Coaches Corner – June 2022

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

This month we are featuring . . .

TIPS – Third shot- what??!? Hold on- how about the first & second?!

Walt Woo

I first stumbled onto pickleball going for a walk in Vernon in 2018. Unknowing that this sport existed, I saw a row of courts altogether and thinking, isn’t this cute- mini tennis! Being into many sports as a youth, I really had no idea. Later that year, I was at Trout Lake with my son Lucas and we discovered the same type of court, however this time we asked the front desk. The nice clerk said it was pickleball and offered us the equipment to set up and try- wooden waffle paddles- and this became our initiation into this game.

Fast forward, through the pandemic, I was looking for an activity to partake- something to keep active, something social, something to do with the kids- and this game checked off all the boxes. It is only in the last year that I have taken an elevated interest in the game- taking lessons and practicing on a regular basis.

Currently, I oversee the program at Hastings Community Centre for introductory and intermediate players. I also have a few spots available in a weekly private clinic for the player that is eager to scale up. For more information, please contact me at

A little bit about me- I am NCCP Level 1 Certified for pickleball. I am fortunate to have a life partner, Velisia, who enjoys this game with me. Until pickleball came along, I used to enjoy other sports such as badminton, hockey and golf. Now, who has time for anything else? If you don’t see me on the courts, I am busy chasing my 9 year old daughter and soon to be 12 year old son around town to their various programs or at work where I run a full service financial planning company.


As a couple, we both highly commend and recommend Walt for his coaching style and personal character – he always provides planned lessons delivered with patience and care. During his structured group lessons, Walt will provide individually focused coaching and often follows up lessons with personalized messages for areas of improvement and encouragement – such a nice touch.  Working with him has greatly improved our pickleball play in both technical fundamentals and game strategy. Walt obviously has a deep love for the game and for coaching others to share in the fun that is pickleball!

Tara and Graeme Doyle

Walt is a very welcoming and patient teacher.  His coaching environment is inclusive and supportive no matter what your skill level.  He has a good read on all his student’s skill levels and provides constructive feedback accordingly on how to improve your game.  I was able to pick up the rudiments of the game in a very short timeframe as his lessons had great emphasis on understanding the basic skills/techniques.  He recognized I had a “knack” for the sport and encouraged me to further develop my skills.  Thanks to Walt’s enthusiasm and coaching tips I have developed sheer enjoyment for this game having never played pickleball before.

Delphine Yee

My pickleball game has clearly improved since I started training with Walt Woo with some friends a few months ago. Even with four of us on the court, Walt provides personalized feedback to each of us about how we can improve our skills. His drills are diverse and engaging and I appreciate his supportive coaching style. Nobody is happier than Walt when one of us hits a great shot. Thank you Walt for helping me become a better player!

Neena Rahemtulla

As an intermediate player, Walt has been a great coach for my development. He is very patient and able to demonstrate techniques in an effective way to ensure learning. Walt ensures he always balances elements of theory, drills and practice games into every training session. He is enthusiastic about coaching and provides individual feedback and encouragement to students. I have had a few coaches in the past year and I have had the most success working with Walt. I would definitely recommend!

Kevin Bonin

A decent coach will competently teach a new student the basics- stroke mechanics, simple positioning, rules, tactics, strategy. A good coach will teach a student when and how and why. But great coaches remain students themselves. They never stop asking why. They stop learning. Walt Woo is that rare coach, who understands all of the above. But really, he understands that the journey and the questions are more valuable than the answers.

Chris Koentges, co-founder of Jericho Hill Pickleball School

Coaches Corner – April 2022

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

This month we are featuring . . .

Diane’s 10 Tips For Beginners

Diane Dol

I must admit, after being a competitive tennis player for most of my life I was skeptical when I first heard of Pickleball. What’s with the name?  A whiffle ball? Really?  I am a complete convert, my tennis racquet now serves as a reminder of satisfying memories but has not seen the light of day over the last two years.  After plenty of drop-in games at Queen Elizabeth Park and lots of lessons, clinics, drill sessions and tournaments, I was ready to help others learn what has become my favorite court sport.

