So, what happened in November at the 2019 Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships in Indian Wells, CA this year? For one thing, two of our local 70+ pickleball players, both women, won bronze medals.
Darlene “Dar” Sabey won a bronze medal in women’s singles in the 70+ age bracket at the 3.0 level, and Pat Killoch won a bronze in women’s doubles in the 70+ age bracket at the 3.0 level. All of us in Lake Havasu City should be proud of their hard work and endurance in reaching the winners circle.
Dar started playing pickleball six years ago when a friend advised that she give pickleball a try. Dar finally relented, headed over to the indoor courts at the ARK Center, and was immediately hooked. Dar stated “I never dreamed that after two total knee replacements that I could have so much fun”. She has been working on a regular basis ever since to improve her skills.
Over the years she has participated in 2-5 pickleball tournaments every year around the country and has won medals in many of them. Regarding tournament play Dar stated “Now I try to go to only sanctioned tournaments to help her qualify for nationals”. She added “I also play in the Senior Games and the Super Seniors SSIPA tournaments in the 60+ age group."
In order to prepare for the National Tournament Dar went to two 3-day pickleball camps, one in Florida and one in San Diego and practiced a lot.
Her advice for all new pickleball players is “lots of practice, practice, practice." That is what she is probably doing today in order to prepare for Pickleball Nationals in 2020.
Pat Killoch entered the pickleball family in 2010 as an employee of the Lake Havasu City Recreation Department after Tim & Carol Weaver, the first Ambassadors of Pickleball in Lake Havasu, approached the Recreation department and invited their group to try their hand at the sport. Shortly thereafter, the Recreation Department requested that all employees take a training session and provide comments about the possibility of adding pickleball as an After School Program activity for local children.
Pat had never really heard of pickleball before, but after her first pickleball training session, she purchased her first pickleball paddle and has been playing ever since.
Pat just started playing in sanctioned US Pickleball Association tournaments in 2019. Dar Sabey encouraged Pat to enter her first tournament. Dar said “You meet lots of people, have a lot of fun, and get to test your skills against other pickleball players.” Dar and Pat played in seven tournaments together this year, and Pat played in three others alone.
Pat prepared for the 2020 Nationals by playing with lots of different people in various skill levels. Pat said “Playing with higher skill level players forced me to think faster when playing since they were usually one step ahead of me." She also said “playing with individuals at my own skill level allowed me to concentrate on practicing my techniques.” Pat also had help from a fellow player, Dean Koskela, who helped her with defensive and offensive practice drills and strategies.
Pat is currently working on plans to attend the 2020 Pickleball National Tournament. She said that one of her recent tournaments qualified her for the 2020 nationals. Pat added “I even got a Golden Ticket.”
Again, three cheers to these young-at-heart ladies who represented Lake Havasu City at the 2019 Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships this year in Indian Wells, California.