Fifteen-year-old Nathan Tang enjoys playing pickleball with his friends, family, and other players around the state of Arizona. His love for pickleball began one summer when the local tennis courts had been converted to pickleball. His family decided to give this unique and interesting sport a try and has never looked back. For the past three years, pickleball has become Nathan’s primary passion.
Currently, Nathan is competing at the 4.5 level. His goal is to be a 5.0 level player within the next two years, and he is thankful to Selkirk Sport for providing him with gear and apparel. Since he started competing in tournaments, Nathan has won three medals at the Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships (gold, silver and bronze) and several medals at the Fall Brawl, California State Games, and other tournaments around the country.
For Nathan, the peak of competition was not winning a medal but instead participating in the USAPA Juniors Party that was held at Indian Wells. This event is a highlight every year because he meets other junior players from all over the country. He also gets to play fun games with various pros from Sick Trx including Brian Ashworth, Irina Tereschenko and Kyle Yates.
Nathan has volunteered extensively as an ambassador for the sport and frequently assists with the pickleball program at VICTORIUM in Scottsdale, Arizona, which is run by his parents, Amy and Lester Tang. In the summer of 2018, he was co- instructor of a two-week summer camp for juniors who were new to the sport. Nathan also helped direct two local tournaments and manage leagues for beginners and intermediate players who are trying to improve their game. This past fall, he was an instructor for a fundraiser run by the nonprofit organization Pickleball Incubator, which provides funding for pickleball programs in schools. He has helped players younger than 10 through older than 70 learn the fundamentals of the sport.
Nathan is a sophomore at BASIS Scottsdale charter school, a nationally top-ranked high school known for its highly rigorous academic program. As he approaches college, he hopes there will be a chance to join a college pickleball team or create a team if one is not already present. Nathan also hopes to see pickleball become an Olympic sport, allowing both juniors and adults to participate in the games.
Although pickleball is Nathan’s favorite sport now, he grew up playing many other sports. Before pickleball, he had placed in three National Chess Championships, progressed to the State Championship in baseball, and won many USTA Junior Tennis tournaments. Over the years, Nathan has realized that while playing with people of all ages is fun, playing with other junior players is the most rewarding to him. Therefore, he wishes to inspire more young players to become passionate about pickleball. He hopes to be given the opportunity to meet with juniors around the country to help grow the sport and spread the joy of pickleball.