William Yu PEA ’13 and Midori Ishizuka ’11 joined Andover this year as Teaching Fellows, house counselors, and new Coaches in the squash program. Coach Yu, Instructor in Physics and Mathematics, Statistics, & Computer Science, assists coaching for the Boys JV1 and JV2 teams. Coach Ishizuka, a Teaching Fellow in the History Department, brings knowledge from her squash career at Andover as an Assistant Coach for Girls Varsity Squash.
Hailing from Montgomery County, Md., Coach Yu began playing squash in high school on Exeter’s JV2 program. Drawn to their newly renovated squash courts, he pursued the sport until he made the Varsity team.
Coach Yu said, “Coming into Exeter, I felt like most people back home, not from the New England area, think of squash as just a vegetable. Exeter had just built really nice squash courts and I think I just heard about it and the trends, and I watched it on YouTube and I wanted to have the opportunity to play.”
Coach Yu was an experienced tennis player and played for Exeter Tennis for all for years of his time there. Following his time at Exeter, Coach Yu went on to Columbia University where his love for racquet sports became a recreational outlet.
Coach Yu chose to come to Andover as teaching fellow to give back to boarding school community after his positive experience at Exeter.
“I think it was a combination of really enjoying my time at Exeter, I wanted to kind of give back and know how it’s a really cool experience and both at the academics and athletics so I think I have this myself I can really help everybody out,” continued Coach Yu.
Similar to Coach Yu, Coach Ishizuka picked up squash with prior experience in tennis. Before enrolling in Andover, Coach Ishizuka attended the Bollettieri Tennis Academy at I.M.G. in Florida. Once at Andover, Ishizuka originally tried nordic skiing in the winter before settling for squash.
“I will admit squash is my secondary sport. So I really liked it and played at the Varsity level at this school, but technically I don’t have as much confidence coaching as I would in tennis. But from a mental perspective and a fitness perspective I think I have the most to offer… That’s how I would offer the most success to the team. I mean [Jennifer Elliott ’94, Dean of Students and Residential Life] has the expertise in the sport. She played squash in college and I would defer to her for technical advice, but I would like to go hit around with the girls and have fun,” said Coach Ishizuka.
Both Yu and Ishizuka are familiar with the balanced lifestyle student-athletes strive for, having lived it themselves.
Coach Yu said, “I think it’s all about balance, about how to balance your time. Your time socially, your time academically, your time athletically. I think that the way you use your energy the way that you put 100 percent to one thing, you’ll be the most successful. So when you’re hanging out with your friends having 100 percent of your mind just hanging out with your friends; doing your work at 100 percent, you’re just doing your work; and when you’re practicing at 100 percent, you’re practicing.”
“I used to find it [playing a sport] as stressful as school. But I think if you can see it for more from the prescriptive of being the best part of the day, when you get to not think about your school work for a little bit [for a good solid two hours] and just enjoy the game, that it serves you much better to do so.” added Coach Ishizuka.