YMCA Arlington Tennis & Pickleball Center Pickleball Coach Bios | YMCA DC

YMCA Arlington Tennis & Pickleball Center Pickleball Coach Bios

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George Dwyer

George  is a certified teaching pro by the Professional Pickleball Registry. He has taught hundreds of students through Introductory, Intermediate, and Individual instruction sessions and clinics.  He has been teaching for several years for the Dept. of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities in the City of Alexandria, Virginia and most recently for FirstServe Tennis and at the YMCA.  Dr. Dwyer is a contributing editor at Pickleball Magazine, and serves on the Advisory Board of the Jimmy and Rosslyn Carter School of Peace and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University.

Forrest Bankston

Forrest is a certified pickleball professional and also rated at the highest UTRP level (P4 – Expert/Pro).  His recent tournament success has enabled him to earn a senior professional ranking. His reputation as a pro-level player and effective coach in pickleball has grown rapidly in the DMV area, including 2 national titles and multiple state and regional-level tournament wins. He has developed a highly effective pickleball curriculum adaptable for all stages, beginner to pro, for player development. He has successfully rolled it out via adult day camps in the summer of 2023 at YMCA Bethesda, with another coming in January 2024 right here at the Arlington Y!


Paul “Pickles” Smith

Meet “Pickles” Paul Smith, a distinguished Arlington, VA native and PPR Certified Pickleball Instructor with over 30 years of coaching excellence in tennis. Having gracefully transitioned his passion from tennis to pickleball, Paul stands as a beacon of skill and sportsmanship. His recent triumph over world #2 pickleball pro Anna Bright at the A.I.P. Pros vs 5.0s event attests to his mastery of the court. With a commitment to precision and a wealth of instructional experience, Paul brings a unique blend of professionalism and passion to his pickleball coaching, ensuring players not only refine their skills but also savor the joy of the game.


Paula Allevan

Paula comes as a seasoned tennis professional with an extensive background in the ITF and NCAA competition, now channeling her coaching finesse into the world of pickleball! Recently certified as a PPR coach, Paula not only loves teaching the game but is also fervently training to compete in professional pickleball tournaments, with her first one in March of 2024. In every session, Paula’s deep-seated passion for pickleball shines through, whether she’s teaching or training. She places significant emphasis on cultivating a robust technical foundation and shrewd tactical insights. For Paula, coaching is about holistic development, embedding tenets of self-belief, resilience, and conscientiousness in every player she guides.


Tara Hodge

Coach Tara has been a pickleball player, ambassador, and certified PPR coach, with years of experience teaching players of all backgrounds along with her competitive play at local and regional tournaments. From the beginner level and beyond, she enjoys seeing each of her students continue to improve each day on court.  She looks forward to continuing helping  to grow the game for all ages and levels!

David Gu

David Gu is a seasoned pickleball enthusiast and member with the USA Pickleball National Association. With a diverse background in tennis, table tennis, and badminton, David has won both Gold and Bronze medals in the Montgomery County ‘Rising Star’ 4.0+ men’s double tournaments. He is a certified PPR Pickleball Instructor, dedicated to continuous improvement through engagement with local 4.5+ Pro Pickleball players. With years of coaching experience, David provides invaluable guidance to beginner and intermediate pickleball players. Holding a Master of Music Degrees from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, David’s multifaceted talents extend beyond the court.