Danish basketball international Lena Svanholm about getting stronger and breaking barriers

Gepubliceerd op 1 november 2023 om 09:00

Lena Svanholm is a Danish basketball player from Horsholm. The 25-year-old forward moved to the United States when she was 18 years old. She plays basketball and study Chemistry and Chemical Biology at the University of California, Davis. She also made it to the national youth teams. Lena knows what it takes to get stronger, and she will tell us how! Photo: FIBA Europe

How to stay flexible

Lena kept growing a lot when she was a child. Being stronger every day, that is what she has already shown. “My mother played basketball when I was young,” Lena tells us. “For me it was a naturel choice to try out basketball. Though I am pretty tall, I love to work hard under the basket, but I also like to shoot the ball whenever I can. I like getting rebounds and run open floors. That is how I stay flexible.

I have already enjoyed basketball since the beginning. It is a team sport, and there are so many aspects you can improve yourself at; as a team and individually. That’s why I am doing it every single day.”

Playing in the highest league of Denmark at young age

After some youth and senior teams, Lena started getting involved in the highest league of Denmark. She had a lot of great experience with every team. “When I played for the first time in the highest league of Denmark, I was very young, like 16 years old. It was very competitive, playing against players with a lot of more routine and physically stronger. That is what you want as a competitor and as an inspiring athlete. You want to play against the best and keep challenging each other. It is definitely tough, but I learned a lot. Basketball, and all of those experiences, is something I cannot live without.”

Moving to the United States

A new moment came into Lena’s life in 2017. She moved to the United States, to Colorado State. “It was a really competitive program to be part of,” Lena explains when she was asked to go to Colorado. “They had experience with international players, and other European players. I came in contact with one of the coaches who came to Denmark to watch me play. I started to build a connection with that, and paid a visit. When I played my first game in the US, I was very nervous of course. Nevertheless, it was a lot fun. It is something you get prepared for, to get used to that level. That reminds me once more: basketball is basketball, and you put in the work to get more successful.”

Getting stronger every moment

Lena focuses on how to get stronger, in every way possible. It is an amazing talent of her, to know how to get better. She shows her progression on the court, every time. “Basketball in Europe and the US have some different aspects, along with life during college. I personally took a lot of advances of all the resources that I had there: the strength conditioning, the availability of coaches every single day, the extra time of practice and shooting practice. If you want to be good, you have to put in your time and that will hopefully work out!”

Photo: FIBA Europe

Going to UC Davis

After playing two years in Colorado, Lena decided to play somewhere else. Her next stop was the University of California, Davis. “I wanted something a little different, basketball wise; trying out a different style of playing. I found that at UC Davis. I know my journey will end up a bit longer, also because of covid. Besides that, I am really happy with my choice. I have one more year that I am taking; graduating with my master and playing for my last year this season. I have a lot of goals this year, personally and as a team!”

Being a Danish international

Playing for your own country, who doesn’t dream about that? Lena made that possible. She became a Danish international basketball playing by keep working hard. “It is incredible! I still remember it until this day: when you are staying on the court, representing your country and wearing the colors of your flag and singing the anthem. It is an honor to be there, and it was unforgettable. My first year with under 16 was really tough, but it was such a great experience! It showed us (Denmark) what we have to compete against. It was also a great exposure: measuring our level compared with others.”

Photo: FIBA Europe

“That sparked something in me, and I kept getting better and better”

“It the age of 14 I didn’t make it to the national team. I worked hard to make it happen to get selected, and it worked. That sparked something in me, and I kept getting better and better. Ever since I am a starter in the national team, and took a lot of responsibility. I knew I could get this far, and I will keep getting stronger, every moment possible!”

Lena will always be able to stand on the court and give more than 100% of her strength and energy. It is always great, to see how talented players work hard like Lena always does! Photo: FIBA Europe

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