and the Feel of owning the court, here is the answer: book in with Charles Or Karina!


Carol, Vancouver, BC

Quiet-ish paddles please

Unfortunately, the most significant threat to our unfettered enjoyment of Pickleball is the noise of the game.

Seriously. Some localities have closed pickleball courts due to noise complaints from neighbours. And some have even mandated the use of foam balls which, although quieter, have significantly different characteristics than pickleballs — and really turn it into a completely different and less appealing game (which we should probably call “nerf ball”).

Nevertheless, a small minority of people who live near Pickleball courts are complaining about the noise from Pickleball and parks departments are listening. The problem is attributed to the sound of the balls against the paddles.

Nobody wants our game banned, curtailed or converted into “nerf ball” (which amounts to the same thing). So perhaps we can all help by avoiding noisy paddles. “Noisy paddles” you say? Yes. I encourage you to read the following list of “Green Zone” paddles from the Sun City Grand Community Association in Arizona, then consider using only a “Green Zone” paddle as described therein:

You can surely understand that some paddles are quieter than others. So please consider using a quiet-ish paddle if you can. You may want to search for more contemporary articles & lists that might direct you to a more quiet paddle (just try a web search for “quiet pickleball paddles”). Which just might help us all enjoy the game without restrictions.

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Coaches Corner – May, 2021

Each month we will feature a bio and a teaching video from each of our coaches in the Vancouver area.


This month we are featuring

Catalin Costea

Level II Certified pickleball Teaching Professional (CPTP)


Coach Catalin brings experience and diversity to the pickleball courts during his lessons and clinics. As a certified Tennis Professional Association (TPA) instructor for over 10 years and International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association (IPTPA) instructor since 2017, Catalin has developed a keen eye for finding ways to help improve his students’ game. He uses an interactive teaching style, filled with various techniques, hands on experience and a lot of fun.

Catalin is not only a committed pickleball instructor; he is also a dedicated player. In the last three years, he has won numerous tournaments throughout BC.


Q: What’s your pickleball story? How were you introduced to Pickleball?

“In mid-August 2016, while playing tennis, I heard on the other side off the fences, on another tennis surface, a group of people having so much fun playing a different racket game.

Curious by nature I went to check it out; and discovered that people were playing a ball game using oversized ping-pong paddles on a half-size tennis court. The oddest part to me was that they were laughing so hard while playing, especially when they were missing the shots! I asked them if I can try it, and they gladly offered me a paddle and invited me on the court. It was “love at first sight”. Since that summer, I haven’t played a tennis match, and currently I spend over 20 hours per week on playing & coaching Pickleball.”

Q: What do you think about Pickleball?

“Pickleball is friendlier and more engaging sport than tennis. It is easy to pick-up, and seems natural for those looking for a less stressful athletic pursuit; it is an “everyone’s” game with a family-oriented kind of feel.”

Q: Why do you like Pickleball so much?

“There are so many techniques in the game of Pickleball. Unlike other racket sports, where to score you have to hit the ball very hard, in Pickleball, the higher the level of play, the slower the game. You tend to “nurture” the ball, to guide it to a target. To play better you have to learn to outsmart and not outmuscle your opponents. The main thing in Pickleball is to be patient, to play a ball  until you get the opportunity of a put-away ball.

Pickleball is very addictive and one of my favourite things to do. To me it is more than a hobby and I’m hoping for pickleball to become an Olympic sport.”


Here is a training video that Coach Catalin recently put together to address the issue of “who takes the ball” when a shot comes between the two players in doubles — the “cross court rule”:


TESTIMONIALS

In short if you have not taken a Pickleball lesson with Coach Catalin you will ask yourself, “Why didn’t I?”

Catalin is knowledgeable, encouraging & more importantly makes his lessons fun. I appreciate his attention to detail, creativeness & alongside his wonderful sense of humour.

I cannot thank you enough for helping me improve my game & the generosity you have shown not only to me but with my “bubble group”.


Cyndi B.
BScN, RN

Coach Catalin has a great love for the game of Pickleball. He has a deep understanding of all the different shots, technique, game strategies, as well as the mental aspect of the game. He has a great ability to teach all that knowledge with easy to follow instructions during lessons. Catalin is straight forward, supportive and encouraging. He identifies weaknesses with ease and helps you work on it. Catalin has great work ethic and dedication. While helping you improve your skills he listens to your goals and will encourage you to go even further.

I highly recommend Coach Catalin.


Ruth Johnson, Owner of Ruthless Fitness
Certified Personal Trainer
Certified Spinning Instructor

Coach Catalin has witnessed my development from a beginner to an intermediate level player.

On top of delivering basic techniques, an array of helpful tips, drills and phrases, Catalin is an insightful coach. He can quickly pinpoint the weakness of every player and be able to focus the session on such. His coaching style is direct and slightly satirical, which always makes for great fun sessions.

Great coach all around!


Adeline,
Architect, AIBC

Unfortunately, pickleball in urban centres often comes with noise complaints

Proper facility design mitigates pickleball noise

Properly implemented pickleball courts have an acceptable setback from the closest residence and employ noise mitigation strategies. Such implementation requires appropriate funding. When a municipality paints pickleball lines on available tennis courts believing they have provided pickleball courts, conflict inevitably ensues, not just with the displaced tennis players, but also with nearby residents.

