Mercedes Paopao-Griffin, Oceanside, CA Basketball Coach

Mercedes Paopao-Griffin



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Virtual Training Available~ Experienced Former Pro & Division I Athlete ~ CU 2013 Basketball Coach of the Year ~ Hall of Fame recipient at La Jolla Country Day View all coaching experience

This coach is unavailable to take clients at this time.

Training Locations
  • Oregon State University (OR)

  • 8 years

  • Qualified Private Coach
    Passed Coach Course

  • Adults, Kids, Teenagers

  • Guard

  • Shooting, Reading the Floor, Pick and Roll, Passing, Moving Without the Ball, Footwork, Defense, Ball Handling, Attacking the Rim, Agility


  • Oregon State University (OR)

  • 8 years

  • Qualified Private Coach
    Passed Coach Course


  • Adults, Kids, Teenagers

  • Guard

  • Shooting, Reading the Floor, Pick and Roll, Passing, Moving Without the Ball, Footwork, Defense, Ball Handling, Attacking the Rim, Agility

More About Coach Mercedes

I played basketball for over 20 years. I've played everywhere from the outside playgrounds in Harlem to the indoor courts in La Jolla, CA. I graduated from La Jolla Country Day where we won 4 CIF championships and 2 state championships. I accepted a scholarship to play Division I basketball at Oregon State for four years in the Pac-10 conference, leading the conference in assists and free throw percentage and making all-defensive team. I went on to play professionally overseas in Israel, Poland, and Portugal. In my first season overseas, I led my team in steals, assists, and scoring.

Now, I want to help players improve on their ball handling, shooting, and passing to get to that next level. If it's a freshman trying to make the JV team, or you're on JV trying to make Varsity, or you want to play college basketball, I want to help give players an opportunity to reach their goals. I was in that same position and I know what it takes to advance your game to the next level. I am a true point guard and have played this position my entire life, unlike most people who are often out of position due to their size and skill level. I am here to serve, to find my own realization through the service of these athletes.

I have coached elementary, middle, and high school players through my alma mater, La Jolla Country Day as well as coached and trained collegiate and high school athletes at San Diego Mesa College, Canyon Crest Academy, Mt. Carmel HS, Santana HS, Westview HS, Cathedral HS, Madison HS, Carlsbad HS, Scripps Ranch HS, Vista HS, Bethel College, University of California San Diego, San Diego State, University of San Diego, Highland Preparatory, Howard and many more.

Coach Tip: Somehow we've come to believe that greatness is only for the chosen few, for the superstars. The truth is, greatness is for us all. This is not about lowering expectations; it's about raising them for every last one of us. Greatness is not in one special place, and it's not in one special person. Greatness is wherever somebody is trying to find it.

Awarded CoachUp's 2013 Basketball Coach of the Year!!

- Surf and Slam All tournament team (2006)
- 1st in the Pac-10 and 8th nationally with 6.4 assists per game. (2007)
- 1 of 45 players invited to try out for USA Basketball's Under 21 National Team.(2007)
- Pac-10 All Defensive team(2008)
- 2x All Pac-10 (08,09)
- Ranked 1st in FT% (2009)
- 2nd in assists in Pac-10 (2009)
- Tel Kabir, Israel (17.1 points, 5.0 assists, 2.8 boards & 2.7 steals 47% fg ('09-'10)
- 2 years - Leszno, Poland (13.3 points, 2.6 boards, 2.7 assists, 1.8 steals & 47.4% FG '10-'11)
- Boa Viagem, Portugal 2015 (14 pts. 3 assists)

My style or approach may not be for everyone but I'm here for what I do, and I do an extraordinary job. Before I meet with a potential client I must know we are a good fit. I want athletes who love the game and want to learn as much as possible. I want people with the ability and willingness to get better every session. It doesn't matter if this is your first time or not, all I care about is a great attitude and effort.

