From being a 5x5 international to a 3x3 international; Annika Köster can say what she accomplished over the years. She knows what it takes to get better! Photo: FIBA Europe
1. Let’s introduce yourself, who are you?
“I am Annika Köster, 30 years old. Currently I am playing for the national 3x3 basketball team of Estonia, and I have played for the national 5x5 team of Estonia as well since 2009. I am an international for quite some time.”
2. How did you start playing basketball?
“I am playing basketball for 19 years now. It all started when my former coach came to our physical education class. She was recruiting some girls who wants to come to practice. At that moment I did fencing, and it took some months to leave fencing and start to playing basketball. Since then I never quit.”
3. What kind of player are you?
“Mostly I play as a power forward, but last year I played as a center. In Estonia we don’t have a lot of tall players. I can also play on the small forward position, so those are three different positions. I like to play mostly in the bucket, inside the perimeter. Nevertheless, I can shoot some midrange and long-range shots as well.”
4. Where have you played basketball jet?
“Most of the time I played in Estonia during my career. The first time I played at the highest level was when I was 15 years old. I didn’t get that much minutes, so I don’t have a lot of memories of that. What I can remember was that I was really nervous, but very excited. I think it took like two years to get ready for the highest league, because I felt more confident. I got the chance, and I took it with both hands!”
5. How did you get better?
“My teammates helped me as well. I had a couple of friends who gave me advices and very much confidence. That is the mental part about how to get better. You have to be more physical prepared as well. Over the year I did the job done: training more, gaining more experience and understanding the game.”
6. Are there any unforgettable moments in Estonia?
“We won quite many Estonian championships. Before I went to Finland we won the silver medal the Baltic League. Estonia had only two teams, so we have a Baltic League as well.”
Photo: FIBA Europe
7. After finishing on the second place in the Baltic League you went to Finland. How was it to play somewhere outside of Estonia?
“Playing in Finland was quite hard at first. Finland isn’t pretty far from Estonia, but still a different country. To leave everything behind for basketball was pretty hard, so it took some weeks to get used to it. It was an awesome experience to me, definitely. I learned a lot with this team.”
8. Last year you played for TalTech Tallinn. How would you describe last season?
“Well, the beginning was quite hard. I had to get into more physical shape. I got hurt on my ACL. My knee got better as the season passed by.”
9. You have also been a basketball international of Estonia. In 2008 you played for the under 16 team, how was it for you to play there?
“It is always an honor to get selected for the national team. I was really happy that I got into the team, but unfortunately we could accomplish a lot. We played in the B division, and we hoped to reach the A division to grow further.”
10. How was it to play for the highest national team of Estonia?
“At first I was very scared, because I was suddenly practicing with some girls I looked up to. It was not something to just do. Singing the national anthem, wearing ‘Estonia’ on your chest is not something what everyone can say.”
11. Right now you are a 3x3 player. What can you say about the first time?
“In Estonia we played 3x3 before with some Streetball Tournaments. It was played on concreate. In Estonia we have the tradition that in the summer you are playing a lot of 3x3 tournaments. In 2012 I played my first road championship in Greece, and from that point I took the game more serious. Before that it wasn’t a tournament represented by FIBA 3x3. I love the game right now! It is much more dynamic and intense.”
12. Were there any special moments during your 3x3 career?
“In 2019 we won the silver medal during the European Games in Minsk. It was the first medal, right now we are preparing for the qualifications this May in Austria. We have been practicing the whole summer.”