Author: Tamika Catchings
"Indiana’s “do-everything” forward completed 16 seasons in the WNBA, stepping away from her future-hall-of-fame-career following the 2016 season. Her naming as recipient of the very first ESPN Humanitarian Award in 2015 and a 14-year run of community service by her Catch The Stars Foundation are testament to her work off the court, however – more impactful than her MVP career on the court.
Since her playing retirement, she serves as director of player programs and franchise development with Pacers Sports & Entertainment, a post that keeps her engaged working with all three Pacers franchises: the Indiana Pacers, Indiana Fever and Ft. Wayne Mad Ants. She operates the cozy Tea’s Me Café on the northside of downtown Indianapolis, and continues her service as an ambassador with the NBA and WNBA. She serves on a developmental committee with USA Basketball. She also serves as an SEC ESPN Women’s Basketball Analyst.
In March 2016, Catchings released an autobiographical story, Catch A Star: Shining through Adversity to Become a Champion sharing her story of overcoming hearing loss, separation from family, high expectations and the pain of debilitating physical injuries. She reached for the stars with hard work, perseverance and her faith in God."
1. How did the concept for “Shoot for the Stars” all come together?
My inspiration for this book was our Catch the Stars Foundation's mentoring programs. My goal was to share lessons that I've learned in a format similar to what we use during our program to encourage teens & tweens to set goals, dream big and achieve more.
2. What was one thing you learned about yourself during the writing process?
This was the third book I've worked on and I'd say the biggest thing that I learned is that it's ok to change direction in the midst of the writing process. Plans change and that's ok. Make adjustments and keep plugging away.
3. How similar is being a professional author to being a professional athlete?
That's a great question - I think the biggest similarity is that both require a lot of hard work, dedication, and perseverance. Both take time and won't happen overnight. Set goals, dream big, and work hard.
4. The Catch the Stars Foundation has done some amazing work since its inception in 2004. How do you see the foundation morphing and evolving in a post-COVID world?
One big blessing that has come out of COVID is that we've been able to shift a lot of our programs & events to virtual ones which has enabled us to reach a wider audience and IMPACT more people. We'd grown accustomed to hosting all of our events in person, but the pandemic forced us to shift.
We're now hosting our Shoot for the Stars mentoring program in a 6-week Virtual format with weekly Zoom sessions so it's been neat to have participants from all over the states & globe. We even had a young lady from South Africa which was super cool.
5. What was your writing process like for “Shoot for the Stars”?
It was heavily based on our mentoring program so it was a little easier than starting from scratch. The hardest part was narrowing the book down to just 6 rules for winning at the game of life. I initially had over 20 rules, but wanted to make sure that this book was easily digestible for the audience that it's geared towards.
Once I had the 6 rules finalized, I created activities and questions to support each of them. I was blessed to work with an exceptional team of editors that assisted with keeping me on track throughout the process.
6. Creating a “playbook” for teens and “tweens” was the drive behind this book. What makes the age range between 12 and 19 the perfect target for the lessons within this book?
Our foundation focuses on supporting youth between ages 6-18. The first book, "Dreams are for Catching" was geared towards the younger end of the spectrum (6-10 year olds), and the second book I wrote, "Catch A Star" was more for young adults and adults, so I wanted to focus on that middle range.
I remember being in that age range and having so many questions, thoughts and fears about my future. So this playbook was my simple way of equipping teens & tweens with an extra guide to help them live their best lives.
7. If this book had been around for you in your “tweens”, what type of impact do you think it would’ve had on you?
It would have had a huge impact on me and given me more clarity on things I could do to be the best version of myself.
8. Although the book is for young adults and teens, what lessons can parents take away and learn from “Shoot for the Stars”?
I think this book provides a great way for parents to further connect with their kids. There are a lot of questions that can lead to great conversations and help them to figure out how best to support their kids on their journeys. I've also had a lot of adults share that they read this book and liked the simple reminders, tools and journaling themselves as well.
I believe that we never stop learning or growing so this book is a good resource for simple things you can focus on regardless of your age, status, or background.
9. This is your third book. How have you grown from your first book, “Catch a Star”, to this latest release?
I have grown a lot since the first and even the second in that I have a clearer vision of what I hope to share and more knowledge of how the writing process works.
10. What’s your best advice for getting over writer’s block?
I've always been a big fan of journaling. And reading devotionals and the Bible. There is always something to take away from devotionals and bible verses whether it's praising God for the blessings that he's continued to pour into me, prayer requests for challenging times, praises, and updates, gratitude journaling or whatever.
A lot of times I just grab a pen and write whatever he puts on my heart and I believe that's one of the best ways to get over writer's block. Or even taking a break-going somewhere new instead of writing from your office or home. Coffee shops, parks, basketball courts...changing your environment can help.
11. What’s the best book you have read this year so far?
This is a tough question - I've read so many great books so it's hard to choose one. If I had to choose one, it would be the Bible. But I've also enjoyed "Awaken" by Priscilla Shirer. I read a lot of books on leadership -"Exponential Living" by Sheri Riley is another great one.
12. What’s the best advice you have ever received on happiness?
Regardless of your circumstances, there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for. Gratitude leads to happiness.
13. Do you plan on writing more books in the future?
Absolutely - I enjoy writing and creating, so I'm looking forward to the next one!
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