I pride myself on reaching each of my clients goals in a time frame. I tailor each workout specifically to every individual's needs. Depending on your goal and how soon you want to meet it, determines how I design your entire package and process throughout our time together.

Basketball is 90% mental, 10% physical, and it's my job to break through that mental barrier a lot of athletes have trouble doing.

What you should expect in your first session is about 15 minutes of stationary and full court ball handling. The next 15 minutes are using the moves effectively while attacking the basket. The next 15 minutes are about proper shooting technique/form. The last 15 minutes will combine everything.

After our first session I depict each drill on what the player needs to improve on. If it's footwork, being confident with the ball, finishing at the rim, making smart decisions on a fast break, knowing when to attack and when to pull-up, drawing the charge etc. I help you become better than you believe you are.

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Client Reviews

Coach Mercedes is awesome. My boys love the training they said they are learning things they are not taught by their coach at school.

We've only had one session with Mercedes and to be honest I wasn't there for it- but my son really liked her and came home feeling like he had a solid plan for improvement. I was super impressed by the training packet she gave him and how much it talks about mindset and fear and ways to get around mental hang-ups. I think Mercedes is really going to help my son in more ways than one. She is very fast in response to messages and easy to schedule with. I look forward to working with her more!

Coach Mercedes is amazing! We love having her train our boys. She is incredibly technical during drills and still makes it competitive and fun. The boys always look forward to seeing her for their training session. My favorite part is she provides homework! Keeps them working hard all week. We are incredibly lucky to have come across Coach and I highly refer her to any and everyone who wants to improve their game.

Coach Mercedes, after 1 session, significantly raised my kids’ confidence with their ball handling and shooting. They’re already better, and continue to practice, just the way she taught them. She reached their young minds. That’s so important to me. I’m so glad we were lead to coach up, to coach Mercedes.

Coach Mercedes was truly amazing. Only one session with her and I am already starting to feel my confidence come back. Her explanations and examples of everything really helped me understand what was going on. Thank you Coach Mercedes! Alycia

She’s great! My son enjoyed working with her a lot. She’s patient, explains things clearly and has great energy. Will definitely keep working with her.

Great rapport with my daughter. Fantastic progress since she started with Coach Mercedes. Mercedes is great.

We absolutely love Coach Mercedes. She focuses on specific areas that our son needs help with and we see a huge improvement. She is patient and diligent. We especially love how knowledgeable she is and caters to each child’s level of play. We can’t wait to see how much more our son grows and learns.

Very impressed with her coaching style!! Loved her assigning homework!

Great first day

Coach Mercedes was a great coach for our daughter. She explains every drill in detail and is a constant source of encouragement.

Coach Mercedes has been great! She has provided a customized package to meet the needs of my 9th grader who just picked up the ball a year ago. She corrects with confidence and allows the player to make mistakes...then learn from them. She is a professional and comes well prepared. Her written feedback is powerful to keep us, as parents, in the loop of how we engage with him during the week. She has been flexible and positive.

Coach Mercedes is a great coach. She is amazing with my 11 year old son and he enjoys going to training sessions. Highly recommend!

Coach Mercedes took the time to really understand my 14 year old son’s needs post injury as well as respect his aspirations. She’s supportive and manages to push him without being pushy—a rare feat! We feel fortunate to have found her.

Coach Mercedes is a great coach. She is very patient and detailed oriented and focused on helping people improve their skills

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Zhareya really enjoyed her first lesson. She was able to take away a lot from it. Looking forward to the next session. We appreciate how thorough coach Cedes is. It looks like Zhareya can really improve her game if she follows coach Cedes guidance!

First session with Mercedes, and cj is amped! I can tell Mercedes really takes this serious. Coach gave CJ a handbook and he read week 1 on the way home from his 5pm session. It’s now 10pm and CJ is still outside working on his drills that Coach Mercedes gave him at 5pm. I am excited to see Cj’s progress and watch him apply it to his game! He needs this. Thanks Mercedes

Good job so far.

