Step into the fascinating world of pickleball with author Bob Savar as he shares his journey of teaching, playing, and writing about this exhilarating sport. Hailing from Palm Beach County, Florida, Bob’s expertise as a PPR-Certified Professional Pickleball Instructor has enriched the lives of countless seniors through clinics, private lessons, and his meetup group of over 1,300 members. From varsity tennis coaching to championship victories in the Palm Beach County Senior Pickleball League, Bob’s experience has culminated in a series of books that bring together his extensive knowledge and passion for pickleball.
Join us as we delve into Bob’s unique journey, the inspiration behind his latest book, “Pickleball for Seniors,” and the challenges he overcame to craft this comprehensive guide. Discover how Bob’s dedication to promoting active living and empowering seniors has resulted in a book that resonates with readers of all ages and backgrounds.
Hi, please tell your readers a little about yourself, where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.
I’m a PPR-Certified Professional Pickleball Instructor and have been teaching pickleball since 2018 in Palm Beach County, Florida. My background includes teaching varsity tennis at the high school level, playing (and winning championships) in the Palm Beach County Senior Pickleball League, and winning a gold medal in mixed doubles at the Delray Beach Pickleball Classic in 2019.
Presently I am teaching clinics and private lessons and have a meetup group of over 1,300 members. My specialty is teaching newbies, beginners, and intermediates, as well as children, and I also coach doubles teams that participate in various local leagues.
I have taught hundreds of people how to play pickleball over the past several years, and I have three books that bring together the vast amount of knowledge and experience I have gained as a teacher of the sport.
I wrote my first book, “Pickleball for Beginners,” an Amazon bestseller, in 2020. Then in 2022, I wrote an expanded and revised edition, which I renamed “How to Get Started Playing Pickleball.” Besides adding more videos and commentary, I also added QR codes to the paperback version so readers could watch the videos on their handheld devices or computers while reading the book.
In the same year, 2022, I wrote my second book, “How to Improve from a Beginner to an Intermediate in Pickleball,” and in August of 2023, I published my third book, “Pickleball for Seniors,” a comprehensive guide crafted to make the pickleball experience for seniors enjoyable and fulfilling. Later this year, I hope to publish my fourth book, which I am currently writing, called “Pickleball for Non-Athletes.”
I am also well-known in the national pickleball scene. In 2018, I started a website called Pickleball Teachers Network (which I later sold) and attended tournaments to meet and interview professional pickleball players. You can hear these conversations on my YouTube channel and read more about them on my website (https://bobsavarpickleball.com/).
Besides teaching pickleball clinics and private lessons and writing books, I find time to work out in the gym, walk and run on trails, take hiking trips out west with my children and grandchildren, and play recreational pickleball and tennis with my friends. At age 76, having retired from business in 2017, I have reinvented myself into a life that I thoroughly enjoy and hope to continue for years to come.
What inspired you to author this book?
When asked about the inspiration behind writing “Pickleball for Seniors,” my passion for both pickleball and empowering seniors to lead fulfilling lives comes to the forefront. The idea was born out of a personal journey and a desire to make a positive impact on the lives of fellow seniors.
Having discovered the exhilarating sport of pickleball myself, I experienced firsthand the physical and mental benefits it brings. It not only provided me with a fun and engaging way to stay active but also introduced me to a welcoming community of like-minded individuals. Witnessing the joy and camaraderie that pickleball brought to my life, I felt a strong urge to share this wonderful experience with others, especially seniors who may be seeking new opportunities for active living.
As a seasoned pickleball player and instructor, and a firm believer in lifelong learning, I realized that seniors often face unique challenges when it comes to starting a new sport or staying active. I wanted to create a comprehensive resource that would address these specific needs and provide a clear roadmap for seniors to embark on their pickleball journey with confidence and enthusiasm.
I am also deeply passionate about promoting the idea that age should never be a barrier to pursuing one’s interests and goals. Through “Pickleball for Seniors,” I sought to challenge societal misconceptions about aging and inspire fellow seniors to embrace their potential, on and off the court.
This book is the culmination of my expertise as a pickleball instructor and my commitment to empowering seniors to lead vibrant and fulfilling lives. I poured my heart into crafting a guide that not only imparts essential pickleball techniques and strategies but also fosters a sense of community and well-being among its readers.
Ultimately, the inspiration behind “Pickleball for Seniors” is to create a positive and lasting impact on the lives of my fellow seniors, encouraging them to stay active, engaged, and full of life through the incredible world of pickleball. I am truly excited to see how this book will inspire others to discover the joy of pickleball and embrace the boundless possibilities that await them on the court and beyond.
Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?
As I set out to design the cover for “Pickleball for Seniors,” my inspiration was drawn from the vibrant and dynamic nature of the sport itself, as well as the sense of community and inclusivity that it fosters among players. The cover needed to convey the essence of pickleball while appealing specifically to seniors who are eager to embark on this exciting journey.
To achieve this, I envisioned a cover that would showcase the joyful and energetic spirit of pickleball players, highlighting the enthusiasm and camaraderie that comes with the sport. I wanted the cover to exude positivity and a sense of empowerment, emphasizing that age is no barrier to enjoying pickleball to the fullest.
