Persist, persist, persist. The Katie Castle Story.

We recently sat down with Katie Castle, current Manly Warringah ABA Championship Women and Sydney University SEABL representative on her long and arduous journey as a junior basketball player and how finding her private coach helped her triumph and turn 'so close' moments into moments of success.

FMC: When did you start playing basketball and what drew you to the sport.

I started playing when I was 9. I was actually thrown in the deep end a bit with my first game being a representative for Manly out in Blue Mountains. I like to think they picked me for my talent, but they were short on numbers.

FMC: What has been the highlight of your basketball career?

Making the NSW State team in 2016 after so many years of coming so close.

FMC: In previous years how close did you come to making the team?

So they have a number of trials when they pick the state team. When I was bottom age 16’s I was selected as a reserve aka just missed out. When I was top age 16’s in 2014 and I was the last person cut from the team which was really devastating, as I felt I’d worked harder than other people to make the team and wanted it so bad! But that’s the way it goes. In 2015 I was selected as a reserve again which wasn’t so bad as a bottom ager, but after the previous year just missing out I still really wanted to make the team.

FMC: What was your thought process upon being cut so many times going into 2016.

Top age 18’s isn’t your last chance to make a state team but 18’s nationals is a bigger deal than previous years as a lot of people move onto college after or give up basketbaIl and I just wanted to prove to myself more than anyone that I could make the team and contribute to its success. I worked the hardest I’d ever worked especially from a fitness perspective, gyming and running everyday to make sure I was in the best shape of my life going into trials.

I also sought the help of a private coach from ‘Find My Coach’ who helped me improve my shooting and dribbling fundamentals and added to my arsenal of moves. Beyond that I think having an additional coach helped me develop my mental resilience helping me in close game situations.

 FMC: How much did getting a private coach help your game going into the 2016 season?

You don’t rise to the occasion you fall to your highest level of preparation. That was something my coach taught me that has stuck with me. It helped keep me calm and level headed in challenging on and off court situations. I just try to stick to the game plan and strategy as a point guard and work out where we can get the shot we need and who best on the team to deliver it. I have always fallen back on my defence so if we need a stop I like to take it on myself by guarding the other teams best player. 

By telling myself that I am prepared and have put in the extra work with my coach I can have the confidence that I can deliver when called upon.

FMC: When you found out you made the team, what was your thought process?

I was so relieved and ecstatic that my hard work had payed off but that feeling wore off pretty quickly and I started feeling nervous about Nationals. Making the team was only 10%, I kind of knew that now I had to deliver and show that I could contribute and lead the team.

FMC: Did you expect to be starting point guard?

No, not at all. Leading up to Nationals I was a bench player in all our trial games and training situations. However I always pride myself on coming off the bench and trying to best do what coach and the team needs. At nationals certain situations presented themselves and I was able to take advantage of that and assume the starting role. I felt pressure starting but I knew like before that I had put in that extra work and extra fitness and that preparation would help me do the best I can for the team.

FMC: What are your future goals for basketball in 2017

I really want to perform in the Women’s Championship League and make an impact in a team full of veterans at Manly. I would love to have an impact in the Sydney Uni SEABL team and prove to myself that I can play at that level. And I think ultimately I would love to play in the WNBL and represent Australia at the Olympics.

FMC: For all the younger kids aspiring to make state and SEABL teams do you have any words of advice?

Perseverance pays off. Persist, Persist, Persist. Determination and hard work can overthrow talent any day of the week!