FROM THE USAPA
USAPA BOARD MEMBER PROFILE
Laura Patterson has been on the USAPA Board since 2010 , after becoming an ambassador in Winston-Salem , North Carolina , in 2009 . When Patterson moved to North Carolina in 2009 from Midland , Mich ., the closest place to play was in Charlotte – 80 miles south of her home . As a passionate pickleball player , she would make the trip twice a week . Once the weather got bad , she decided it was time to expand pickleball in Winston-Salem by becoming an ambassador . Now she plays at many locations including High Point and the Gateway YWCA . Although most of her time is spent these days in North Carolina , Patterson has been to many places around the world . When she worked as an auditor for The Dow Chemical Company , she traveled to places like Japan , Indonesia , Germany , China , Australia , and Italy . She retired in 2008 – which was actually her second career retirement . Until 1995 , Patterson was an auditor for the United States Air Force , from which she retired as a Captain . She ’ s quick to point out that she started out as enlisted , earned her degree and then signed back up as an officer . These days , she works part time in the Recreation and Parks Department for the City of Winston Salem . She primarily works to develop programs for kids and adults ; and spends time with individuals with special needs . She ’ s also a Special Olympics coach for tennis , basketball , and softball . Patterson also teaches pickleball to children and older adults . “ When I teach a course , there are three things that I emphasize in the first class : balance , the dink shot , and the serve .”
She feels balance is the most important component of safe play in pickleball . “ With an older crowd , I want to make sure that they play safely ,” she explains . “ I teach them how to go back for a deep shot – not to backpedal , and how to move around the court so they don ’ t injure themselves . Then we talk about the dink , because in order to be competitive , you need to have that type of play mastered , and then we focus on the serve .”
Asked why she decided to move from Michigan to North Carolina when she retired , she simply replies , “ I love the hot weather .” She also mentions that her husband was very patient when they lived in Michigan , as both were not fans of the cold weather .
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JUNE 2016 | MAGAZINE 7