We formed the Delmarva Team Pickleball League earlier this year, and there are now three teams: Ocean View Crew, Bob O’Malley’s Ocean Pines and Randy Redard’s Suss-exfactor. By this date next year, we hope to have six teams from across Delmarva.
The idea is to create an environment with the mental and physical demands of competitive match conditions.
Of course, there are more practices than individuals might organize on their own, and practice is the best way to advance your game in any sport.
I know that several weeks before a team match members of Ocean View Crew, including Steve Melofchik, can be seen spending longer training sessions at World Gym in Ocean View, which proves that this retired athletic director practices what he once taught.
In a competitive tournament format, you play as a doubles team with the same partner, and, typically, the best two out of three games. Most tournaments are double-elimination, so players play considerably more games and for longer periods.
At the National Senior Games, I followed one of our Delaware teams, and they started with their first match at 7:30 in the morning and kept playing matches all day. By late afternoon, they were playing increasingly better teams, and often only with a five-minute break between matches.
It must be working, because after last week’s fourth match, Bob O’Malley, captain for Ocean Pines, said he definitely has seen an improvement in a greater number of competitive players.
Randy Redard, captain of the Suss-exfactor, said his players are thankful they have a competitive environment to improve their games for tournament competition. Both captains were encouraged that more players have started to practice to improve their games.
We recently had a three-way match at Ocean Pines on their new dedicated pickleball courts. With the Delaware Senior Olympics approaching, this recent match was very timely. Each of the four doubles positions on each team played three long matches, six back-to-back 15-point games, and the total games won and lost were totaled.
Ocean Pines and Suss-exfactor tied, with 13 games, and the Ocean View Crew ended up in third place, with 10 games. Bob Gaudreau of the Ocean View Crew said that will be rectified in the very next match. The doubles pair that won most matches was Don Tome of Ocean Pines and partner Frank Creamer.
If anyone is interested in forming a team, or joining existing teams, please send an inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Proving that part of pickleball is being a good neighbor, $1,400 was raised recently by the First State Pickleball Club’s Dink Challenge, which was organized by club founder Cheryl Watt Martin. The funds were presented recently to Principal Alissa Booth and Vice-Principal Benjamin Murray by First State Pickleball Club President Kathy Casey, First State Vice President Artie Holgerson and Martin, a retired Sussex County teacher.
Vaughn “The Baron” Baker is a Senior Olympics gold-medalist in pickleball, and is public relations director for the First State Pickleball Club (FSPC) and captain of the Ocean View Crew pickleball community. He spent his career working with top tennis professionals while working for Wilson Sporting Goods and introducing the Prince Tennis Racket and Wimbledon Tennis Lines. For more information, visit PickleballCoast.com.