Katie Brodsky is collegiate lacrosse player hailing from Mercer Island, WA. She recently took the time to share some of her experiences, motivations, and mindset that has helped propel her into a successful career as a student-athlete.
Being a Pac 12 athlete at Arizona St. is a dream many young athletes strive for. How have
your experiences been up to this point?
Getting the chance to play for an elite school in the Pac 12 is a dream. The athletics program at Arizona State University has been nothing but amazing by putting their athletes first. My experience as an athlete has shaped my character in many ways. I am so grateful for the opportunity to play for the best coaching staff in America. Being a part of this team is so special and I would miss it the most if I wasn’t given this opportunity.
What is your major, and what do you plan to pursue in your career after sports?
I will be graduating in the Spring of 2022 with a major in Clinical Exercise Science. Since I was a young athlete, I have always been fascinated in health and exercise. Currently I am planning to work as a strength and conditioning coach to prepare athletes for the next level. With the training regimen and collegiate experience, I have insight on what it takes to help athletes get to the next level.
How do you balance academics and school?
I receive this question a ton and my answer is always the same. When you get to the level of collegiate athletics, your drive and commitment is not limited to the field. At Arizona State we all compete in the classroom. Competition in the classroom is something we value as an athletic program and continue to strive for. In addition to this attitude, we are provided many resources including tutors which I have utilized. The balance between athletics and academics has never been a huge issue for me because of how many people are here to help.
Did you play any other sports in middle school and high school? How did you settle on lacrosse?
I grew up trying all types of sports but really started to pursue lacrosse in middle school. I loved track and cross country, but I knew it wasn’t my priority. I settled on lacrosse when I knew I had the most fun doing it. As an athlete, I think it is important to continue the sport you most love and enjoy doing. Once you decide what you are most passionate about, you inevitably work hard to excel in it.
I’m sure you’re somebody’s favorite athlete. Did you yourself have a favorite athlete growing up? Is there an athlete you admire or enjoy watching now?
Growing up, I idolized Lolo Jones who is an American hurdler and bobsledder. I was really into track and field and thought she was so inspiring. I would watch her ESPN stories and her documentary as a kid, in hopes I could grow up and run in the Olympics. I definitely changed paths and pursued lacrosse as my sport once I reached middle school. When I made that transition mentally, I started to watch lacrosse games, specifically the Syracuse women’s team. My favorite player has always been Kayla Trainer because she is so shifty behind the cage and I try to emulate her style of play when I can.
The concept of being “in the zone” is when skills and athleticism match performance perfectly, almost to the point of time slowing down. It’s hard to explain, but we all know what it means. Have you ever been “in the zone” while playing?
I have definitely been “in the zone” before and it is such a rewarding feeling. To describe how I feel when it happens is hard, but everything just clicks. When I get “in the zone” nothing is stopping me from making a stellar play. To get “in the zone” you have to let go of expectations and just play your game. When you are free from worries and what others are thinking about you, you play your best. There are times when you mess up, which happens, but I always physically snap my fingers and forget about it.
What a great time to be a college athlete. The NCAA has recently allowed athletes to profit
off their image and likeness. We are still early in this new landscape, but has it affected you,your teammates, or any other student athletes you know?
I am thrilled to be a part of this new rule within the NCAA. I think it is great that athletes have the opportunity to grow their platform while receiving sponsors. I am a Sideline Swap athlete which allows me perks within their app. The company provides a platform where athletes buy and sell their gear. I have teammates who are connected to other companies in this same way. I think the NCAA did an amazing thing allowing athletes to profit off of their image.
We know that mindset is one of the keys to an athlete’s success, and I truly believe there’s a point where athletes make up their minds to pursue their goals in sports. Did this happen for you? At what age did you commit yourself to becoming the best version of yourself in lacrosse, and how did that change your approach?
I remember in the 7th grade I told myself, “I am going to do whatever it takes to play lacrosse in college.” I had a strong passion for the sport, and nothing was going to turn me away from it. Looking back, I remember getting home from school and going straight to my backyard to throw the ball around and shoot. Nobody told me I had to, but I spend hours outside. I think when you have a desire to play, you try to do anything that would put you ahead of your competition. I would pretend I was taking the game winning shot of the NCAA championship more times than I could count. Allowing myself to enjoy the sport while pushing myself made the difference to get me to the collegiate level.
Athletes of yesteryear just somewhat ate whatever was put in front of them, but nutrition has become a big point of focus now. Can you speak on your own nutritional template and the value of consciously fueling yourself?
I have always been conscious of the food I was eating and how it affects my performance. More recently, I have been trying to intuitive eat which means I am listening to what my body needs. With long training days, I always allow myself to eat more food, but on lighter days I just listen to how my body feels and fuel it properly. I have been trying to cook more, which has helped me stay conscious of what I am putting into my body. As I am getting older, I am realizing the impact food has on your body, and I try to honor my body with quality food.
