Catherine Porteous is not someone to be taken lightly. Talk to her for a few minutes and you’ll soon find evidence of her determination and drive, whether it’s her cheerful disposition less than 24 hours after a 20 hour flight (she’s already back treating clients) or the way she casually talks about her goal to physio at the Olympics.
She’s already well on her way there. She was recently selected as the Lead Physiotherapist for the New Zealand Women’s National Football Team and she’ll be heading to the FIFA Women’s World Cup with the team in June. A former North Harbour rep herself, Catherine is perfectly placed to talk about what it takes to succeed on and off the field.
Q: It has been a longstanding dream of yours to work as the physio for the New Zealand National Woman’s Football team, hasn’t it? How did you end up here?
I used to play women’s football myself before injury prevented me from going any further so I have always been pretty vested in the success of our national team. Having firsthand knowledge of the importance of physio (not only through my studies but through my injury) I really wanted to be able to continue to contribute to the team in this area. It definitely wasn’t an overnight success story though – it’s been a long road to get here with lots of small steps along the way.
Q: You’ve just returned with the team from international comps in St Louis. How did it go?
A: It was a challenging time for the team. We are currently ranked 17th in the world and we were playing the number 1 U.S team. There were some very well known players on the opposition and that can be an intimidating experience for anyone. We’ve taken away some good learnings for the World Cup though – we need to up our confidence, stop being so nice (kiwis are WAY to nice) and work on not being overwhelmed by the big guns when we’re on the field.
Q: What have you learnt in your time on the sidelines that you think everyone should know?
It’s really important to set goals, have resilience and confidence in your abilities and to be persistent. It’s not rocket science but I’m always amazed at how far these things will take you. It’s seen our team move from bottom of the table to 17th in the world and it’s been a huge factor in my current appointment. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever get here but I kept putting one foot in front of another – and that is everything!
Q: You recently completed your first marathon. Do you have any tips for people who are considering doing this?
I think it would be the same as my advice above. Set a goal, believe you can do something you have never done before, and just keep putting one foot in front of another.
Q: Do you have any physio tips you can share that are relevant outside of football?
Yes. I really can’t stress the importance of warming up properly. No matter what you are doing, five minutes of activity to get your blood pumping and five minutes of dynamic stretching will go a long way. Rather than static stretching, dynamic stretching includes things like hips swings and high knees to get your body used to mov