Meet Teresa Chang, SMC’s Pickleball Coordinator
Pickleball Q&A with Teresa Chang
Q: When did you start to play pickleball?
A: I started about 5 years ago at my local club that I played tennis at. Pickleball was picking up momentum at that time and the club’s tennis director decided to offer it as another sport to its members. This is what Saw Mill Club is doing right now.
Q: What was your first experience like?
A:I loved it right away. As a tennis player it was very easy to pick up this sport but the rules for pickleball were different from tennis so that was a bit of a learning curve. As I always tell my students, learning pickleball is easy but it’s hard to master it well. It takes years of practice and drilling to be a really good and consistent player.
Q: What qualifications do you hold for pickleball?
A: Besides being the Pickleball Ambassador for Somers, I am also a certified pickleball instructor with the IPTPA level 1 and a trained Pickleball Referee level 2 that I can referee at National tournaments and at both sanctioned and non sanctioned tournaments.
Q: Do you play in tournaments?
A: Yes! I have played many tournaments in the past 4 years and won 4 bronze medals and last year won two gold medals, one in NY city APP Open at Flushing Meadows with my mixed doubles partner Dave and a month later we won our second Gold medal at New Canaan Racquet Club. It was such an exciting experience and not an easy one to win. We had to play our way up from the loser’s bracket into the winner’s bracket and ultimately played for the Gold medal.
Q: What’s the difference between Rec play and Tournament play?
A: Rec play is more a social, relaxed and fun experience while tournament play is a very mental and focused experience. Not everyone will like the tournament experience as it’s pretty stressful and time consuming and costly too but if anyone wants to try it I would definitely encourage them.
Q: How can someone start to learn Pickleball or improve their playing?
A: Here at Saw Mill Club I teach pickleball to anyone that wants to learn or anyone that wants to improve their playing through drills and clinics. We also have 6 Open Plays per week and it’s a great time to come for rec play and practice what you have learned from my clinics. Practice makes perfect.
Q: Any pros and cons of pickleball?
A: Pros will be the fun, exercise and laughter you will gain and the many friends you will make along the way.
Cons will be injuries that can be avoided if you take precautions. Always warm up, stretch your muscles before actually starting the game, wear proper shoes and eye protection, don’t dive for the ball (it’s not worth it), don’t backpaddle and remember to hydrate and have fun. And pickleball is very addictive so beware but so much fun. See you on the courts.