Here at Hoops we’re committed to bringing you the most informative and motivational content possible – after all, we want you to love sport as much as we do! But we don’t know everything. So we’re going to be enlisting the help of regular columnists to help us fill in the gaps.
This week we’re delighted to welcome Jack Downs, professional rugby league player at Super League club Hull FC, to the Hoops team, and start by taking a look at how he got into the sport.
When I was 8 or 9 years old, my dad said to me “do you want to get into some sport? Let’s get you trying some things out!”
So I went through your standard options, football, cricket and other stuff, and eventually I tried rugby down at my local club. And I’ve played ever since.
I enjoyed it straight away, and it helped that my mates all played down there as well. And here I am now!
I did play league and union when I was younger – who knows, if I hadn’t have got into league, I could have been playing union at a high level?
But with league I bit the hook straight away.
“To do what I do is a real honour”
Professional clubs offer scholarships, where you train at the club a couple of nights a week and really develop as a player.
When I found out about that, that was my aim and my dream, to do that and to go on to play professionally.
When I first signed I was 17, and at the time I got invited to a pre-season tour with the first team.
The coach took me to one side and told me they were offering me that first team contract, and I couldn’t stop myself from smiling, I was proper buzzing.
A lot of people say to me that the majority of kids growing up would love to do what I’m doing – especially in Hull!
To get to do what I do is a real honour.
— Hoops Connect (@Hoops_App) May 16, 2017
“Sport is about developing mentally and socially”
If you’re interested in getting into rugby, just get yourself down to the local side. They’re so many of them these days, there’s at least 20 just in Hull!
What we say in rugby league is that we have the rugby league family – everybody looks after each other.
Your coaches at the local level will be great and will do anything for you. They make sure it isn’t too competitive and can ease you in. And in my opinion it’s one of the best sports there is in terms of getting out there and having a laugh with your mates.
Having those social bonds does heaps for young kids’ confidence, their ability to talk to people, to deal with different situations and to develop as a person.
Sport isn’t just about developing your physical attributes, it’s about developing mentally and socially.
I do community outreach with the club, and when you see the number of kids who are excited about the sport and want to get involved, it’s really pleasing.
There’s no better feeling than finishing a game and seeing the smile it puts on kids’ faces.
Hoops is now available in app stores, so you can use us to find opportunities for any sport or fitness activity you can think of. Simply click here to download the app for Android, and here for iOS – or search for Hoops Connect.
Just because Hoops is out, it doesn’t mean that our work ends. In fact, it’s only just beginning. So, if you want to keep up with how we’re driving the app forwards, click here to subscribe to our emails, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Medium and even on Spotify. We’re everywhere, and hopefully we’ll be on your phone soon too!