St. Patrick's Day Greetings!


  • Arizona Tournament Results
  • BBAC Events and News
  • IPTPA Level 1 Coach Certification
  • Scheduling Time w/ Coach Mark
  • Save on Vulcan Paddles
  • Coaching and Court Access Fees
  • Key Lesson Learned from Arizona
  • Tip of the Month

Arizona Tournament Results

While "snow birding" in Surprise, Arizona this winter, Coach Mark played eleven tournament events (six singles, four mixed doubles, one men's doubles) and won ten medals in 4.0-4.5/50+ competition. Here are the specifics:

  • Legacy Championships (silver in men's singles)
  • Legacy Classic (gold in men's singles)
  • Happy Trails Classic (bronze in mixed doubles w/ partner Joan Boyll)
  • PPA Desert Ridge Open (gold in men's singles)
  • Wylder Cup (silver in men's mini-singles and bronze in mixed doubles w/ Joan Boyll)
  • Kokapelli Classic (bronze in mixed doubles w/ partner Judy Musgrave)
  • PPA Arizona Grand Slam Open (gold in men's singles)
  • USA Pickleball Southwest Regionals (silver in men's singles and bronze in men's doubles w/ partner Bob Dunst)

Southwest Regional Medals

By winning silver in men's singles in the 4.0-4.5/65 age bracket, Coach Mark now has the opportunity to pre-register for the Diamond Amateur Championships in early December in Florida. Winners at the Diamond Amateur earn "gold tickets" to the U.S. Pickleball Association's National Championship Tournament in Dallas in November 2024.

FYI, there were other players from Bellingham, Seattle, and Washington state who competed in the Southwest Regional tourney and came away with gold or silver medals. Congratulations to Art Lim of Bellingham, Kyle Jacobsen, Phil Girolami, Dennis Poppe, Bob Bowling, Bill Rumpf, and Kirk Dawson!

BBAC Events and News

Coach Mark is starting his fourth season as the Certified Teaching Pro at the Birch Bay Activity Center in Birch Bay, Washington. With support from the dedicated leadership and operational team at BBAC, a full schedule of pickleball learning and training programs as well as IPTPA Skill Level Rating services are planned for 2023.

In addition, other events and activities are planned this year, including:

  • Resurfacing and repainting the three outdoor courts in late April
  • Organizing mini-singles and doubles tournament events in May and late August
  • Scheduling a third season of the Youth Program this summer
  • Conducting monthly Introduction to Pickleball and Workout with Coach Mark programs
  • Research into the potential for expanding and covering the outdoor courts

To check out the full schedule of Coach Mark programs and services, go to:

If you have any questions, contact BBAC directly at 360-656-6416 or Coach Mark at 252-451-0367. To learn more about Coach Mark Pickleball programs and services, visit

IPTPA Level 1 Coach Certification

Are you interested in becoming a certified pickleball coach? Or maybe, a better “skills and drills” session leader with your local club? Would you like to introduce pickleball to friends and neighbors?

If so, the IPTPA Level 1 Coach Certification Program might be right up your alley. This one-day program is for players with a minimum 3.0 skill rating interested in coaching newcomer and lower novice players. Level 1 certification is a prerequisite for becoming a Level 2 Certified Teaching Profession through IPTPA (the International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association).

Two eight-hour sessions of the Level 1 program have been scheduled at BBAC for June 24 and 25, 2023. You can register online for the “Blaine Washington Teach the Teacher” Workshop at http:// (scroll down to the bottom of the home page).

Contact Coach Mark at if you have any questions. 

Scheduling Time with Coach Mark

Coach Mark's schedule for the outdoor season (starting May 1) has filled up quickly. If you're interested in private sessions or group sessions of 2, 3, or 4 players, now is the time to reserve a spot or ask to be put on the Coach Mark Waitlist. Currently, these time slots are available:

  • Tuesdays from 2:30-4:00 (on May 2 and 16)
  • Wednesdays from 2:30-4:00 (on May 3 and 10 and then bi-monthly)
  • Wednesdays from 4:00-5:30 (available weekly or bi-monthly)
  • Saturdays and Sundays (ask Coach Mark about available time slots)

In 2023, Coach Mark will be sending Coach Mark Alerts to notify current or new clients of cancellations and openings in his weekly schedule.