Mercedes is very responsive, reliable and likable! Our son really enjoyed working with her.

Great coach. A lot of patience and knowledgeable with the basketball techniques. The workbook provided was very detailed, informative and useful tool. I look forward for more sessions.

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Great coach! My son loves working with her!

Mercedes made an immediate connection with my 12-year old son. We are only one training session in, but I can tell she has a solid understanding of the game and can simplify it for younger players. I also like that she incorporates reading assignments and expects her students to work outside of her training sessions.

Great personality. Knowledgeable. She communicated well with my child.

Mercedes is knowledgeable, personable, and a flat-out nice person! Would recommend her to anyone at any age!

My son has seen Mercedes for about five or six sessions now. She has a lot of patience and is really good at teaching the fundamentals. his form has improved so much even after the first couple of lessons. She also seems to keep his interest going pretty well. his sessions are two hours and he is intently focused the whole time.

Coach Mercedes gave explicit feedback during the session. She modeled physically what she was conveying orally to help my daughter understand positioning and how to be a better offensive player. She gave praise and encouragement where appropriate but was on target, to the point, and focused on coaching to shape skills, behavior and mindset as a competitive player. Will definitely be signing up for more sessions!!!

This was my first session with Mercedes, and I was very impressed with her. She was on time was very willing to accommodate my schedule. She was very patient and worked well with my son. My son really enjoyed his training session. I look forward to future sessions with Mercedes.

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Great first training session! My son is excited for more and I’m looking forward to watching him improve on the court! Fast forward 6 sessions in. Just finished tournament in Las Vegas my son dominated and scored the game winning shot which he would have never took before! Cannot thank you enough for boosting his confidence and helping him with his shooting, defense, and ball handling!

Coach Mercedes does a great job with the kids. She explains things well and they are learning, while she still keeps it fun for them. Thank you!

Great first session..excited for more,, my daughter and Mercedes clicked together that was important

She is hands on, she focuses on what you need help with and amazing for guards. My son is now able to be comfortable and confident on and off the court.

Coach Mercedes is amazing! I am so
Impressed! My daughter has been playing basketball since 6th grade and has struggled with her shooting and ball handling skills. Coach Mercedes was able to identify where my daughter needed help and I watched her improve drastically in just an hour of coaching. She was so kind and encouraging! I wish I would’ve found her a long time ago! Anyone looking for a coach to improve upon their skills should give her a call! She’s fantastic! Skilled, patient, kind and fun to work with!

our first session was awesome. Waiting for the rest.

Great coach! Very structured lessons and very patient with kids giving challenging drills while offering encouragement.

Mercedes is straight up awesome! She is patient, challenging, and worked really well with my daughter. I would highly recommend her! :)

My daughter has loved training with Coach Mercedes. She is excited for what is to come and feels Coach Mercedes will help her get to the next level.

Our daughter really liked Coach Mercedes for her first session and so did we! Coach Mercedes is very passionate about basketball and it shows in her teaching skills and techniques. We are confident that Coach Mercedes will help our 14 year old daughter improve her shooting skills and elevate her game. We are thrilled to have found Coach Mercedes. Our daughter is looking forward to more sessions.

My girls have taken to coach. She is helping to build their confidence on the court through both skills and her training plan. She is also a great author and her book is fantastic and will inspire you as a parent as well!

Today was our first session with Coach Mercedes and it was great! My son made visible progress in just one hour! She demonstrated good teaching skills, patience, and process. We loved her and are excited to meet again!

Just finished our first session with Mercedes. Excellent! Really sounds like she knows what she’s talking about and had a lot of patience with my daughter who is just starting out. My daughter just got on a club team but really needs that one on one attention Mercedes is providing. I am going to start using Mercedes twice a week to see how far and fast my daughter can progress. Highly recommend her to anyone looking for a trainer.

