-1st year competing at amateur level: gold medalist at Indian Wells Nationals 2018 in 4.5 Men's Doubles, as well as 4.5 gold medalist in many other California tournaments.
-Competing at pro level: after playing first match against Ben Johns as the bottom seed, progressed on the men's doubles and mixed doubles pro tour to peaking as the #27 ranked pickleballer in the world based on DUPR summer 2021 world rankings which analyzed all pro tournaments results over the previous few years. A special thanks to Jill Braverman, DJ Young, and Aaron Nissen for training with me and agreeing to whack the wiffle ball around with me in the pro tournaments.
-Original teaching background in piano & golf.
-3+ Years Teaching in the San Francisco Bay Area & around New England.
-Got into teaching to 1) to be an innovator and leader in defining how this relatively new sport will be played and taught for decades to come, and, 2) provide highly customized teaching to contrast the structured, low-customized clinics.
-Moved back to New England in 2020 after ten years living in California with the goal to be one of the leaders in helping New England players improve.
-Primary Teaching Approach: watch, test, and listen to my students, and then figure out how to simplify a lot of information into what is often "just" the next 1-3 lowers hanging fruits each individual needs to focus on and how to tackle them.
-Strong experience teaching all levels from true beginners all the way up to 5.0 national-level tournament players.
-Strongest Teaching Areas: what skills to prioritize based on your skill level, tournament preparation and tournament strategy for intermediate and advanced players, video coaching, helping 4.0 and 4.5 players achieve high 4.5 and 5.0 skill level.
Student Testimonials, from complete beginners to 5.0 skill level players all around the San Francisco Bay Area and New England:
Your work with him has been dramatic. He’s really got that shot down. I’ve been playing with him for years and felt I could hold my own. No longer. And it’s due to that topspin attack shot.
I have taken lessons and clinics with four different pros and Dave is the best!
Thanks again for all you help, tonight really starting to come together, need to focus on better third shots but everything else in good shape thanks to you.
I played so much better tonight. Real breakthrough on the serve and drive. My friend said this is the best I've ever played against him in skinny singles. He still beat me, but the games were much closer. Feels great. Thank you Dave!
I wanted to thank you for my best day ever on a pickleball court. David is certainly a top notch player but better yet he is an extremely nice person. I’m certainly glad that I got to meet him and play.
I found pickleball six years ago and improved quickly to a 5.0 but my game really took off after deciding to work with Dave. I have always had a love for the process and intellectual challenge of improving and this is what makes Dave so unique. Beyond being a phenomenally skilled player, Dave teaches you to think on the court. This is unique in the hundreds of other pickleball lessons I have taken more focused on technique. All of the on-the-court lessons and video reviews I have had with Dave are fun with just the right blend of positive support and direct feedback: I have watched each video dozens of times and get something out of it each time. I think Dave will be great with any student but especially the motivated 3.5-4.5 player that is open to new ideas.
In the past, I have worked with pros who rotely assigned drills without paying any attention at all to individual differences in both style and skill. My experience with at least three high-level pros in the past was especially disappointing in one key area: they all wanted me to switch all aspects of my game to mimic their game. The result was that the parts of my game that had been working well began to fall apart.
When Dave came along, I joined a group he was teaching simply because my sister was in the group. The decision turned out to be serendipitous for me. By both observing us and also by playing with us, Dave was able to hone in on key weaknesses, and design drills and practice sessions to target those problems.
One of the things I love about Dave's teaching is that he is very savvy about identifying which skills are working for you and are likely to continue working for you. And then of course he can also see what's not working or is likely to stop working as you move up to play against better players. This approach, interestingly, gave me confidence in my game and also confidence in Dave's advice.
The cherry on top of the excellent instruction was Dave's exuberant, friendly, and funny personality. We all loved him.
I began working with Dave Velardo this summer. I have been trying to improve my short game (drops and dinks) and was struggling to figure out why I was struggling so much with consistency. As a tennis player and coach, my focus tends to be on trying to analyze technique and hone in on which part of a stroke is breaking down. Being relatively new to Pickleball, I wasn’t able to figure out the technique for drops and dinks on my own. A friend suggested taking lessons with Dave. Prior to our first lesson Dave reached out to ask me about my strengths, weaknesses and goals. (A definitely plus in my book and a sign of a well prepared coach!). At the start of the lesson, we reviewed my answers and Dave hit with me to assess my overall game/style.
He selected drills to expose my weaknesses so that he could see and analyze what I was doing wrong. But more importantly, Dave was able to figure out what I was doing correctly in some situations and make the connection to how I could use that to improve my drops and dinks. By the time I left the first lesson with Dave, there was already a drastic improvement in my shots!
After the lesson, Dave followed up with a written summary of what we worked on, his suggestions for improvement, and specific drills I should incorporate into my routine so that I could continue practicing. With those pointers, I have been able to continue gaining consistency in my short game and use it to set up my attacking style.
In addition to helping my technique, Dave has been a huge help with strategy. By participating in his coached play sessions, I have gained a deeper understanding of the nuances of Pickleball and am better able to choose the right shot for the situation. Overall, I think Dave is a great coach and I would definitely recommend him to anyone looking to take their game to the next level!
I have worked with several professionals to improve my game and I am pleased to share that Dave has had the most significant impact on my game. Dave has a unique ability to observe through drills and skinny singles to quickly determine what to work on that will have the biggest impact.
Like most pickleball players the 3rd shot drop is the most troubling. I have learned several ways to hit my drop but none were consistent. Dave quickly noticed what I needed to adjust, and from that day my game took on a new dimension.
We spent most of two sessions on this issue. Dave simplified my technique and allowed me to have a consistent drop shot. In addition, while we have spent some time in sessions playing defense from no-mans land, Dave gave me a new insight into ways of getting fully to the non volley zone or waiting at the baseline for the right opportunity.
Dave is an easy going teacher, highly professional with a contagious enthusiasm for the sport.
He is particularly impressive coaching in a playing lesson introducing or correcting tactics and shot selection under pressure while showcasing his skills. Dave has introduced me to many subtleties in shot selection and tactics I never knew about.
Dave clearly enjoys what he does. The lessons fly by and I always look forward to the next one. Because of this and all his talent,I highly recommend Dave to anyone interested in hiring a first class Pickleball Professional!
Because I have come to trust Dave's advice so much, I had the idea to hire Dave as a coach for a mixed doubles tournament in San Diego. Just as he hones in on weaknesses quickly during a private lesson, Dave is a wizard when it comes to coming up with a prematch game plan based solely on watching two opponents warm up for two minutes. We ended the tournament in a very frustrating loss against a great team...
Our power game which had worked the whole day was failing against a team with phenomenal volley defense. Dave quickly recognized that we had to play, as he calls it, "slow and low", meaning to force the opponent to hit a lot of very consistent dinks in a row, keeping the ball away from their volley defense. But guess what? Despite Dave pounding the table over the course of two timeouts in the first game, we couldn't get away from our instinctive power game and we got beaten badly, never forcing our opponents to play "slow and low". I really think we can beat that team next time! Amazing, thanks Dave!
Hi Dave. Just a short note to say thanks. Whenever I need a pick me up of all sorts of encouragement I will just listen to this video. You are a great teacher. I like your style and I love what you are doing with this video examination business. Brilliant.
I bought this match because I couldn't figure out why we lost! Your commentary is very very helpful! You describe in good detail and are very specific on the strategy. Ours was a more general strategy... we will probably play them again so will use this.
They are both crazy about your voice-over strategy videos.
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