Player Profile: Mary Hickey

“I’ve truly never been more addicted to anything in my life than Pickleball,” said Mary Hickey. “It’s not only the game, it’s the friendships. I’ve made more friends in the last three years playing pickleball … but it’s more than friends, it’s a community of people who will be there for you. Pickleball has created a community at a time when we needed community.”

Mary started playing pickleball about six years ago on a visit to a friend in Auburn, CA. Once she picked up the paddle, she never put it down. Unlike many pickleball players, Mary was a tennis pro, a “natural,” playing and winning tennis competitions for over 40 years until she put down her racket two years ago at 57 years-of-age. “I enjoy pickleball more, though I miss my tennis friends.”

Volunteering is Mary’s way to give back to the Pickleball community. Every Tuesday morning at the Presidio Wall courts, Mel Mashman, Amar Anand and Mary offer free coaching sessions for beginners. “We teach them the basics. After an hour, they can play.” While all coaches teach players to focus on the ball, Mary also suggests you “focus on the holes, you will hit better.”

A strong 3.5 player, Mary won a bronze in the Sonoma Wine Country Games this June.  She also coaches Pickleball at Eastwood Park in Mill Valley. “You don’t have to be the world’s best player to coach,” she said. “You don’t see Steve Kerr on the basketball court, do you?”

Mary runs several businesses, and always makes time to play and coach. In the past six years, the game’s popularity has far outpaced court space. “The City definitely needs more courts.”  And Mary will be there to help improve the level of play.

- Judy Goddess