Approved Instructors for Individual and Small Group Lessons
Music City Pickleball has approved the following certified Instructors to offer individual and small group lessons to our members. They are all accomplished players and experienced instructors. Instructors are not employees of Music City Pickleball. Please contact them directly via the email addresses listed.
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Alisha Russell, Lead Instructor
When I’m not playing or teaching pickleball, I spend my time with my 3 incredible and unique children. Growing up in Franklin, I played all kinds of sports and games but didn’t find pickleball until 5 years ago. At the Franklin Rec Center one day walking the track, these nets showed up, with a group of people playing and laughing and what seemed to be them having the time of their lives…..while exercising? I was intrigued. The next day, only one man was there to play so I hopped down there and asked him if he needed someone to play with. His name was Ray, he was 90 years old, and he taught me how to play pickleball. Since then, pickleball has become my passion.
I am a PPR trained and certified professional instructor with multiple 5.0 medal wins on the tournament circuit. My goal in every session with a client is for them to have worked hard, found improvement, and to leave smiling and sweaty! What I most love about this game besides being a fun, healthy, and social form of exercise, is that it’s always evolving leaving new aspects of the game to learn and therefore focus on new ways to get better. Now get a paddle and go hit some pickleballs!
You can contact Alisha via email.
Antonio Cummings, Instructor
I started playing pickleball in 2016 and have been a medalist in several tournaments across the country in addition to teaching clinics. I have an all-around sports background, tennis being my primary sport. When I initially heard about pickleball it didn’t sound like a game that would interest me based on how it was described. A few years later, I played at a recreation center in Oklahoma and completely fell in love with the game and came back to Nashville and saw there was play almost everywhere and never looked back.
My passion for the game has allowed me to be a part of a wonderful pickleball family across the country and to pursue pickleball full-time, as I am a IPTPA Level 2 Certified Instructor and a sponsored player of Engage Pickleball.
The goal is to continue to grow the game and deliver on other’s passion to improve their game. It’s so gratifying to see the light bulb go off for students and to see them get a sense of improvement in their game and watch them follow up with tournament success. When I’m not playing Pickleball, I’m spending time with my wife Casey and my son Aldin.
You can contact Antonio via email.
Kevin Mulder, Instructor
I was a tournament level tennis and racquetball player until injuries put a stop to those sports. Then I found pickleball and immediately fell in love with it, ordering my first paddle on the way home from the courts on day one. I have played every week since then and love to challenge myself in tournament play throughout the U.S. I enjoy the social and competitive aspects of this game and find it rewarding to enable and help others improve, excel, and become passionate about pickleball like I am.
My teaching philosophy is focused on what students want and need to take their games to the next level, be that more advanced rec play or tournaments. I like breaking the game down into the basics to help keep shots and strategies simple, allowing players to concentrate on a few key elements to help them improve. I’m excited to be an approved IPTPA and Certified PPR Teaching Pro with MCP and hope to see some new faces on the courts. Let’s play some ball….. 0-0-2!!
You can contact Kevin via email.
Stephen Grich, Instructor
Stephen is a PPR Certified Pro Instructor coming from an all sports background. Stephen is the Southeast Territory Manger for Engage Pickleball as well as a sponsored athlete. He started playing in 2013 and has been competing in tournaments across the country ever since. Stephen has been a medalist in a number of big name tournaments since he began competing in 2013.
Stephen is proud to coach and play with new players to the game in order to help grow the community and talent pool in his area. When he isn’t playing Pickleball, Stephen enjoys spending time with his family, Brittany and their children Brody, Bailey, Zara, and Odin (the last 3 aren’t humans ;))
You can contact Stephen via email.
Greg Bennorth – Instructor
Pickleball is a fantastic sport and I am fortunate to have found it back in 2018. I grew up a playing tennis at a competitive level and have a love for all racquet sports. Playing pickleball has been less stressful on my body yet providing great exercise allowing for hours of fun play both socially and competitively. I have been a medalist in local pickleball tournaments and have been the gold medalist in singles and doubles for the Tennessee State Senior Olympics. However, most of my play is more socially focused and it has been a great way to meet and have fun with others while being active at the same time!
I enjoy teaching pickleball to others whether they have strong skills or have never picked up a paddle in their lives. I am a PPR certified instructor and in my past, I was a tennis instructor. For me, the teaching philosophies are the same: help my students learn the game with simple steps and then improve their game using their skills, working on both shot techniques and playing strategies, all while having fun!
You can contact Greg via email.
Craig Irving, Instructor
Craig is an IPTPA Level 2 certified instructor. With five grown children, he has been a sports coach and teacher of many sports for decades. Having played nearly every sport since a very young age, Craig’s Pickleball addition commenced the first time he stepped on the court. “I was walking to the parking lot after a racquetball match and heard and odd sound and lots of laughter. I walked over and saw four happy people playing a game I had never seen before. Intrigued, I asked them what the heck they were doing. They invited me in and handed me a paddle. The rest is history- including my racquetball racket!”
Craig has been teaching the game to others ever since. He is as enthusiastic about teaching as he is about playing the game.
You can contact Craig via email.
Marne Smith – Instructor
Marne Smith is an IPTPA and a PPR Pro certified pickleball instructor. She has won gold medals with her identical twin sister at the Oregon State games, the Washington State games, Fall Brawl, the Grand Canyon Games and has been gold medal champion in doubles and mixed doubles in the State of Tennessee for the Senior Olympics for the past 6 years. She also took a bronze medal in her first international tournament in women’s doubles in Nagano Japan. When not teaching she loves to play and drill with fellow pickleball enthusiasts. She was also on the women’s professional golf tour for a year and loves any sport where you are hitting a ball. However, pickleball is her true love.
You can contact Marne via email.
Bo Sacks, Instructor
Bo is a pickleball enthusiast and has a passion for coaching. He is a PPR Certified Pickleball Instructor and plays or teaches everyday. His true love of the game lies in teaching others. He loves working with players of all abilities and relishes the opportunity to help them reach their full potential.
Pickleball has taken Bo all over the country and he loves the common thread that binds the players he meets along the way. That sense of community drives Bo to play and teach the game at the highest level possible.
You can contact Bo via email.
Michelle Casady, Associate Instructor
I’ve been active my whole life playing various sports. In 2018, I was convinced to try pickleball, and I was hooked immediately! Like many others who play, the pickleball court has become one of my happy places.
I love to play, drill and travel to tournaments across the country. In the past year, I’ve assisted in many group lessons from beginners to intermediate players. In the process, I’ve found it both very enjoyable AND extremely rewarding to help others improve their skills to become more confident pickleball players. I am a Level 1 IPTPA certified instructor and am excited to continue sharing my knowledge of the sport we all love.
You can contact Michelle via email.