It was wonderful to catch up with South African Men’s Hockey Team player Ryan Julius. Keep on reading to learn about his background and professional hockey career.
What position do you play in the team?
I alternate between midfielder and striker. The skill set for each position is different, so my training has to be dynamic and cover both. Currently, I am playing as a striker but in the Commonwealth Games, I will probably play in both positions.
How did you get into hockey and how long have you been playing?
I have been playing hockey since I was thirteen years old. At school a team needed a goalkeeper for their match; I was waiting for my parents to collect me so I decided to give it a go! I let in quite a few goals but I really enjoyed the sport. The next day a teacher suggested that I try an outfield position. I absolutely loved it and have been playing ever since.
Could you tell us about your training regime?
At the moment, we typically train twice a day. This involves a two-hour session in the morning and in the afternoon. We are also trying to bond as a team. We have not had the privilege of spending lots of time together since the Olympics and having that camaraderie as a united team is important, especially for big games.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I have recently completed a Business degree. I majored in Industrial Psychology and Management which was really interesting. I also enjoy spending time with my family; going hiking together or visiting the beach is wonderful.
Is this your first visit to The UK and how are you finding London?
I have previously been on holiday to London and stayed in Piccadilly Circus. London is a beautiful place and the people are relaxed and easy-going.
What would you like to achieve for your team?
As a team, we have decided to approach the Commonwealth Games one match at a time. We want to be present and enjoy the experience. We are in a good position as a team so I believe this is realistic and possible.
What is your dream?
My dream is to be a positive influence on those around me. Whatever environment I am in, I want to leave it in a better place than I found it.
Do you have any advice for our pupils, especially those who may want to go into professional sports?
In school, I was very fixated on sports. In hindsight, I realise that school is very important because if you succeed academically it makes sports less stressful. Playing professional sports is wonderful but it does have a shelf life. I would advise pupils to have something else to fall back on.