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Sporting Schools School Yard to Sports Star: Jess Bibby

What got GWS Giants player Jess Bibby out of bed to go to school each day? Find out as she talks to Sporting Schools about her favourite memories of playing sport at school.

Do you remember your first win when you played school sport and how did it feel?

It was really exciting. I remember I was actually having a competition with my brother to see who could score the most points in the season or in a game. You know the most I ever got in a game growing up was two points - and I don’t even think I was even looking at the basket when I took the shot but I was certainly very, very, excited when it went in.

What’s your favourite memory of playing sport at school?

Being with my friends. I remember you’d sit in class with your eye on the clock, and we’d already organised that it was going to be cricket at recess. We’d have the bat, it would already be sitting by the door. The person would already be designated - you’re grabbing the bat, the next person’s grabbing the rubbish bin and then it was literally a sprint to get out to the oval. The first two out there were out to bat, the first person to grab the ball - they were bowling, and everyone else was out in the field.

That’s what got you out of bed every day to want to go to school – knowing it was cricket at recess, rounders at lunchtime, and a game of basketball in the afternoon. And it was just so much fun, that’s my recollection of being at school.

How old were you when you decided you wanted to be a professional sports player?

Yeah, look, it was probably when I was about 15 that I guess I had the lightbulb moment. I competed at the national championships and I was pretty good competing against the best kids in the country and I’d have some coaches and I guess some of my idols start talking to me and writing letters saying they were excited to get to see me play at the next level – and I’ve kept all those letters – they’ve sort of driven me throughout my career. When I’ve maybe been in a flat spot and needed a little bit of motivation, I go back to where it all first began for me and you know I was able to get a contract in the WNBL at 16 and I guess that was when I was still a wide-eyed teenager at school every day. But that’s when that sort of drive began and when I thought yep, I get a chance here to be a professional.

What are your top three tips for children about playing sport?

  1. Number one is fun. You’ve got to enjoy it. You know it’s always been fun for me.
  2. You’ve got to be dedicated. If you want to play at the elite level you’ve got to - you can’t say ‘ah I’m a bit tired today’ or ‘I’m going to go inside and play the x-box’ or whatever it is – you’ve got to be dedicated and prepared, to I guess have a little bit of consistency with your training.
  3. And the third one is, it’s a great way to live a healthy lifestyle. You know the fact that you get to – day in and day out – you know without even thinking about it, play sport. Your heart rate’s up, you’re moving about, you’re outdoors/indoors, whatever it is - it’s an opportunity to I guess kick start that healthy lifestyle.