Dr. Kaliym Islam at his “Pickleball Leadership” book signing at Chill Cawfee.

Sports has a way of teaching unexpected lessons. Dr. Kaliym Islam, a Lithia resident and local author, found a new perspective on leadership when he took up the sport of Pickleball a couple years ago.

Just a few weeks after learning to play the game, Islam had what he calls a “lightbulb moment” after a conversation with another player. 

“We were playing a game of mixed doubles. My friend, Amber, was just hitting the ball right in my chest. I said, ‘Amber, I thought we were friends.’ She said, ‘Well, we are friends. But if you don’t want the ball hit at you like that, don’t put it where you put it.’ That was a lightbulb moment for me. ‘Wait a minute, I control this.’ I didn’t start thinking of it from the perspective of pickleball. I started thinking about it from the perspective of leaders. For leaders, a lot of times things happen largely because of what leaders do or don’t do,” Islam said. 

Islam realized the fast pace of pickleball and the strategies in the game mirror the everyday challenges leaders encounter.  

His book about this, Pickleball Leadership: Lessons from the Court to the Board Room, was published in August. On September 23, Islam held a book signing at Chill Cawfee in Valrico. Islam spoke and shared lessons he learned on the pickleball court. In his book, he parallels the lessons with real-life stories from his friends in the FishHawk pickleball club, many of which were able to attend his signing. 

With all the practical life skills Islam has gained from the sport, surprisingly he will tell you that the best part of how pickleball transformed his life is with relationships.  

“The thing that I enjoy most about pickleball is the people that I have met. They have been strangers who have become friends. They’ve become like family,” Islam said. 

Individuals who want to improve relationships and professionals wanting to hone their business skills will both find useful tools in the book Pickleball Leadership.  

Islam is an accomplished author and leadership development professional. His five books can be found on Amazon. To learn more about Kaliym and his books, visit https://thetrainingproacademy.com/.

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