Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
At 14, Storey Sadler is already achieving goals as both an academic and athlete. The schoolkid from Hawke's Bay was was the sole New Zealand female selected to partake in the 2021 Asia Pacific Junior NBA Camp. Sadler lives and breathes basketball, and she also finds time to play for the Hastings Girls High School top netball team and is her school's year nine Dux student.
How has your upbringing contributed to your basketball career?
Both my mum and dad, and my seven siblings, all played basketball. I'm the typical "gym-rat kid", always being around a basketball. Our driveway, house and cars are filled with basketballs. My mum and dad have been a part of all of my teams and my siblings and whanau always watch me play. My extended whanau always looks for opportunities to fundraise and help me be able to travel and I want to make them proud.
What's your training schedule like? Is it difficult balancing school and life?
I train every day. I live right next to a gym which my dad has a key for, and my uncle John trains me in the mornings. I start at 6am and train for an hour. Each morning session has a specific focus for my game that we work on. I'll then rush from there to home, eat and get ready for school. After school is pretty busy as well, with training or games for basketball and other codes. I log all my training on an app I have on my phone and the national coaches have access to my training logs. I work on a "balance is better" approach to my sport, home, school and social life. Sometimes it's hard because basketball takes me away from family and friends but it's something I really want to do so I have to make the sacrifices.
What's a career highlight for you?
Being nominated and selected in 2021, to participate in the Asia Pacific Junior NBA Camp & Programme was a highlight for me. They chose one girl and one boy to represent New Zealand — but because of Covid-19, I didn't get the opportunity to travel overseas to the camp, instead I joined virtually. Other highlights for me were being one of the 10 girls named in the 2021 National U15 tournament team, and I was recently named as the Hoop Nation U15 MVP for 2022.
I value my education and was named the Hastings Girls High School year 9 Dux, Highest Academic Achiever, and Junior Sports Woman for 2021.
How do you get the best out of basketball and training in a small town?
I live in a small rural town called Bridge Pa. It's had some pretty famous sports people come from here. Training locally isn't a challenge as we have pretty good coaches and a great basketball programme here in Hawke's Bay. I have to travel out of town a lot to get competitive games and have travelled overseas in the past to play.
Do you play other sports?
I play tag, touch and netball. I enjoy playing these sports because I get to learn new skills and meet other people. I currently play in my school's top netball team and have to balance my commitments between netball and basketball. Fortunately, I am able to play both at the moment.
I was asked to play rugby once but I didn't want to get smashed so said no.
What are some of the struggles you face?
Getting out of bed to go train in the mornings when it's cold and wet or after I have had a late night is a struggle. Trying to stick to an eating plan while everyone else is eating what they want.
Having to perform at a high level can get very demanding and put a lot of pressure on me. I use mindfulness and breathwork as a part of my training routines to help me deal with the pressures of the sport.
What are your goals and next steps?
I am working and training toward being selected for the NZ U15 Girls team. The team travels to Guam to represent our country. My dream is to wear the Fern and represent my whanau, school, community and my country. After High School, I hope to travel, to play and study at a college in the USA, eventually playing basketball as a professional career.