Coach Mercedes is awesome. She has lot of patience coaching my 7 year old kid in improving his dribbling/shooting skills.

Coach Mercedes is knowledgeable, kind and patient. A very good combination for my children.

Coach Mercedes has done an outstanding job coaching my daughter to improve her ball handling and shooting skills. My daughter's confidence level has raised significantly after two sessions.

Coach mercedes is awesome. We've only done one lesson so far but we look forward to more. She is patient and really knows her stuff. She also is straightforward and positive.

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Coach Mercedes was very flexible with scheduling. My daughter really enjoyed the fundamentals and drills she provided. I look forward to having my daughter work with her again.

This was our second session and am very happy with coach Mercedes

We really liked Coach Mercedes and are going to be ordering more sessions. She really does well at tying in all aspects of the game and we are excited to watch our son learn more from her.

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Anna's overall skill and confidence level have improved tremendously since she began working with Coach Mercedes. We have specifically noticed a dramatic improvement in ball handling speed and control. Coach Mercedes has also helped Anna improve her shooting accuracy through drills that simulate game-like conditions. With each session, Anna learns a new individual skill or move that can be used in a game setting. These are crucial skills that are not taught during team practices but have helped Anna become an important asset to her team. We cannot say enough good things about Coach Mercedes.

Coach Mercedes is awesome! She is very nice and she is really patient too.

Coach Mercedes is Awesome! She teaches her students to believe in themselves and works hard to help them accomplish their goals.

Mercedes has been excellent in helping my son with small tips for dealing with frustration during games!

Just had my first session with Mercedes and I'm so happy with how it went. I've never played any organized basketball but now that I'm playing in a rec league with my buddies I wanted to improve my fundamentals and develop some new skills. Even after only one hour, I feel like Mercedes was able to help me improve my game. She was very patient with me and moved the session at a pace that I could handle while still encouraging me to push myself. I can't wait to setup more sessions and continue to build on the work we started today.

My 13 year-old son has had 4 sessions with Coach Mercedes so far. The sessions are organized and challenging, both physically and mentally. My son leaves the sessions more motivated to work on his game. I would highly recommend Coach Mercedes.

Coach Mercedes had a positive impact on my girls. They are ready to go! We plan on signing up for more sessions soon.

Our son just finished his 5th session with Coach Mercedes. We have noticed a big difference in not only his skills but in his confidence on the court. From the start of the season, to his final playoff game, he was a different player. He not only played aggressively, he played smart. It was clear that he was using the skills learned during his sessions. Coach Mercedes knowledge of the game is obvious and comes across in her coaching. She has a way of pushing our son to work outside of his comfort zone. She does this in such a positive and encouraging manner that he wants to work hard for her. Thank you Coach Mercedes!

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Coach Mercedes are terrific! She had a comprehensive teaching style and was very patient and supportive with my elementary school age kids! We would highly recommend Coach Mercedes to any aspiring basketball player.

Coach Mercedes was awesome. My 3 sons worked with her and I saw their confidence and game improve tremendously. She was always available and flexible to a schedule change. I would recommend her to anyone.

My daughter has just been playing a couple of years so she needs help with many things. She loved working with Coach Mercedes and is excited to work on her "homework".

Coach Mercedes was great! She was really professional, organized, and patient. She laid out the training clearly and worked with me until I got them right. I would definitely recommend Mercedes to anybody looking to improve their game.

Coach Mercedes was awesome with my son. My son learnt some new techniques of the game and was very eager to practice. He is more confident about playing basketball. Her coaching skills with kids is admirable. I would definitely recommend Coach Mercedes to anyone.

Coach Mercedes is a great coach and mentor! She challenged our daughter to play her best and not settle. Her structured homework created quick improvements and motivation to keep practicing. Our daughter will always be a better player from the time she spent with Mercedes!

