January 2019 Wellness Champion

January’s Wellness Champion is Pickleball enthusiast, Ilsa Wong, from the department of Kinesiology. Ilsa has been participating in Pickleball for almost 4 years now. She was first attracted to Pickleball because she found that it was fun and the type of sport that all ages and all skill-levels can play. One day her parents were playing, and they invited her to join them.  After that first day, she was hooked!

Ilsa explained that the sport is so young that there really were no ‘professionals’ or teaching pros when she started. Therefore, she didn’t have a coach or anything to guide her in the new world of Pickleball. She simply learned from watching and asking questions of the higher-level players she met along the way.  A lot of those higher skilled players all played at the same tournaments that Ilsa and her group attended. So, it helped that they got to meet them on a regular basis. She also explained that, of course, the internet has also been an excellent source of information for her. She knows a lot of players who get better by watching the many YouTube videos related to the sport.

Ilsa explained that the only equipment one needs to use is a Pickleball paddle and balls. She also explained that the nice part about the sport of Pickleball is that it can be played on badminton-sized courts with a modified net system, so it is a very accessible sport. Ilsa suggested that if a new player wants to get to know the game better, that playing as much as possible so that they can get used to the rules and the difference between other racquet sports will really help.

Ilsa’s advice to people that are interested in getting started in Pickleball but are not sure where to start, is to look up the Lethbridge Pickleball League. The Lethbridge Pickleball League just recently formalized and Ilsa said that they are a fun group of players who are very welcoming. Ilsa mentioned that local players should go their website to find out when and where they play. Her tip to fellow Pickleball players is to stay out of the kitchen. She mentioned that when you start playing the sport, you will understand what that means!

Ilsa explained that Pickleball is very contagious, and a lot of people who try the sport are keen to continue playing for one of many reasons. Players have a lot of fun, they meet a lot of great people and can play to whatever level they want to. If a player wants to play recreationally, they can, or if they want to play tournaments, they can! Right now, Ilsa trains to play in a lot of tournaments, along with some occasional recreational play. But most importantly, she has been fortunate to meet so many wonderful people from all over the world and wherever she travels her paddle goes along with her.

It sounds like Pickleball has had a positive impact on Ilsa’s life. Please help us thank Ilsa for sharing her story and expertise, as well as congratulate her on leading a healthy lifestyle!

For more info on Pickleball in Lethbridge check out the Lethbridge Pickleball League.