SPA-tlight: Georgina Stoker

SPA-tlightGeorgina Stoker
Squash Pro at Berwyn Squash & Fitness Club
Berwyn, PA

Where did you grow up?
I was born in Hong Kong but grew up in St. Helens, in the Northwest of England.

When and why did you start playing squash?
I started playing squash when I was about nine-years-old. My brother Alex played, so I wanted to play too! I started off just playing on Saturdays at a junior clinic at my local club. Squash was something I was good at early on and, since I discovered it, I haven’t put down the racquet!

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received from a coach?
My dad always told me, “The more you practice, the luckier you get. You’ve got to make your own luck.” Top players don’t get to the top by luck—they get there through a lot of hard work.

You joined the Women’s Squash Association Pro Tour in 2003 and have been ranked as high as world No. 46. Talk about your experience on the pro tour?
Playing the WSA Tour was amazing. You get to travel the world while doing something that you love! The tour allowed me to experience so many countries and cultures that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I made some great friends and met some amazing people who opened their homes to players at tournaments.

Berwyn Squash & Fitness is well-known for its junior and adult squash programs. What are the differences in coaching these age groups? What do you enjoy most about coaching?
At Berwyn, we have juniors of all different levels, from beginners to top-ranked national players. When I’m coaching juniors of any level I like to ask questions. I want them to be able to think for themselves and stand on their own, to know what’s going wrong and how to fix it. With adults, I find that I’m answering more questions than I’m asking!

My favorite thing about coaching is when they ‘get it,’ that moment when you’re teaching your player and all of a sudden you can see that they understand and they can do it. That shot, technique, or movement that you’ve been working on finally makes sense and they can do it, not just once, but repeatedly.

Berwyn is one of the oldest public squash clubs in America. What makes it unique? Say a little bit about the squash community at the club?
Berwyn is a fantastic club; it’s a home away from home. It has such a warm social atmosphere, whether it’s parents chatting while their kids do clinics, the doubles players grabbing a beer after a match, or juniors playing squash and hanging out on a Saturday morning. Berwyn’s slogan is ‘The Friendly Little Squash Club,’ and you really couldn’t describe it any better!

How did the U.S. Open, hosted in Philadelphia, impact your squash community in neighboring Berwyn?
The U.S. Open has brought lots of excitement to the area. It’s fantastic for everyone to have the opportunity to see squash at the very top level at their doorstep. Berwyn has a night at the U.S. Open for club members, and everyone is always eager to go. US Squash does a great job of making the tournament not just entertaining, but also very social. I think it was a fantastic idea to run a JCT at the same time, giving juniors a chance to see the world’s top players compete. The U.S. Open has definitely got the community excited!