Traditionally, athletes played multiple sports growing up, but in recent times the concept of sports specialization has become the norm by keeping athletes in the same sport throughout the year. A divide has manifested between the two concepts… multiple sports verses specializing in a single sport. Which concept do you lean more towards?
I am a firm believer in playing multiple sports. I have nothing against people who only do one sport, but I think that by playing different ones, it elevates your game. For example, I ran cross country and played lacrosse in high school. I excelled in both, but my priority was always lacrosse. Still, I gained lessons from cross country that I probably wouldn’t have had I stuck to one sport. I gained more mental strength from cross country than I ever did from lacrosse. This sounds strange, but each sport teaches you something different. By putting your body in these sports, you learn to adapt and play the game. I brought these teachings to lacrosse, which was instrumental to my success.
Can you speak on the concept of team and team building? How important are your teammates to you? How important is establishing trust in one another?
Living within a team has been my favorite aspect of lacrosse. We have close to 45 girls who have become my family. The lessons you learn from one another and with each other are countless. Still, not everyone gets along which is an analogy for life. Whether or not you get along with teammates, you respect them and come together for a greater purpose- to win. My team is by far the most special I have been a part of. Never have I been on a more inviting and accepting team in my life. My teammates are my family and I love them. We all work towards the same goal which strengthens our trust and bond with each other.
On your social media you have taken a large interest in mental health. How long have you been involved in this issue and what motivated you to get involved?
Mental health is a huge interest for me especially within the last year. I personally have not struggled deeply with mental health issues, but I know so many people who do. Because mental health is starting to be talked about, people have opened up to me about their struggles. I feel a duty to shed light on this very common problem. About 1 in 4 adults will suffer from mental health, which is why I want people to know it is ok and people are here to support you. I encourage everyone to have open conversations about mental health to break the stigma.
Many women at some point in their lives face body image issues, and I know that you have
personally spoken to young female athletes who have struggled with self-image. Are there any words of encouragement or advice you would say to the young ladies who might be
I have definitely struggled with my body image growing up. This problem seems almost inevitable for every young girl with the type of media we portray. Media tends to focus on the appearance of women and the target audience usually reaches young girls. Luckily, my identity has always surrounded lacrosse. Rather than looking at my thighs and wondering why I didn’t have a gap, I shifted my perspective. I have 100% had those thoughts, but I tell myself how important and strong my legs are because they allow me to run and do what I love. I still struggle with body image in ways, but by changing my perception I accept my body for what it is and appreciate what it does for me. I encourage all young girls to try and look at your body and appreciate what it is able to do rather than comparing yourself to others. It is important to remove yourself from environments that value looks over character, which mainly pertains to social media.
When you are not engaged in school and sports, are there any hobbies or interests you like to partake in?
When I am not doing academics or athletics, I try to do something artistic. Aside from sports, I am also passionate about art. I think it is essential to find things outside of your sport that you enjoy as well. I am currently in a ceramics class which I have never done before. Trying new things is so exciting because I am able to challenge myself in a different way.
For the young athletes who want to play in college, what advice would you give to them and/or their parents to fulfill this dream?
For those who want to pursue their sport in college, my biggest piece of advice is to love it. If you truly enjoy your sport, you will give your everything to it, this means practicing. I have been unmotivated and had moments of doubt but staying driven sets you apart. One phrase that I think is super important is “proper preparation prevents poor performance”- the 5 P’s. No one can get to the point of athletic success without preparing and practicing. Everyone wants the key to success, but it’s as simple as getting outside and doing it. I wouldn’t be where I am had I not spent countless hours practicing outside. I gave up parts of my social life to train and travel for lacrosse. Another thing that elevated my game was getting mental reps. I watched lacrosse games constantly, in attempt to learn from the best. By watching games, I learned new skills and strived to be like these collegiate players.
For the parents who want their kids to play in college, my advice is to support them and guide them when needed. My dad played basketball at Yale and lives for sports, but my mom still doesn’t even know all the rules of lacrosse. Yet, I never felt pressured to play because I knew they would be proud of me regardless. They saw my passion for lacrosse and knew I would be happiest playing it. Keeping that in mind, if I ever had moments of doubt, my parents were the first ones there to lift me up and reassure me. I can only imagine how hard it is to watch your kid fail but knowing when to step in and when to step back is just as important.
Any good words to leave us with?
Reaching the collegiate level has always been a dream of mine. I am beyond thankful for the people who helped me get here. It truly takes a village to achieve these accomplishments and I want to thank Yamar for the training and belief he has had in me from the start. I talked a ton about how you need to have this overwhelming passion and drive for the sport, but there are times when they aren’t there. Remembering how many people believe in you and your ability to reach the next level inspired me to continue.