The central image of the cover features a group of active seniors, including myself, engaged in a lively pickleball match, showcasing the fun and social aspects of the game, as well as a picture of me, aged 76, so potential readers could see that the author is someone with whom they can relate. Also, I chose vibrant colors that evoke energy and vitality, reflecting the dynamic nature of pickleball play.
Overall, my goal was to create a cover that immediately captures the attention of seniors, conveying a sense of excitement and intrigue about the possibilities that “Pickleball for Seniors” holds. I hope that the cover serves as an inviting gateway into the world of pickleball, inspiring seniors to pick up the book, explore its contents, and embark on their own transformative pickleball journey.
Who has been the most significant influence on you personally and as a writer?
There are many excellent books written by sports coaches that offer valuable insights into coaching, leadership, and the psychology of sports. There are two books in this genre that had the most influence on me.
One is “Leading with the Heart” by Mike Krzyzewski, also known as Coach K. This is a compelling and insightful book that delves into the principles and strategies behind his extraordinary success as a basketball coach at Duke University. In this book, Coach K goes beyond the basketball court, sharing his leadership philosophy and demonstrating how the principles that drive success in sports can be applied to various aspects of life, including business and personal relationships.
At its core, the book’s theme revolves around the power of leadership driven by compassion, integrity, and a genuine concern for the people you lead. Coach K emphasizes the importance of building strong and authentic relationships with players, colleagues, and employees, fostering a culture of trust, respect, and mutual understanding. He believes that by leading with the heart, leaders can inspire greatness in others, ignite a sense of purpose, and create an environment where individuals can thrive and reach their full potential.
Coach K emphasizes the importance of humility and continuous learning. He believes that successful leaders never stop growing and evolving, and they should be open to feedback and new ideas. By acknowledging their own vulnerabilities and limitations, leaders can connect on a deeper level with their team and encourage a culture of continuous improvement and resilience.
“Leading with the Heart” serves as a roadmap for aspiring leaders, no matter the sport, and individuals seeking to make a positive impact on others. Coach K’s wisdom transcends the world of sports, as he reminds us that authentic leadership is not just about achieving victories on the scoreboard but also about building a legacy of inspiration and empowering others to achieve greatness both on and off the court of life.
Another book that had a profound influence on me is “The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership” by Bill Walsh, the legendary NFL coach. The book imparts valuable lessons on coaching and leadership and offers profound insights into Walsh’s successful coaching career, particularly during his time with the San Francisco 49ers, where he transformed the team into a dominant force and led them to multiple Super Bowl victories.
Some key takeaways about coaching from “The Score Takes Care of Itself” include:
1. Attention to Detail: Walsh emphasizes the significance of paying attention to even the smallest details. He believed that excellence is achieved through meticulous planning, preparation, and execution. Coaches must have a keen eye for identifying weaknesses, strengths, and opportunities for improvement, both in themselves and their players.
2. Standards of Excellence: Walsh was an advocate for setting high standards and expectations for everyone involved in the team. He believed that mediocrity should not be tolerated and every individual should strive for excellence in their roles.
3. Adaptability and Innovation: Walsh valued innovation and adaptability in coaching strategies. He was known for introducing new offensive systems and concepts that revolutionized the game of football. Coaches must be open to change, willing to embrace new ideas, and continuously evolve their approaches to stay ahead in the competitive landscape.
4. Leadership by Example: As a leader, Walsh believed in demonstrating the behaviors and qualities he expected from his players and staff. He led by example, and his actions spoke louder than words. Coaches must embody the values they seek to instill in their students or team, earning respect and trust through their integrity and work ethic.
5. Building Relationships: Walsh emphasized the importance of building strong relationships with players and staff. By understanding players’ motivations, aspirations, and challenges, coaches can tailor their approach to bring out the best in their players.
6. Emotional Intelligence: Walsh recognized the significance of emotional intelligence in coaching. Understanding and managing emotions, both of oneself and others, are crucial for creating a positive and supportive team culture.
7. Focus on Continuous Improvement: Walsh believed in constant learning and growth. Continuous improvement is a hallmark of effective coaching, as it allows for ongoing development and adaptation to changing circumstances.
“The Score Takes Care of Itself” is not only a valuable resource for coaches in the world of football but also for leaders in any field. Walsh’s coaching philosophy transcends sports, offering timeless principles of leadership, discipline, and vision that can inspire and guide individuals in their pursuit of excellence and success.
What were the struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?
As the author of “Pickleball for Seniors,” I faced several significant struggles and obstacles while writing the book. Here are some elaborations on the challenges you encountered:
1. Time Management: Balancing my time between teaching pickleball clinics, giving private lessons, and writing blog and social media posts about pickleball was undoubtedly a considerable challenge. Finding dedicated time to focus on writing the book amidst my busy schedule required careful planning and prioritization.
