Posted: 27 November 2017
In the second of our interview series with young sports stars, we spent some time with Georgia Lees who plays for Surrey Storm and has also played for England U19s, and asked her all about her life as a netball player.
How long have you been playing netball?
I have been playing for 14 years. I started playing at school when I was 9 and then I started at an external club when I was in secondary school. I then started playing for Surrey Storm as a junior when I was 15 and have been a part of their Superleague squad for 6 seasons.
Did you ever go on a school / amateur tour? If so where? What memories do you of touring?
I went on a tour to Malta with the National British College’s team that I was selected for when I was 17. It was my first real experience of playing abroad and against a different country whose style of playing was completely new to me, so that was a big learning curve for me that all countries have their own playing style which is very different to how we play in England. Also, as this team was made up of college girls from the whole of England my main memory I have from that tour is making some really close friendships with girls who lived miles away from me, and they’re friendships that I still have today.
What is a normal tour/training camp like?
I was a part of the England U19 team that was selected for the Junior Europeans in 2013 so therefore have some experience of being in training camps. They’re usually really intense camps that lasted either a week or a weekend depending on school commitments. They would include 2-3 sessions per day which incorporated a mixture of strength & conditioning, on court technical sessions, fitness testing, individual skills work and team play which focused on tactics etc. Usually we’d also have match play on at least one day over the camp, which may have been playing against each other or against an external team. At these camps there would also be some team building involved as well which was always fun and was great to break the ice when getting to know lots of new faces. In terms of diet and food plans, a nutritionist was available and the main focus was ensuring we were eating the right foods for optimal recovery and performance which was important over week long camps as they could be very tiring.
And now for some questions from the kids…
Louis (Aged 12) Who was your sporting hero growing up?
I remember in primary school having Danny Crates, a Paralympic athlete, coming into school and giving a presentation about his sporting success and how he had got to where he had despite having his disability. This really inspired me to play a lot of different sports at a young age. Then as I got older and narrowed my sports down to just netball I then had more of a netball sporting hero who was Pamela Cookey and was lucky enough to get to play on the same team as her in 2016 before she retired.
Emily (Aged 11) What advice do you have for young players who want to follow in your footsteps?
My biggest advice is that you have to continue to enjoy it. If you want to play at the highest level then you have to accept that it does take up a lot of your time and you’ll be required to miss out on lots of different things. What I have found is that because I love the sport so much and enjoy the team I play with and the training I do then I’m more willing to sacrifice those things.
Thanks for your time Georgia and good luck for this season!
Nick Howe, St Paul’s Junior School, London
Tom Whitehead, Head of Football, Dulwich College.