Here at Hoops we’re all about helping you to get into sport and fitness. But as much as we’re working to take the effort out of organising your sports life, you need the inspiration to get out of the house and into a changing room. So we’ve gone out and spoken to high-profile figures from the world of sport and fitness, to find out what motivates them.
And who better to get the ball rolling than Hoops brand ambassador and Manchester Giants baller Richard Bell?
Some people look like they are built for the sport they excel in.
Mike Tyson was a short yet powerful ball of aggression, designed for hurting bigger men. West Indian fast bowler Michael Holding was surely sculpted with no other intention than propelling cricket balls at dangerously fast speeds.
Richard Bell falls squarely into this category. His athletic frame stretches to 6’9”. If you had to guess his sport, basketball would be in your top one.
But there’s more to the power forward’s game than the average big man. He shoots threes and stretches defences. And a clue to why is revealed within a couple of minutes of chatting to the 25-year-old.
“I played basketball before I was tall – I was never really that tall until my last couple of years of secondary school and then I just shot up about five inches in a year!” he told Hoops.
“I loved the game way before I was tall enough to think about going professional or anything like that.”
Indeed, thoughts of playing professional didn’t come before Bell had achieved his first goal – playing at US college level for Division One team Nevada, and Division Two’s Clayton State.
Not bad achievements for a lad who was first taken to a leisure centre in West Sussex by his mother when he was 10, and was still playing football – in net of course – until the age of 13.
And Bell insisted that getting into sport at a young age is “hugely important” for young people – not just for nurturing sporting talent in case of sudden growth spurts, but for honing character as well.
“Sport is amazing for anybody to get into – not just whether you’re good at it or not, it’s about building skills that you need in life: work ethic, dedication, persistence, teamwork,” he said.
“Sport is hugely important, and if you can get into at a young age is hugely beneficial. But it’s never too late to pick up a sport or hobby.
“Even if you’re doing so at a later age, the results can only be beneficial to your life.”
Basketball may not have the following in Britain that it enjoys in the US and certain European countries, but it is certainly growing in popularity.
— Hoops Connect (@Hoops_App) January 20, 2017
Bell – who is currently enjoying an impressive rookie season with the Giants – may not be completely unbiased, but he is confident that if people give his sport a chance, they are sure to fall in love with it.
“In my opinion it is the greatest game there is. It is the complete game of mind and body combined,” he said.
“You’re using every aspect of your body and you’re thinking the whole time. It’s a fast game, it’s fun to play, it’s exciting – that’s why I grew up loving it.
“You have to have good hand-eye coordination – you have to be able to catch a ball! But what I love about basketball is it is a sport that will reward you for your hard work.
“No matter how skilled you are naturally or how gifted you are athletically, if you put the work in and the time in the game will reward you and you will become a better play. Basketball is completely about how much you put into it, that’s how much you’ll take out of it.”
That’s all very well and good coming from a professional, but how easy is it for a beginner to start-out?
“Look in your local area, find your local teams, find out when they have a practice and just try and get down there and get involved,” he said.
“Even if you’re just trying to work out how you feel about the game, there’s always a court somewhere, just get a ball and get a feel for it for free!”
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.
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