Karin Burger’s path to the top certainly hasn’t come easy.
From growing up in South Africa, to making the move nearly 12,000km to New Zealand, Burger has seen it all across her journey.
The 28-year-old packed her bags at 18 and headed to Wellington where she played local netball, before realising she had ambition to go further in the game.
“Wellington has a very connected and tight knit netball community. Everyone is very supportive of each other,” Burger told gilbertnetball.com.au.
“I started at the Naenae Collegians United Club in Lower Hutt and my earliest memories of that would have been playing the pre-season tournament out on the Taita courts before moving into the old Walter Nash indoor courts.
“(I) wanted to play (professionally) ever since moving to New Zealand. I realised I could do it when I was awarded the Beko League player of the year award in 2016.”
It was soon after that when Burger reached the ANZ Premiership and represented the Central Pulse.
What followed was a debut in New Zealand colours for the Silver Ferns.
“Most memorable moment with the Pulse would be the moment we won the ANZ Premiership Trophy in 2019,” she said.
“As for the Ferns, you’d expect me to say when we won the Netball World Cup 2019, however I would never forget my first starting line-up game against South Africa when it went into double over time.”
The connection with Gilbert Netball is important for Burger, given the netball is one of the most popular sports in New Zealand.
“Gilbert has been a supporter of netball for many years. Playing for a team that represents the biggest female sport in New Zealand is an honour,” she said.
“Representing a supporter of this team (Gilbert) is a privilege.”
Burger recently moved to the Mainland Tactic, aiming to step up and challenge her own development in a new environment.
“The reason for my move has a few elements. I'm a firm believer of continuous improvement and seeking opportunities to develop. I had been with the Central Pulse team for four years and got a bit complacent in my development of leadership skills,” she said.
“I had amazing leaders as part of my team in Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Katrina Rore and Claire Kersten, which allowed me to sit back and enjoy rather than forcing myself to step up. I wanted to challenge myself and to be in a new, uncomfortable environment so that I can work on those skills.
“Another element of course would be positional changes. In order to work on my Goal Defence (GD) position, for international netball, I needed to look at changing clubs to where I would be able to play GD predominantly.
“I've loved the move, being in a new environment. The change has changed my outlook in certain areas and allowed me to focus on my life outside of netball a bit more. It's important to set yourself up for life after netball and that's what I've allowed 2021 to be, my year of discovery and planning for my future.”
FAST FEET WITH KARIN BURGER
What is your favourite breakfast?
This totally depends on the day. I like a good porridge, other times I like a good eggs benny but there’s no particular favourite as of yet.
What is your favourite way to keep fit?
Playing the actual game. What better way to be game fit than actually playing the game.
When was your toughest training session?
This 100 per cent has to be our 2018 Silver Ferns December camp. The year Noeline Taurua was selected as head coach. It was brutal unlike anything else I have experienced before. I won’t be able to pick one specific training in that week as they were all very hard.
What advice would you give future athletes?
Work hard. Nothing ever comes from just waiting to see what happens. There will be difficulties but without them you won’t move forward. Difficulties forces decisions and decisions lead you on your chosen path. Don’t be impatient, acknowledge the difficulties, make the best decision for yourself and follow your path with determination.