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Coaching Junior
Pickleball

Are you interested in teaching or coaching pickleball to juniors?

  • Start with SPARC - Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation in the Community Certificate.

  • If you would like to know more, get familiar with LTPD - Long Term Player Development.

  • When ready to further develop your coaching skills, enter the NCCP coaching stream.

  • Interested in para-athletic development?

SPARCing Positive Youth Development through Sport

The path to becoming a junior pickleball coach with affiliated clubs in Alberta begins with taking this one hour training.

SPARC Guiding Principles:


SPARC Alberta believes sport, physical activity, and active recreation:

  • Are a positive outlet for children and youth to enjoy.

  • Are a fun way to learn valuable life lessons, and build important transferable skills.

  • Provide the opportunity for high quality, positive experiences for everyone involved – participants, athletes, coaches, trainers, parents/guardians, spectators, officials, etc.

  • Are important for all people to have access to, so they can connect with others and feel welcomed, included, respected, valued, and supported.

  • Are a great way for children and youth to develop and stay healthy for life: physically, mentally, emotionally, intellectually, socially, creatively, culturally, and spiritually.

  • Provide the opportunity for people to give back to their community.

Long-Term Player Development

Long-term player development is a multi-stage training, competition, and recovery pathway guiding an individual’s experience in sport and physical activity.


Junior Pickleball Coaches need to be aware of the seven stages of LTPD to provide the appropriate coaching for their participants. Want to know more? Here is a full presentation on LTPD.

Long Term Development -
Play for Fun

Active Start (0-6 years old) is about developing basic movement skills and sport skills through PLAY with 100% focus on FUN. 

The focus at this stage is on building overall motor skills including paddle and ball activities such as rolling, carrying, catching, throwing the ball as well as, carrying, tapping, or striking the ball in various ways with a paddle.

LTPD FUNdamentals

FUNdamentals (female 6-8; male 6-9 years old) 60% FUN; 40% FORM
Focus is on developing a wide range of movement, balance, and object control skills; basic sport skills include grip, stance, ball control, serves, ground strokes, volleys, net shots, and footwork.

Long Term Player Development - Play for Fun

Learn to Train (female 8-11 and male 9-12 years of age).

At this stage, the focus is on refining basic skills including serve, ground strokes, volleys; developing net shots, learning rules, and positioning. Players become more aware and focused on the court and exhibit more self control.

For an overview of each stage, see page 10 of Pickleball Long-Term Player Development.

10 Year Old Willsy is Back at it AGAIN! Aug 2018

Kay's Kids getting kids involved in pickleball Jun 2019

Long Term Player Development - Play to Win

Train to Train (Female 11-15; Male 12-16).

Typically 2-8 sport years. The focus is on developing speed and strength; developing and consolidating specific skills, and refining form.

Page 23 of Pickleball Long-Term Player Development has a map showing various components of each stage.

Simone's Pickleball Kid's Clinic Apr 2021

12 Year Old Anna Leigh Waters. The Future of Pickleball Looks Bright!

Long Term Player
Development - Play to Win

Train to Compete (Female 15+; Male 15+ ).

Typically 4-10 sport years. The focus is on building champions.

At this stage, the focus is on refining basic skills including serve, ground strokes, volleys, developing net shots, learning rules, and positioning. Players become more aware and focused on the court and exhibit more self-control.

For a list of skills at each stage of development, see the Closer Look: Skill Development chart for youth on page 40 of Pickleball Long-Term Player Development

Exciting Pickleball Action from USAPA Nationals Junior Division Oct 2016

2018 Pickleball Nationals - Xavier NcCorchuk & Johnny Greenwood - Juniors Boys Doubles

Long Term Player Development - Play for Life

Competitive for Life – After PHV (Peak Height Velocity; growth spurt).

Active for Life – After PHV or when basic skills have been developed.

Becoming Para Ready

To prepare organizations for para-athlete play, here is a national Para Athletics development strategy.

This is focused on building a strong foundation at the provincial level and on creating greater capacity, support, and alignment of para-athletics. The strategy includes integration and inclusion of para athlete play at all levels.

© Pickleball Alberta 2022