Coach Kieran is a former NCAA Division 1 tennis player with experience playing and winning prize money tournaments in multiple nations, along with 20 years of coaching experience. He has run large camp programs with over a dozen staff and 300 kids, along with many years experience coaching nationally-ranked athletes.
In December 2020, Kieran discovered pickleball. After witnessing pickleball's growing popularity and inclusivity in terms of learning curve, he decided to shift gears away from tennis and focus his own training and teaching around pickleball.
"Since I was the number 1 player in my high school table tennis team and a high level tennis player, pickleball, a cross between those two sports comes naturally to me. Not only that, but I love the social aspect and the joy people are experiencing in play, especially with the easier learning curve."
Now that his focus has shifted towards pickleball, he's been trying to find creative ways to introduce people to the game and help them learn correctly so that they can improve and decrease their chances of injury.
"Some weeks ago I started hosting free clinics, and it's been a big hit. Each clinic has between eight to 12 people. Most of them continue to play in some capacity, whether it be taking lessons or partaking in the Monday night socials at Keith's pole barn. We had to expand from two courts to three to four recently because it has become so popular."
Another area that has needed to evolve is his teaching format.
"My line of work seemingly involves a never ending series of experiments. Some work, some don't. Set lesson times during the week don't work well anymore, so I'm shifting gears on that front too, towards more of a workshop model. The full day workshops attract people from all over the inland northwest"
Coach Kieran is also considering playing tournaments in 2022 on the professional stage.
"I'm 40 years old now, and tennis is getting pretty rough when playing singles tournaments against fit 19 year olds. I certainly have a soft spot for tennis, but I want to try my hand in a series of pickleball tournaments, both singles and doubles. The pickleball court is smaller, and the games are shorter. I'm pretty fit and fast for 40, so I think I could have some years left at the professional level. I'm going to work on improving some skills and prioritize study over this winter to mix with those guys."
Faith is a biggest part of Kieran's life. He, his wife, Allie, and his children attend Kootenai Community Church just north of Sandpoint.
"Since my wife and I were saved by the grace of God alone, we consider our faith in everything we do. I mention this not as some ploy to attract customers, but so that you're informed of my values and perspective when it comes to teaching. For example, often people comment on my composure on court. However, my composure is rooted in accepting God's ordained plan. Anger and aggression is disobedience in that context, since it's an act of distrust or even pride in assuming that things should have gone the way I think they should have gone, and God had it wrong. This is a much different approach compared to a secular human psychological view of mental toughness."
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