Saturday, April 17, 2021

Change is Good

Coach Wayne’s Corner

There are times in life when you have to make decisions that are emotionally challenging and which require you to choose a new direction.

As many of you already know, last year I assumed a full time position as a laser technician with Lenkbar Surgical Solutions, LLC. Lenkbar is providing me an opportunity for advancement within the company, which I simply cannot ignore. The progression of my commitment to responsibilities there has led me to the realization that I only have enough time in my professional life to be fully committed to one career. Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that I must announce my departure from the Marco Island Racquet Center as coach and instructor.

My 25-year career as a tennis pro-fessional has provided me with much joy over the years.

I have had the privilege of meeting many legends of the game, including the great one himself, The Rocket, aka, Rod Laver.

I have made countless lifelong friends, who brought joy and happiness to my life.

I have spent the last 18 years at The Racquet Center, introducing and encouraging kids to participate in the sport of tennis. Over the years, I have joyfully watched students, some of whom started with me as young as age four, go on to compete in tournaments and play on middle school, high school and college teams.

In addition to all my years coaching tennis, I was fortunate enough to have discovered the sport of pickleball and all that it has to offer to players. I will always have a passion for the sport of tennis, but I see that the times are changing and that pickleball has become the most popular sport around. Originally viewed as a retirement generation sport, I am now seeing a large number of younger generation players getting into the game.

As I have been devoting the majority of my time to my new career in the medical field, I have come to the realization that my passion for instruction and coaching must continue to be a part of my life and that my talents and expertise could now be best applied on a part-time basis at a facility which specializes in pickleball.

On that note, I’ve accepted a position as an instructor at the Pickleball Academy of Southwest Florida, located at the East Naples Community Park, which is also home to the U.S. Open Pickleball Championships.

The Collier County Parks and Recreation Department has created a state of the art, world-class facility, with a total of 54 courts, five of which are covered instructional courts. This allows me the opportunity to provide programing in a cool and shaded area on a year-round basis.

Before moving to beautiful, sunny, Southwest Florida, I was an instructor in Houston, Texas, which has a climate not much different than here. I had the privilege of having access to indoor tennis courts and I discovered that my students could focus and retain much more information when we would do a lesson indoors. With its five covered instructional courts, East Naples Park provides a setting where my students can focus on what they are trying to accomplish, without having to deal with the physical stress of being in the heat of the sun.

I will be offering clinics, as well as individual private and group pickleball lessons at East Naples Park on Saturdays and Sundays, and yes, I am still available for tennis lessons.

The Pickleball Academy of Southwest Florida also provides daily clinics for all levels of players by International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association certified instructors. The IPTPA is the world leader in developing teaching standards in the sport of pickleball.

My grandfather once told me, “The only constant thing in life is constant change,” and that “The more you challenge yourself, the more you will succeed.” These recent changes in my life are all pointing me in a new, positive and challenging direction and for those of you who know me personally, you realize and understand that I am always up for the challenge!

Wayne Clark is a certified professional tennis instructor with over 25 years experience coaching players on all levels of the game. Wayne is also qualified in pickleball instruction. Contact Coach Wayne by email at or by phone or text at 239-450-6161.

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