SAN DIEGO — The unmistakable sound of pickleball rings out all over country, including San Diego County.
“The reason why pickleball is the number-one growing sport in the nation is because it is a low barrier to entry,” pickleball coach Timothy Ton explains about the phenomenon. “It’s really easy to learn the game and play the game, but it does take a lot of time to master the game and get really good at it.”
It’s been growing so fast over the last few years that Ton keeps busy with lots of one-on-one lessons. Ton’s clientele, he says, is “mostly beginners and people wanting to learn how to play, to intermediate-level players.”
Ton picks up clients on a new website called TeachMe.To, which matches people with coaches to learn sports like golf, tennis, surfing and of course, pickleball. The website was started in 2022 by a 25-year-old Pacific Beach resident, Nick O’Brien.
“We realized that it was so hard to find and book a local instructor,” said O’Brien, who now serves as the company’s CEO.
“(I was) in the Bay Area looking for a kite surfing coach and ultimately we ended up just giving up,” he explained about the inspiration to found the website. “It turned out all hands-on learning suffered from this problem — whether it was kite surfing, pickleball, music lessons, you name it … we wanted to build a product that would allow people to easily find and book a local coach.”
The lessons cost about $70 per one-hour session through the website, which helps you find a coach and a place to practice.
The FOX 5 Sports team met Ton on the courts at the Coronado Island Marriot Resort for a lesson. In no time, he had our team in full swing.
“It’s a really fun sport to get to know people and have a good time,” said Ton. “You can literally, in one day, meet 10 to 15 people if you go out somewhere on a pick-up court somewhere. You’re just meeting people left and right.”