AKA Women Making Racquetball History Now!
We will feature another woman making racquetball history every Wednesday. Do you know someone else we should be celebrating with this interview and feature process? Drop us a line on Facebook!
Name: Laura Pesek
Are you a pro player, coach, association board member, tournament organizer, or racquetball broadcaster AKA why do racquetball players know you?
I am currently the President of the Indiana State Racquetball Association (INSRA) and have played amateur racquetball primarily in both Illinois and Indiana.
Where do you promote racquetball on social media and the web?
Indiana State Racquetball Association – Facebook Page
Currently under construction – www.insra.org
Country of Origin: USA
Place you consider home: I’m a Chicago girl, Born and raised!
Have you ever been on your country’s national team? When?:
I can only dream to be as good as these athletes! Maybe in my next life!
Did you play as a junior? When & how where you introduced to the competitive side of racquetball?
I was definitely a “late bloomer” to this sport. I first picked up a racquet in college when I was looking for a sports elective to round out my coursework. I then walked away from the game for over a decade when life and career took priority. But I eventually came back to playing recreationally and recently started playing tournaments just within the past 2 years.
Playing hand: Right
Year you started playing racquetball: 1989
Favorite racquetball shot: Down the line!
Motivation for the game (what keeps you playing):
I often say that this game is a lot more fun than a treadmill and definitely cheaper than a shrink! However, health benefits aside, I really do enjoy the challenge of mastering different shots and pushing yourself to exceed your own expectations.
Love most about racquetball:
I know it sounds cliché, but I really love the people I’ve met through this sport. I’ve met so many talented, interesting, and funny people that I likely would not have crossed paths with otherwise – many of whom I’m privileged to consider my friends. And the Indiana racquetball community is second to none. They really exemplify the term “Hoosier Hospitality!”
I used to be an Ektelon girl but now I play with Gearbox and Head racquets, Gearbox gloves, Adidas and Mizuno shoes, Mizuno knee pads, and Puma socks. I have both Head and ProKennex racquetball bags and don’t go anywhere without Pure Protein bars, Gatorade, Karina hair clips, Motrin, and BioFreeze!
I played my first US Open last year and am so looking forward to playing again this year!
Best results at tournaments you’ve played in:
I was pretty happy to have played well enough to get a gold medal in Women’s Doubles and a bronze medal in Women’s Singles at last year’s US Open. I hope to do better this year.
Day job: Vice President of Operations
Charity close to your heart:
American Cancer Society – There are far too many people in the world who battle this insidious disease or know someone who does.
Other sports played in addition to racquetball:
I was a track and field athlete in school; my favorite event was the long-jump. And would it be totally blasphemous for me to admit that I’ve tried my hand at Pickleball? My first love will always be Racquetball though!
How do you feel is the best way to help grow the sport of racquetball?
This question is top of mind for the new INSRA Board. It is very easy to say that we need an increased focus on juniors and collegiate players and this is clearly an important part of the solution. But I also believe that we need to dig deeper than that to create life-long racquetball addicts and attract more players to the sport. The demographic of our customer base and the challenges facing them are very different today than they were even a few short years ago. We have to understand the needs of our membership at a detailed level and create a player experience that is welcoming, rewarding, challenging, innovative, convenient, and most importantly, FUN! I’m very grateful to have the support of 9 other incredibly talented board members in exploring how best to do just that for Indiana, our surrounding state partners, and the nation at large. Stay Tuned – there’s more to come on this, for sure!
What do you do to train?
I currently workout 3 times a week with 2 sports performance trainers that I affectionately refer to as “Hans and Frans”. We focus on strength training, core stability, and speed and agility drills. In addition, I try to get on the court at least 3 times a week.
What is the biggest challenge you face right now as it comes to racquetball, and how do you work to overcome that challenge?
I have been very fortunate to have not suffered any debilitating injuries playing this sport (knock on wood!) and would really like to keep it that way with the help of Hans and Frans!
Do you know someone else we should be celebrating with this interview and feature process? Drop us a line on Facebook!