2. Writing vs. Coaching: Juggling between writing and coaching demanded a delicate balance. Coaching responsibilities can be physically and mentally demanding, leaving limited energy and time for creative writing. Transitioning from the hands-on, dynamic world of coaching to the introspective and focused writing process required mental agility and discipline.
3. Identifying Seniors’ Unique Struggles: Writing a book specifically tailored to seniors meant understanding and addressing their unique challenges, aspirations, and needs. This required in-depth research, interviews, and empathy to grasp the physical limitations, concerns, and desires of senior players. Isolating and articulating these issues in a way that resonated with seniors called for a thorough understanding of their perspective.
4. Tailoring Content for Senior Audience: Crafting content that was engaging, relatable, and helpful for seniors was a constant consideration. Striking the right tone and presenting information in a manner accessible to a senior audience required sensitivity and the ability to simplify complex concepts without condescension.
5. Overcoming Writer’s Block: Like any writer, I encountered moments of writer’s block and self-doubt during the creative process. Conveying my expertise and passion for pickleball in a comprehensive yet engaging way demanded perseverance and confidence in my ability to deliver valuable content.
6. Research and Validation: Ensuring the accuracy and credibility of the information provided in the book was essential. Conducting thorough research and validating facts, tips, and strategies demanded time and effort, as I wanted to offer seniors reliable guidance they could trust and use.
7. Managing Expectations: Striving to create a book that meets or exceeds readers’ expectations is always challenging. Recognizing that each senior reader might have diverse preferences and needs required careful consideration of my target audience’s interests and desires.
Despite these obstacles, my dedication and passion for sharing the joy of pickleball with seniors prevailed. Overcoming these challenges not only enriched the content of “Pickleball for Seniors” but also reinforced my commitment to empowering seniors to lead active, fulfilling lives through the sport I love. The hurdles I faced in writing the book are a testament to my resilience and determination as an author and a pickleball enthusiast dedicated to making a positive impact on the lives of seniors.
Please tell your readers about your book.
Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports among seniors in North America. This paddle sport, with similarities to tennis and ping pong, has exploded in popularity in retirement communities, recreation centers, and parks over the last two decades. So why has this activity taken off? Pickleball provides the perfect exercise, social experience, and competitive outlet for older adults looking to stay active.
The moderate exercise involved in pickleball delivers extensive health benefits, from improved cardiovascular health to increased strength and coordination. The social nature facilitates making new friends and strengthening community ties. The team competition and skills practice keeps the brain engaged. And above all, the sport is fun!
“Pickleball for Seniors” dives into all the aspects that make pickleball an ideal activity for seniors. It covers the basics to get started, from equipment and rules to finding places to play. You learn skills, drills, and strategies to improve your game as a beginner or experienced player. Guidance is provided on training properly to gain the physical benefits while preventing injury. Finally, the book explores the growing pickleball scene and tournaments focused on senior players.
Whether you’re 60, 70, 80, or beyond, it’s never too late to get into pickleball! This book will prepare you to enjoy the health perks and social connections of embracing the pickleball lifestyle. Get ready to see why this paddle sport is becoming a sensation in retirement communities across North America.
What do you consider your greatest success in life?
I consider my greatest successes in life to revolve around my family. I have been married to the same woman for 53 years. I have two children and seven grandchildren. I try to be the best husband that I can be, and I try my best to stay connected to my children and grandchildren as much as possible. I also have two brothers, with whom I am very close, and a handful of dear friends. I am honest, loyal, and trustworthy – as much as I can be – in all of these relationships.
From a professional perspective, I have owned two successful businesses and value many experiences and relationships from 45 years in business.
During the past two years, I have been teaching and writing about pickleball. As an instructor who has taught hundreds of people how to play pickleball, I hope that I have instilled a love of the game and helped them improve or at least provided a roadmap for improvement. With my books, I hope that I have accomplished similar goals.
Although I am 76, I am still very active and pride myself on being in good shape and taking care of myself, and I hope that I am somewhat of a model and inspiration to others.
What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?
What separates me from other writers in my genre is that I am not only a person who writes about pickleball, but I am also a competitive pickleball player and a pickleball instructor. My passion for writing about pickleball is an extension of my love for the sport and aligns with my passion for coaching, teaching, and making a positive impact on others.
My greatest successes in life go beyond titles, trophies, or personal accolades. It’s found in the smiles, enthusiasm, and renewed energy of the people I’ve introduced to the sport of pickleball. Writing “Pickleball for Seniors” was an extension of that mission, enabling me to reach a broader audience and help more people discover a game that can enhance their lives.
The connections I’ve made, the barriers I’ve seen people overcome, and the communities that have grown around this wonderful sport are what I’m most proud of. Seeing someone who thought their days of playing sports were over, find joy and camaraderie on the pickleball court, that’s a great feeling and thrill. It’s about empowering others to live healthier, happier, and more fulfilling lives, and I’m grateful every day for the opportunity to be a part of that journey.
The book is clearly written for seniors, but the audience could be a senior or someone who wants to gift a book to a senior. The book is for a senior who has just started playing pickleball or a senior who is thinking about starting to play pickleball.
Thank you so much for giving us your precious time! We wish you all the best for your journey ahead!