Cool, calm and collected: Inside the mind of Olivia Tchine

WATCHING English and London Pulse star shooter Olivia Tchine out on court, you would be forgiven for thinking she is much older than she actually is.

The 22-year-old employs such a calm and mature demeanour, it is easy to assume she had played more than eight times for her country.

Although, if you ask her what her secret is to being so composed, even she’s not sure.

“I kind of just get on with it,” Tchine said.

“I had to learn to learn quickly that getting nervous is a good thing, it means you care. Sam Bird is always telling me ‘Liv are you nervous? Yep? Good, that means you care’, so I’ve had to learn that.

“Also, when you have a good support system around you, you don’t feel all that expectation and that pressure. You don’t really feel it, you just get on court and you do what you need to do.”

Tchine made her debut in last year’s series against Uganda and also got more consistent game time at the 2023 Quad Series. She describes her international experiences to date as “crazy”.

“I was very, very honoured to be able to get on court for the first time with the Roses,” she said. “It was definitely a moment I will never forget.”

During said Quad Series, Tchine was replacing the injured Jo Harten, but says she did not feel any added pressure of having to step in for a player of Harten’s stature.

“This is my first season as a full-time Rose, I’ve always said no matter what happens my job is to learn from all involved so I try to bring that back into my play, and whenever my chance comes just do my job,” she said.

“When you have big, big players like that in your team you automatically just want to learn.”

Reflecting on when she first fell in love with netball, Tchine described her connection to the sport as a match made in heaven.

“It was just the sport that accepted me for being me in terms of my height,” she said. “Being a tall girl, it was a perfect match for me.”

“I started playing in year five, so when I was nine, and then I didn’t take it seriously until I was in secondary school. When I was 12 or 13 I joined a club and started to take it seriously. It was just the sport that literally accepted me for being me and my height, it was a perfect match to be honest.”

After originally playing as a keeper due to a love of shot blocking, one day Tchine got swapped with a teammate who was playing shooter at the time and has never looked back.

After first joining a local club in South London, Tchine quickly got selected for pathway teams and rose up the ranks. One of her coaches during her pathway journey was non other than the until recent coach of the Celtic Dragons Dannii Titmuss-Morris.

The Pulse was not her first Super League club, with the young star originally selected in the development squad of the Surrey Storm.

However it got to a point where the long round trips were getting too much for Tchine and her father, with the pair often getting back to South London in the early hours of the morning.

She then joined the underage system at the London Pulse, who did not have a Super League side at that stage but soon would. She was on tour in Australia of all places with the England squad when she found out the Pulse were bringing in a Super League squad.

After making the finals last year, the Pulse are again having a great season this year, and Tchine said that the way last season ended for her side impacted the way they approached heading into 2023.

“Maybe it was frustration, but it boosted us and showed us we can actually do it,” she said. “We were able to be one of the biggest competitors last season, and we’ve done that this season and caused damage, but every game last season we knew was going to be a fight.”

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