I am now certified by Pickleball Canada to coach and I am looking to share this social and accessible game with anyone looking to add some fun and exercise to their lives.  You will find that I am approachable and able to adapt my coaching to the skill set with which you arrive.  Whether you have never held a padle or come to pickleball with experience, I will have you smiling and playing in no time.  Don’t be afraid to sign up with your significant other, I have 25 years of experience as a divorce mediator and will be able to coach you through any on-court discord 🙂 . My hours of coaching are geared to those with a flexible schedule or those that are retired.  I work M-F from 8am-3pm with groups of 2, 3 or 4 and offer single lessons as well.   

If you don’t own a paddle yet, no worries.  I am an ambassador for Aniviia Paddles . I have plenty of paddles available for demo use or purchase.


Diane is a thorough and thoughtful teacher with a wicked fun sense of humour.  She brings her lightness, skills and genuine love of the game to the pickleball court.  She is creating a convert out of me a few years earlier than I anticipated. I thought I would be saying goodbye to my other sports before pickleball became a part of my life.  How wrong I was ~ pickleball is a great workout, has me thinking strategically, and is the right mix of fun and friendly competition.   By Raine ForbesDiane is the perfect combination of a skilled player and great coach. She intuitively knows how to get you to become a better player. She is tactful in her coaching, has a great sense of humor and you’ll have a lot of fun improving your game with her. Highly recommend! By Holly Keon

It was my first lesson and feeling nervous, apprehensive and quite awkward.  I think I lucked out with Diane, she was patient and gentle with her approach.   Diane was very informative with direction and technique and I found all the drills helpful.   I walked away loving the game and can’t wait for my next lesson.  Thank You!  by Katherine L’Heureux

I met Diane years ago and when I heard she was an instructor I reached out immediately. I knew not only that I’d be taught very well, but that I’d also have a fun time. Diane is a professional and made me feel completely at ease learning a game that was totally brand new to me. She broke things down in a manageable way and challenged me throughout the lessons. She also modified a lesson if I was struggling with a skill or drill. I called Diane because I knew I’d have fun learning a game she quite clearly loves. She just wants to share her love of the game and it shows.  By Marnie  Quarry

I started playing pickleball last year and I love the game! I’m quite competitive although I don’t always win (or win at I thought I better take some lessons to learn the basic and techniques of Pickleball.  With Diane’s coaching my overall play has improved and gave me more confidence. My ground- stroke technique has improved. I’ve learned the value of good foot work and positioning on the court really helped my game!Diane is fun, friendly and patient, her professionalism is top notch!I recommend you try a lesson or two and you’ll start loving the game of PB and finally win a few games!!!  Cheers Connie

Coaches Corner – March 2022

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 . . .

Ruth Johnson
Ruth’s video “Cross Fit Training Complementing Pickleball”

Ruth Johnson

“Pickleball,” a funny word that I heard from friends and fitness clients several years ago. 

Being the curious person I am, I had to find out what Pickelball was all about, so I signed up for a beginner’s class at a local community centre in January 2020. Unfortunately, the pandemic hit in March 2020 reducing the options to play, but the few lessons I had were enough to get me interested and craving more.  

As soon as Covid restrictions lightened up, my lessons continued outdoors, and our small group of Pickleball keeners met as much as possible at a quiet tennis court pitching our nets and chalking in temporary lines. Yep…I was hooked! 

I’ve been athletic all my life, but Pickleball was my first racket sport. It gave me a sense of normality during the pandemic. It was fun, social and a great way to meet new friends who were also excited about the game. With some encouragement, I braved my first tournament in fall 2021 and my partner and I won a silver medal in mixed doubles! 

With almost 2 years of pickleball in my back pocket, loads of coaching and skills sessions and plenty of new-found success, I decided my next step was to become a pickleball instructor and teach others about the famed, “addictive game of pickleball.” 

My road to teaching already had some deep roots, starting with my past involvement in numerous sports over the last two decades. I am a fully certified Personal Trainer, Spin Instructor and a high-level road cyclist, mountain-biker, runner, skier, snowshoer and hiker.  Now, I wanted to take on teaching and coaching pickleball.  

Getting certified and learning the right tools was the next step, so in fall 2021, I successfully earned my NCCP Level 1 Instructor Certification. 

I am currently teaching groups at community centres, one-on-one sessions and small beginner groups throughout the Vancouver lower mainland.  

When not teaching you can find me playing at different outdoor and indoor courts or participating in some of my favourite sports. This summer, when I visit my family and friends, I will certainly bring Pickleball to my hometown in Switzerland! 

