To support our StoryParks initiative and commitment to doing the right thing for our local communities, we're creating a series of interviews from our Society and partners to showcase a range of interesting jobs that are out there to inspire children to investigate different careers!
As well as Park Rangers, Storytellers, Library leads and ice hockey players we've caught up with Ben Youngs, Leicester Tigers and England scrum-half. Here is a day in the life of a professional rugby player.
Hi Ben, let's start right at the beginning. What was your first ever job?
I did many jobs on the farm, but my first was potato grading. Basically, all the potatoes would pass by you on a machine and we had to hand pick out the rotten ones!
Describe your job to us - what does a rugby player actually do?
A rugby player goes in every day to ‘work’ and tries to better themselves – whether that be to get fitter, faster, stronger or more skilled. We are part of a brotherhood that has to band together while striving towards trying to achieve a common goal. You’re on it 24/7 though, with a lot of stuff done outside of ‘work hours’ and at home, to ensure you’re always improving.
Who or what was your inspiration for getting into the work that you do?
I loved it straight away, when I played it as a kid, and was gripped by it. My brother was in the Leicester Tigers academy a few years before me and I really wanted to do it too.
What steps did you take to get to where you are today?
A lot of hours on the training pitch and in the gym, working hard on my skills, my strength and fitness levels. Then you have all those training sessions as a kid with your local club or school teams that help you improve and help you appreciate why our game is such a good one – because it's fun and you get to enjoy it with your friends!
Describe a typical day in your job to us...
It can depend a lot on when a game may have been in the week and how long it is before the next match, but it’s pretty typical that a day will involve meetings that include video sessions and analysing our own play and the opposition. Then we will also train on the pitch, as a team and as individuals on our specific skill sets, plus also training in the gym to improve our fitness and strength. Finally, we take recovery really seriously to ensure we are always in the best shape and prepared for the next session and next fixture.
What’s the best thing about your job?
The friendship and comradery, as well as having that opportunity to work to be elite at something – which not many people get a chance to do.
Do you have any tips for anyone wanting to be a rugby player?
You can’t underestimate how much effort and hard work goes in to it. Talent only gets you so far, the effort and attitude you have towards it gets the best to the top.
Do you have a life motto or a saying that you live by?
“Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.”
What did you want to be when you were a kid? / What would be your Plan B?
I don’t know if I had a Plan B! Why worry about Plan B if Plan A is working?!
How do you like to switch off outside of work?
I have a young family, so they dominate my time when I’m not at ‘work’ or playing and training. I think I have the balance pretty well worked out, so that when I am in at ‘work’ I am fully committed and when I am away from it, I’m tuned out completely to ensure I don’t burn out.