Coach Mercedes was referred to us by another kid on our 8th grade boy's team. She really knows how to communicate with kids and has a quiet confidence that inspires our son. Her drills are very challenging and her "homework" makes sense. We have seen an improvement in our son's desire and confidence after only a few weeks with Coach Mercedes.

Coach Mercedes is a great coach and very professional. She is very knowledgeable and has great approach to teaching. We will continue to work with Coach Mercedes.

It was a really good session! Coach Mercedes is so nice and so professional. I learned new ways to improve my skills and i definitely plan to keep training with Coach Mercedes!

Mercedes does a great job. She is friendly and motivating. My daughter was just as impressed with her talent as well as her coaching ability.

Coach Mercedes has been working with my sons (15 yrs and 12 yrs) for the past 8 weeks. Their level of confidence and accuracy has improved and they both love working with her every week. I have been highly impressed with the drills that she runs. I would highly recommend hiring her if you want to be a better basketball player.

Coach Mercedes has been amazing for my 10 yr old daughter. In just 3 short weeks she has improved a ton physically but more important mentally. She is much more focused and confident and earned a starting position. I would highly recommend coach Mercedes.

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Coach Mercedes is the real deal. She was able to see my kids strengths and their weakness very quickly. Showing them how to use their strengths at a much higher level and how to control or fix their weakness to make them a much stronger player. Her love of the game, desire to help kids and her ability to teach was very impressive. I would highly recommend Coach Mercedes for all players at all levels. My kids enjoyed the time Coach Mercedes spent with them and can't wait to see her much much more. Thank You Coach Mercedes!

second session and great in every way. Mercedes a true professional.

Coach Mercedes was awesome! She encouraged my daughter to push through. In fact we've only had one session and she already figured out a plan to elevate my kids game. Can't wait to see more improvement.

My sons have been working with Coach Mercedes for the past year. We have seen great progress with both boys. One of them can be difficult to manage at times but Mercedes has been patient and positive when those times arise. She genuinely cares for their success.

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Amazing coach!

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Coach Mercedes is amazing ! we were visiting town for a week and she trained my 9 year old Sami. . and the amount of improvement was unbelievable. in just 3 lessons he was dribbling in and out , crossover and behind the back and the shooting also improved dramatically
she pushed him to the the limit every lesson , and it was fun to .
she was very accommodating to our time change requests for the lessons since we were on vacation .
each lessons there was a different routine with introduction of a new skill every time .
i will highly recommend coach mercedes and definitely have her train Sami if we are in town again .
Just awesome.

Coach Mercedes is excellent. She's prompt, has a very strong basketball background and takes a systematic approach to training. I like how she builds skills an element at a stone and isolates weak areas. Also very patient and encouraging. Highly recommended.

Coach Mercedes was great...patient, yet on task with a nine year-old who was not quite sure how he felt about basketball. The experience for him was positive and encouraging. We are looking forward to our next session!

We are very pleased with Coach Mercedes and our daughter's progress. Thank you!

Coach Mercedes was great with my daughter. She challenged her in every session they had and inspired her to do better each time. There was obvious improvements in her all around game.

Coach Mercedes is amazing! She is so knowledgable and supportive. My daughter's skills and confidence have grown exponentially since working with Coach Mercedes. I highly recommend her to anyone wanting to master their sport.

We saw an improvement in our daughter's shooting after just 2 sessions. Mercedes knows what she is doing. We are going to book her again!

After a year of therapy from her ACL surgery Stephanie had lost much confidence in her game and doubted that she could play as well as she had. Thank God for Coach Mercedes! With just a few sessions she taught my daughter to believe in herself and improved her basketball skills (this is not an easy feat with teenagers). She gave Stephanie the confidence and preparation she needed for the high school basketball tryouts. Stephanie was elated when she made the team and is now playing better than ever but most of all is happy to be playing the game she loves so much. I do not think this would have been possible without Coach Mercedes. She is a great trainer and understands her student's needs. She is a great role model for my daughter. Stephanie continues her lessons with Coach Mercedes. I highly recommend her to anyone that desires to improve their skills with confidence.