Save On Vulcan Paddles

As a player ambassador for Vulcan Sporting Goods, Coach Mark provides demo paddles to clients seeking to upgrade their paddle technology. For clients who order paddles, Coach Mark offers significant savings through wholesale ordering and delivery.

Recently, Vulcan has come out with a new "raw composite" paddle design. Coach Mark is testing two new V570 paddles for both singles and doubles play. To learn more about this new paddle technology as well as the entire line of paddles offered by Vulcan, click on this link:

Visit the Vulcan Website

Coaching and Court Access Fees

In 2023, Coach Mark will keep his coaching fee at $40 per hour (plus tax). The court access fee at BBAC will be $5 per session (indoors or outdoors). Note: this session fee is divided by the number of players on court and does not apply to BBAC-sponsored programs like the Intro class, Junior Camps, or Workouts with Coach Mark.

If you're drilling or taking lessons and coached gameplay sessions with Coach Mark at Semiahmoo, there is an additional $10 per hour court access fee (again, divided by the number of players on court). Per Coach Mark's agreement with the Resort, health and fitness club members and their guests are permitted to schedule indoor or outdoor court time for lessons and training.

Key Lesson Learned from Arizona

Coach Mark spent a lot of time on the pickleball court during his 3.5 month tournament trip to Arizona. And for the first time, he was able to watch professional athletes play and compete live at two PPA tour events (the Desert Ridge Open in Phoenix and Arizona Grand Slam in Mesa).

The key lesson learned from playing against solid and talented 4.5-5.0 players in league play and watching the pros? It was - Slow It Down!

By slowing the game of pickleball down, these players were able to dictate game tempo and more easily place the ball at the feet of opponents. In addition, they were able to setup shots to attack (and put away for good). Finally, when they were attacked, their superb defensive reset skills enabled them to stay in the rally longer and at times, turn a difficult position into a winning shot.

My experience in playing against talented 4.5-5.0 players revealed the challenge in competing against someone with incredible control and consistency while dropping, dinking, and resetting. Not only do these shots test your patience, but they generate psychological pressure because you know they are just 14 feet away at the other non-volley line ready to pounce on any ball you lift up ever so slightly.

I can't tell you how many times my partners and I felt like we did a good job of keeping the ball down only to have it come right back to our feet. This tested our ability to respond in kind and keep the ball slow and low!

Here's a video from Jordan Briones about playing the "slow game":

Tip of the Month

While in Arizona this winter, I had an opportunity to spend 12 hours on court with Jordan Briones. I asked Jordan to help me improve my singles gameplay so I could earn a gold or silver medal at the Southwest Regional Tournament singles event on February 28. I wanted to learn how to play singles pickleball the right way so I could compete at the regional level against what I expected to be extremely tough competition.

Well, my goal was achieved. Just as important, in the six singles tournament events entered this winter in Arizona, I won three gold and three silver . All of the players I encountered were tough. Yeah, they may be 50+, but some of these guys hit incredible shots while moving like they were thirty years younger (I'm talking about you Bob, Eric, Jonathan, and Chris)!

My Tip of the Month comes from Jordan Briones. In our work together, he stressed footwork and readiness to hit every single shot. The key skill we practiced was "split stepping." Yes, I was doing it, but not regularly and not at the right time. I was one-tenth of a second late, which translated into not being ready to hit my next shot at the baseline or if moving forward after my return of serve, near the non-volley line.

Here's a video from Jordan on this very important skill that we all need to practice and use:

Mark Livingston

"Coach Mark"

Thank you for your dedication to skill development, training, and gameplay performance improvement. And thank you for being a Coach Mark client and loyal promoter.

I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to help you grow, improve, and succeed as a pickleball athlete!