You want a good lesson, and you're looking for something more.

Coach Kieran has a lot of experience on and off the court. Read on to learn about his story and how Panhandle & Play came to be.

Don't hesitate to contact us if we can help you in anyway.

the coach's story

Part 1
A kid learning tennis

I’ve played tennis since the age of seven. I grew up in a town called Mooroolbark in Victoria, Australia, on the eastern outskirts of Melbourne. As a child, I would copy the movements of tennis players, which would one day take me around the world. I would practice every day against a small section of brick wall in our backyard. Unfortunately that small section of wall was next to a window that I was particularly good at breaking. 

Part 2

An angry teen and adult

In my teens, I played in tournaments all around Australia: Melbourne, Hobart, Sydney, Adelaide and many places out in the country. In a way, I had a love / hate relationship with tennis. I didn’t enjoy feeling pressure to perform. I also was technically limited in that I learned bad habits. This combination made me somewhat of an angry player or perhaps just an angry person. I broke several racquets by throwing them and bouncing them, and often I would curse. This is something I see regularly on the court, and this was somewhat of a pattern of mine until after I graduated playing Division 1 tennis at Jacksonville State University in Alabama, 2005.

Part 3
Overcoming bad technique

Since I was getting older and realized I wasn’t going to be a professional tennis player, I decided to set my sights on being a coach. I had coached prior to and through college, but I wanted to become a great coach. Unfortunately, I still carried baggage with me. I wasn’t technically or mentally ready. I couldn’t stand the thought of passing down my own poor tendencies for others to deal with. I wanted to be a good example, so I decided to essentially relearn from scratch. I really focused on my technical and mental game, since I was fairly good with strategy. 

Part 4
Endurance and expression

I promised myself that I would never show my cards again to an opponent. Over the period of many years, I slowly trained my mind and body to relearn bad habits. On the court, I became mentally like ice. I never gave away a negative expression, or slump my shoulders. I also studied movement very closely. I didn’t just learn superficial movements. I studied breathing, core stability and tennis technique. This way, I knew I was really correcting my foundation. This paid off in a big way. Not only did I start enjoying tennis, but I continue to become better as I age. I even won two prize money tournaments in a row 2019 in the deep south defeating many former collegiate athletes.

Part 5
The opportunity

Due to changes in life circumstances, like getting married, applying for US citizenship, having kids and moving locations, I haven’t taught tennis in close to five years. But the Lord works in mysterious ways. He brought me and my family to Bonners Ferry, Idaho. I didn’t come here with the intention of teaching tennis, but a couple of months back, I decided to contact the Parks and Recreation Department and see if there was an opportunity. I noticed there wasn’t a full time coaching program, so I thought I’d offer one. They were very excited to hear about it, and they invited me back the next month to go through further details. This is how Panhandle & Play was born. 

Part 6
The Vision

So now I’m excited to offer the people of Boundary County a brand new tennis and pickleball program. I’m looking forward to seeing people in the community develop their games, grow as individuals and partake in the joys of competition. I hope my story has helped you get to know me better, and I look forward to doing everything I can to serve you. No pun intended. 

the coach's accomplishments

  • Winner 2019 Macon, Georgia Banana Open Mens Singles prize money tournament
  • QF 2019 Mens Open Singles, prize money tournament in Montgomery, AL
  • Division 1 scholarship player at Jacksonville State University 2004-2005
  • NJCAA 2003 All American at Central Alabama Community College
  • Top 30 Australian Nationally Ranked Junior
  • coach kieran

    Founder, Panhandle & Play

    the coaching philosophy

    here's what you'll learn

    playing in small groups

    Classes are no larger than six. Each individual learns differently, has their own goals and progresses at different speeds. With a small class, I can provide each individual with adequate attention for development.

    how to teach yourself

    Through various exercises, trial and error, and exploration, you’ll get to know your body and how it works to perform athletic tasks. 

    how to master yourself

    You will learn mental mastery. Of course, we’re all human and we all have our moments, however, by training your mind through repetition to not react to the past or worry about the future, you’ll develop into a much happier player and person. 

    having sound technique

    If your technique is limiting your performance, it’s difficult to stay mentally stable since it’s naturally frustrating to not be able to do what your body is capable of. Furthermore, by focusing on sound technique, your body is less likely to sustain any overuse injuries since the kinetic chain of events. 

    playing with your opposite hand

    You will learn how to play with your other hand. One assumption that most coaches make is that only the dominant hand should be exercised. In my training, I spend 50 percent of the time training my opposite side. This is relevant for coordination, discovery and equilibrium. 

    how to feel the ball

    You will learn an emphasis on control. This is why I’ll prescribe you with many control exercises, often slowing things down so that you “feel” the ball. “Feel” is often overlooked because it isn’t as fun as hitting a ball really hard, but it makes a big difference. 

    having fun

    If we’re not having fun while we’re learning, then why do it at all? Tennis and pickleball are wonderful ways to explore our bodies, enjoy whacking balls around, bond with others and improve all the various components of fitness, thus making our lives more enjoyable. 

    how to be humble

    You will learn to be humble in victory and how to be gracious in defeat. Winning should be enjoyed, yet put in perspective and embracing a loss teaches us a lot.

    how to be a lifelong learner

    You will learn from a coach who is a player always in training and plays tournaments. Even at age 40, I continually train and plan on playing open prize money tournaments this year in Washington and lower Idaho. I practice what I preach, which sets a great example to others. 

    Start your lessons now

    Lessons will run into fall. Get started now by joining the summer camp.