Mercedes was great! Our 2 6 year old boys had a blast learning all of her basketball tips with cool and easy to remember names. They have both been telling family and friends about them. And they have both improved so much after just 1 session. I saw a huge improvement in my son's shooting and the other boy is now a dribbling hot shot. We just booked our next session and can't wait to see what else they learn.

Very knowledgeable and answered all of my questions about the fundamentals. She had a workout planned out with effective drills that will translate in the real game and corrected my mistakes. Highly recommend!

My biggest concern was wether my daughter would gel with a new person teaching her fundamentals......My daughter was all smiles after her first session with "Cedes"....My daughter is not that easily motivated...Cedes was able to make it fun and was easy to work with...I would highly recommend her to any kid breaking into basketball.

Coach Mercedes is fantastic! Can't say enough good things about her. She pushes people to dig down and accomplish goals as well as instruct on the fundamentals. She has made my son a Better player!!

My 12 yrs-old daughter had 1st session with Coach Mercedes and she was really happy how much she made progress on her skills. Coach Mercedes was really organized and a specific plan what to be covered on 1st session, what my daughter should be practicing until next session and what to be covered next. Her coaching style of being patience and consistent on the drills and this worked well with my daughter. We are very happy how helpful she is and ready for more sessions!!

Mercedes is a very good trainer. She knows what she is doing and she can help you with what you ask her to help you with. I would recommend Mercedes over any other trainer.

Cedes, is the best!!!! My daughtter loved her. She was extremely detailed in her instructions and worked with my daughters overall game. At the end of the session my daughters shot was 100% improved and she was making hard cuts to the basket and finishing strong. I will recommend Cedes to all my friends who want their kids to improve their game.

Horace Starr

Mercedes is a wonderful coach for Talaya and a perfect fit! Talaya comes home extremely focused and practices on what she learned. Mercedes is patient and makes sure you fully understand a concept before you move on. All my daughter talks about is how she is an amazing coach and how she cannot wait for more! We look forward to our next session!

Mercedes comes with alot of experience and Nalei'a respects that about her. She is like an iron fist in a velvet glove - soft but tough :) Nalei'a needs that push and I know Mercedes can push her :))

Awesome talent, worked very well with my boy and was able to target the areas we had discussed and then some. Very nice demeanor for coaching and for getting what you want out of your pupil. I do not want to keep going or she will never be able to get me into her schedule becasue everyone else will be using her!! thanks Mercedes!!

You would be proud of the changes you made with Joey and CiCi... and the things they continue to use to break down defenders. It is awesome. Joey is in sixth grade now and is the captain of his schools team, in the traveling league he plays with the 8th graders and starts. It's funny to watch this little mouse playing with these giants. He is the smallest player on the court but still breaks them down. The Euro move you taught him is the ooo ahhh crowd reaction when he takes on the 6 footer at basket (and makes the shot) and he is hitting his threes. You taught him how to dribble with confidence and how to break down the defender is key. He continues to practice what you taught him and he continues to excel.
First of all, congratulations Mercedes. You are a great inspiration on and off the court. Your love for the game is demonstrated by your leadership , patience and drive for success. I believe you are a great role model and it shows through your coaching. My family and I can't thank you enough for the impact you have made with my niece Jasmine. We feel truly blessed having met you. I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason.
After not playing competitive/organized basketball for the past 8 years, I took a chance to try out for the All-Army basketball team. Made it!!! Thanks so much Cedes for your help!
Mercedes is a great coach who is able to teach the fundamentals of basketball. I wish she was located closer to Temecula, so I could continue to utilize her as a coach for my daughter. Excellent mentor for young basketball players who enforce focus, discipline, and love of the game.
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