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Huddle: Interview with Katie O’Donnell of USA Field Hockey

Being a top level international athlete comes with its price, especially for women.  Not many female athletes can boast that they earn a living through doing what they love and performing on the pitch.  This is true for USA Field Hockey sensation Katie O’Donnell, who is as down to earth as you and me.  She co-runs two businesses as well as trying to grow the game over in America whilst training for hours a day and ensuring that she is the best player she can be.

During the World Cup in the Netherlands, the STX sponsored player showed an electric performance in every single game, playing along side her countrywomen with the desire to show the world they are much better than last place fueling her to the bitter end.  The USA finished 4th, which meant their ranking was improved, but above that, they showed the world exactly what field hockey in the USA is all about, and it certainly isn’t about coming last.

Scoop: Hey Katie! Thanks for taking the time to chat to us! What are you up to now the World Cup is over?

Katie: I have been rather busy since the end of the World Cup.  I co-run two businesses with my partner Marvin Bam who actually played hockey for South Africa in the 2008 Olympics.  We run a coaching business called K16 where we coach clinics and camps, which has kept us very busy these past few weeks.  We also have a company called vintage blue photography.  We just captured my team mate Jackie Briggs (Kintzer) wedding on July 4th!  I have been very busy working but also finding some time to spend with my family!


Scoop: Wow! You’re multi-talented! Team USA had an incredible tournament and you were at the heart of it.  How did you guys prepare for the World Cup?

Katie: Well, for starters I think I can say we ran our behinds off! That seemed to be the big buzz about us at the World Cup, but I honestly think that was not the only thing that helped make us so successful.  We trained for hours a day at a higher intensity then I have ever trained before.  We trained at the most fatigued moments to force ourselves to maintain an acceptable skill level when even at our worst moments.  If we are successfully training at fatigued moments we are capable of playing how we did at the World Cup when we weren’t fatigued

Scoop: What were you thinking about whilst you were playing?

Katie: I don’t want to sound crazy but I don’t think about much while playing.  Once I see that my family arrived safely at the stadium I take a deep breath and just enjoy what I love most.  It’s a very simple game really.  Pass when there is a better option and go the opposite way of the defense.  Sometimes it works in your favor and if it doesn’t you fight to get the ball back for another chance.  So therefore I really try not to think too much!

Scoop:  Sometimes it’s better not to think. Did you know you guys would go as far as you did?

Katie: Honestly, no.  I knew we would show up to play and I knew we were going to do better than the Olympics and better than our current ranking.  But we showed up playing exactly how we could, and apparently that is top level hockey!

I also want to help grow the game here in America by sharing my knowledge of the game with the younger generation.

Scoop: You guys quickly became my favourite of the tournament, you guys  were so hungry for the win, each game you played.  What was the inspiration behind your performance?

Katie: I think a lot of us had the mentality of performing better than we did at the Olympics.  No one wants to leave any major tournament in last place.  We were better then that in London and we are FAR better then that now!

Scoop:  Most definitely! Who do you take inspiration from, personally?

Katie: I take inspiration from my dad.  Most dad’s are hero’s to their daughters but mine has surely been through the ringer physically and he has come out the other end a stronger man.  He is an inspiration to anyone who knows him and would give the shirt off his back to anyone in need.  I really look up to him and hope to be just like him one day, with hopefully a little less obstacles than him!

Scoop:  What are your ambitions for your field hockey over the next year?

Katie: I would love to see my team consistently perform like we did at the World Cup over the next few years.  I also want to help grow the game here in America by sharing my knowledge of the game with the younger generation.

Scoop: How do you prepare for every game?

Katie: I like to believe I am a fairly simple person, whether it’s true or not 🙂  I just get dressed, have a cup of coffee, and relax until it’s time to leave for the game.  Sometimes I visualize, text my family, watch tv.  No set routine just go with the flow.  Once we’re at the field I put on my shinnies as fast as I can so I can maximize our hackey-sack time!

Scoop: Do you listen to music as part of your pre-game ritual?  If so, what is your top 5 tracks to listen to?

Katie: I usually listen to whatever our team DJ, Katie Reinprecht, puts on the jambox!

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