Pickleball is noisy because pickleball is social

At first, complaints about noise centre around the constant tick of the ball hitting the paddle. However, the real noise problem is not the sound of the pickleball against the paddle, but the frequency of that sound magnified by the social nature of the game. A single tennis court can be converted into as many as four pickleball courts. Unlike tennis, almost all recreational pickleball is played in doubles. Thus, two tennis players playing at too great a distance to carry on a conversation are replaced by 16 pickleball players within tight proximity generally engaging in a lively and exuberant conversation often marked by laughter. The sound of a tennis ball hitting a tennis racket is not substantially less audible than the sound of a pickleball hitting a paddle. However, in pickleball, because of the mass of people, instead of hearing the whoop (silence) whoop (silence) whoop of a tennis ball, nearby residents hear a constant tick tick tick of paddle against ball accentuated by a constant burble of conversation.

Softballs and paddles do not solve the problem

Some municipalities have tried to solve the problem by mandating quieter paddles or the use of foam balls. This rarely solves the annoyance of already aggravated residents and it fundamentally alters the nature of the game. Foam ball is not pickleball. The ball has different bounce characteristics and different spin characteristics. Yes, it is possible for low-level recreational players to have as much fun playing foam ball. However, pickleball is rapidly emerging as a competitive sport across Europe and North America, with incursions into South America, the Caribbean and East Asia. Most pickleball players will not accept a sport that is substantially different from that they are now seeing on their TV, any more than competitive hockey players would accept a ruling requiring only rollerblades, even though justification can be made for rollerblades on environmental grounds. More importantly, padded paddles and foam balls are expensive and require every participant to purchase new equipment. By not spending appropriately on pickleball facilities, the municipality is downloading costs on individual players, effectively pushing lower social economic status players from the game. 

Properly planned and funded facilities do solve the problem

When pickleball is properly funded, courts are designed with sound mitigation in mind, understanding that the primary problem with noise is the congestion of players and not simply the sound of the ball. If courts are placed at least 100 m away from the closest residence, the problem is solved. If only 70 m is available, the problem can be solved by the installation of sound deadening barriers on the fences and/or the planting of dense shrubbery.  When only 50 m is available, the problem can be solved by the construction of dirt and sod berms. Pickleball courts within 30 m of the closest residence are not recommended.

We represent a demographic that is currently underfunded

If a municipality is interested in supporting a game that is majority older players (with emerging popularity among school-aged children), that is majority female, and that allows for play across the socio-economic strata, then it is imperative that proper pickleball courts be designed and implemented. Proper facilities are available for sports that are majority young athletic males. Proper facilities should also be available for individuals that do not fit this previously favoured demographic. 

Greg Feehan

President, Vancouver Pickleball Association

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Some of our members feel that Pickleball is under siege:

Neighbours adjacent to Pickleball courts dislike the noise from the game and the parking problems it sometimes causes in their neighbourhoods.

Tennis players resent the incursion of Pickleball into their traditional domain.

The VPA urges our members (and all Pickleball players in general) to be tolerant and respectful in the face of such complaints.


At the VPA we are determined to work TOGETHER with others to resolve problems TOGETHER rather than being adversarial. Please respect others and do the same.

Sometimes problems can be resolved easily. For instance, at Memorial Park West (Dunbar) on 31st Avenue, across from the courts, neighbours resent our players using the street parking. While sometimes the street parking is more convenient than using the crowded parking lot at the Dunbar Community Centre, it is a simple matter to respect the neighbours wishes by either using the Dunbar Community Centre lot, or the lot adjacent to the lawn bowling club instead. That seems like a better solution than being adversarial to the neighbours.

The VPA is also working to address the noise issues where neighbours have complained. On both 31st Ave. (across from Memorial Park West) and on 37th Ave. (near the QE Pickleball courts) we have gone door-to-door to discuss the neighbours’ concerns. And we have asked neighbours to work with us TOGETHER so that we are a united front when approaching the Parks Board and the city regarding Pickleball-related issues.

Please respect our neighbours.

Always view them as allies in our efforts to expand the playing options throughout the city, not as adversaries.

New Safety Fencing at Queen Elizabeth

We are pleased to announce that we’ve installed new safety fencing between the courts at the Queen Elizabeth Pickleball Centre!

We would like to thank our donors for helping to fund these fences. The new fencing has been rented by the Vancouver Pickleball Association – without any funding from the city or parks board (yet).

The initial feedback from our Pickleball community is quite positive. The new fences almost entirely eliminate the problem with balls underfoot while playing. They also make the QE PB Centre look tidy and professional. Games go more quickly because you aren’t chasing balls all the time – so we should get more play time and less waiting as a result. And now none of the courts feel “inferior”.

We ask that you do NOT hang things on the new safety fences for safety reasons.

As mentioned above, the city has not contributed anything towards this addition to our beloved Pickelball centre. But we will be working hard to get them to pay for this and other improvements going forward. Unfortunately things take time. [Other than graffiti removal however. Kudos to the city for quickly painting over the massive graffiti on the concrete wall which we found and reported to them on Sunday].We will also be seeking sponsorships to fund improvements at QE and at other Pickleball venues around Vancouver.

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Click on the picture above to view a 360-degree picture of the QE Pickleball Centre