During last season, Lokomotief Rijswijk became the champion of the Promotiedivisie in the Netherlands. Lokomotief can be described as a big basketball family. One of the players who play there for quite a long time are Nikki Rademaker and Kirsten Siera.
1. Can you introduce yourselves?
Nikki: I am 24 years old. Last year I graduated at Leiden University. I play basketball at Lokomotief for a long time, together with Kirsten.
Kirsten: Well I am 25 years old. I am teacher at an elementary school. I have played at Lokomotief since I was 11 years old
2. How did both of you come in contact with basketball?
Nikki: Both my parents played basketball at Lokomotief. At first I didn’t want to play basketball, I did ballet. However, Lokomotief is a family-minded organization. Many people told me I should come and pay a visit. So I went one time to Lokomotief, and since then I never left.
Kirsten: My story is a bit different. Most of my family played soccer. After swimming lesson I could choose a sport, but I had no idea what to choose. At elementary school you had some trials for different sports. You could choose korfball, which I found terrible. My cousin played basketball, and that’s how I got into this sport, and so many other relatives.
3. You have played for Lokomotief for a long time now. What made you stay at this organization?
Nikki: It feels like family in here. For example, when we go to Denmark with our young talented players, or at Lokocamp, or our supporters at the Finals. All of this feels like a real bond, kind of a second family. At the finals, many supporters are willing to come to Zwolle and support us no matter how.
Kirsten: That is what our website says: cosiness and performance. That combination makes this organization so wonderful. After a game, most of our team and other teams within Lokomotief stays at the bar and have a drink. It is the solidarity what makes Lokomotief really great.
4. How would you describe your style of playing?
Kirsten: Hmm quite difficult. I am more like a dynamic player. I love to set quick offensive plays, going strong to the basket. Kind of an dynamic style of play.
Nikki: I am more a defensive player, with a ‘over my dead body’ mentality. But I think the reason why we became the champion last May is that we didn’t had any special individual skills, just being a team and work as a team. Nevertheless, I still want to improve my offensive skills, like attacking the basket a lot more or taking more shots.
Kirsten: That is exactly the opposite of what I want to improve. I want to improve my defensive skills a lot more.
5. Basketball is not only a sport, also a lifestyle. Is there a movie or any other facts you can categories into the lifestyle of basketball?
Kirsten: Well, I can watch Coach Carter a hundred of times, but it is not that I have a specific lifestyle.
Nikki: Well, I think Kirsten and I see Lokomotief as a lifestyle itself. We have made a lot of friends in the time we play here. We know each other for a long time and it feels like home here. I think that makes a sort of lifestyle too.
6. What kind of hobbies do you both have?
Kirsten and Nikki: Well, to be honest. We see playing basketball as a hobby. Sure, we like to watch movies and stuff, but not specific other hobbies besides basketball. We play basketball almost every Saturday and after a game we like to stay at the bar at Lokomotief.
7. What is the most memorable moment you can think of?
Nikki: Definitely the finals last May in Zwolle, but I also won’t forget the championship at the U16 team of Lokomotief. Nobody expected that, so that was a pretty special moment.
Kirsten: Just like Nikki said, the finals in Zwolle. Just by seeing all the parents supporting you. Lokomotief U14 was also very special.
8. How would you describe your last season in the ‘Promotiedivisie’?
Kirsten: We started really strong, we practiced a lot of times which led to a good start. I think just before Christmas recess we were less focused, but we stayed around the 3rd and 4th rank. Around January we struggled to the 5th spot, so we all that oh no maybe we won’t even reach the Final Four. I mean we lost against some teams which we should have won, but just before the start of the final four, other teams lost a couple of games that we didn’t expect.
In the Final Four we played against number two: Baros. After winning against Baros we played the finals against Jolly Jumpers, and that went amazing. We looked at the scoreboard a couple of times and in the last 5 minutes we increased our lead with more and more points. A season to never forget!
Nikki: At the beginning of last season we all said that we wanted to reach the championship. That would be wonderful, but we asked ourselves how we would accomplish that. After Christmas our performances weren’t that good. We had a good conversation with the whole team when that happened. After that we played a lot better and that led us to the 3rd spot.
Against Baros we won with 9 points differential at home. That was enough to qualify ourselves to the finals. We already know that Jolly Jumpers would play in the highest league of the Netherlands. It was already amazing that we reach the finals in the first place, but winning the finals and becoming Dutch champions is something we all worked hard for.
9. What do you think about 3×3 basketball?
Nikki: When it wasn’t that popular I played at a world champions tournament in Madrid, in 2012 I think. Unfortunately I tore my ligament during a 3×3 tournament before. It’s pretty nice to watch, but I prefer more 5×5 basketball. It’s more a summer event for my opinion.
Kirsten: I never really played 3×3 basketball, and I think it’s not something I prefer. It’s way more faster than regular 5×5 basketball, and as I said I like to play dynamically, but in a different way than 3×3 basketball.
10. What do you think of the performances of basketball in the Netherlands so far?
Kirsten: I think they want to reach higher goals, which is good of course. But I think you should also be realistic at some aspects. I mean if you look at countries like Spain, or Italy, or Serbia, you can play basketball as a profession. I don’t think that is possible in the Netherlands and maybe that is the reason why some other countries are on a higher level than we are. If you need a job besides basketball, which I think it’s necessary in the Netherlands, than maybe you will never reach that kind of level Spain or Italy has. It’s a pity, but I think you need more sponsors to reach a higher level.
Nikki: Well I see that 3×3 basketball is doing great, maybe because we began to earlier than some other countries. At the Vrouwen Basketball League we have not that many teams, so you play almost every three weeks against the same team. In the Netherlands we have many young talented players, but they will move at other countries when they reach a higher level in the Netherlands.
11. Is there something you want to achieve within this sport?
Nikki: I think this is the best combination we have. The fun, the coziness, the success we recently had. It would be amazing to reach the finals again.
Kirsten: Well I think I want to play at the highest league in the Netherlands as long as I enjoy it. If this keeps going I will stay playing basketball in here, I wouldn’t move to another organization.