Thank you to all the coaches that have helped and encouraged me along the way and continue to do so. I’m so excited about the growth of Pickleball in Canada and all the enthusiasm beginners are bringing to the game. 

For any questions or lessons, you can contact me at: 


“Ruth is an amazing teacher. Her students improve while having fun and laughing – what more could you want, especially during a pandemic?”  – Helen Heacock 

“As someone who dappled in Pickleball, taking even just one lesson so far from Ruth has enlightened me more in proper techniques and sheer enjoyment of the game. I look forward to more instructions and fun with Ruth.”  – Suzie Ketchell 

“I had a fun time learning what Pickleball is all about. Ruth is an excellent instructor who passionate about the game and she shares her enthusiasm with the group. I was able to pick up the rudiments of the game in a very short period as Ruth was well organized and good at keeping us on track.”  – Lauren Cornish 

“Ruth knows her stuff. She makes learning so fun and that hour goes by so fast!”  – Donna Dainius 

“Ruth is a methodical teacher. Thorough and patient and makes learning really fun!”  – Patricia Brady 

“Can’t recommend Ruth enough…great instructor and lots of fun too!”  – Leslie-Anne Rogers 

“Ruth is a thorough instructor easily taking someone who has never played Pickleball to being able to play a game.”  – Tracey McGrogan 

“Ruth somehow motivates us, improves our skill levels, and still makes it fun. Not a contradiction at all!”  – Nazreen Suhner 

“Ruth is skilled, patient, kind, and fun!”  – Fiona Gamiet 

Coaches Corner – February 2022

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 …

Cyndi Boado

Coach Cyndi video

Cyndi Boado

My pickleball story began less than 2 years ago. I work across from Kerrisdale Community Center as a nurse.  One day I cut across the Community Center grounds to go for my coffee break.  As soon as I walked by the door, I heard this unique sound.  Curious, I looked into the gym and saw people playing this “tennis like game”.  The next day, I went by again. I saw many people laughing while obviously enjoying this game with it’s unique sound. This time I actually stayed, watched and did not realize that time had passed. I went back to the office with no coffee. From that day on, instead of going for my coffee & lunch break I combined the two and played pickleball instead. I felt refreshed after and returned to work energized. 

I have no racquet sports background. I was a runner and competed in short distance running and also played field hockey socially.  I fell in love with pickleball. I quickly decided that playing socially wasn’t enough for me. I made it a goal to learn to play this game well. Therefore, I took lessons, played, took more lessons, drilled and continued to do this pattern.  

Then the pandemic hit. This game gave me an outlet to banish the doom I felt brought on by the pandemic.  I am truly very grateful to every woman I played with at the “Oasis” (a hidden place where we played during the worst of the pandemic) 

As the pandemic eased, I continued with the pattern of play, practice; take lessons and drill.  I then gave myself another goal, this time to enter a competition.  My Women’s Double partner & I trained and competed in a few tournaments without expectations. To our surprise we won a GOLD. 

My last goal with pickleball was to be a coach.  I achieved this goal by the end of Dec 2021 when I completed the first step in the new Canadian National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) to become an Instructor 1.  

I am very grateful to all the VPA Senior Coaches who helped me grow as a player and now as a coach.  

You can find me playing at QE, Brewer’s Park or Community Centres.  On weekends running my “Round Robin with Cyndi” Program (see VPA Newsletter Dec 2021) 

I hold a Bachelor’s Degree with Honours in Nursing. I still work as a Registered Nurse with 30 years experience.  

To reach Cyndi with any questions or to arrange lessons, she can be reached at 


Thanks again Cyndi. It was great to play in such a safe & supportive environment. 

Denise Baker 

Thank you sooo much for your commitment in helping us to become better players. 

Heather W. 

Hey Cyndi, Thanks so much for the tips and for your coaching. It has been so helpful and has helped me learn so much in such a short time. Really appreciate your guidance and encouragement. 

Jackie Howard 

I am really enjoying this experience! You are a fabulous instructor. Appreciate your follow up. 

Heather Richards 

Fun playing today and thanks Cyndi for being such a great coach! 

Susan Wong 

Cyndi, you’ve made a big difference to how I see myself playing and I love it.  I’m very grateful. Thank you so much for all your teaching and encouragement. With my most respectful regards, 

Debra Huffaker