Jacob Hookem has praised the Hull FC Sports College for helping him develop as a young athlete.
The teenage halfback won the club’s Academy Player of the Year award this season, but in tandem with his training, Hookem also studies at the sports college.
Despite debuting at Super League level for the Black & Whites and featuring for Yorkshire Academy in 2021, Hookem remains grounded and committed to studying hard at the college, which is based at the Centre of Excellence.
“I find studying at the sports college really useful because the people who coach us are the same people who teach us in the classroom, so they understand our schedules really well,” Hookem said.
“I completed my BTEC Sport Level 3 recently and now I’ve just moved onto a PT course, which I will hopefully be able to complete by the end of this year.
“Currently, my Wednesdays are dedicated to studying my PT course at the Centre of Excellence. There’s a fair bit of practical work in the gym and there’s some classroom-based exercises.
“It helps with my own personal training as an athlete, learning about the body in more detail. I’m gaining knowledge of training techniques and how to develop as an athlete, so it works hand-in-hand with what I want to become.
“What I’ve found from studying here is that it’s very practical, so it’s good for someone like myself who has aspirations to become an athlete.
“Obviously there is still a classroom-based element to the course, which is understandable! But a lot of it is practical, which makes it really fun and entertaining.”
Hookem was one of a select group of academy players invited to train with the first team squad for pre-season ahead of the 2021 campaign.
He continued training with Brett Hodgson’s squad throughout the season, whilst continuing to study at the sports college.
And Hookem has spoken about how beneficial the experience of spending a year with the first-team squad has been for him.
“It’s been really good. It was a pretty big step up for me to go down training with the first team squad back in pre-season last year,” he explained.
“I feel like that has really developed me a lot. Often, I look back to where I was when I started and where I am now and I feel like I have come on leaps and bounds.
“That’s mainly thanks to the quality of coaches that we have got here at Hull FC. The players have played a big part in nurturing us young lads, as well.
“And for three of us to debut this year – that was brilliant. It just shows that clear pathway from the academy up to the first team, which is really good for the club.”
Having played a key role for the club’s Academy in 2021, Hookem will strive to be a regular in the Reserves team in 2022.
The Reserves Championship will return in 2022, meaning the age restriction to feature at academy level will return to Under 18s.
But that may not necessarily be a bad thing for Hookem, as he makes it his ambition to challenge himself against older players.
“Primarily, I would like to see myself in the reserves squad on a frequent basis,” he said.
“I’d like to continue learning my trade at that level for a short while, potentially taking on some Super League level players.
“A goal I have set myself is to be back in the first team, hopefully making some more appearances.
“But primarily I’m looking forward to the challenge of reserves in 2022. Before the season was cut short because of Covid in 2020, I played in a couple of the reserves games and I found the experience really valuable.”
If you are interested in joining the Hull FC Sports College for the 2022/23 academic year, you can take a look around at our open evening on Tuesday 26th October.
Full open evening details are below:
Where: Hull FC Centre of Excellence, Pickering Road, Hull, HU4 7AB
When: Tuesday 26th October 2021
Time: 6.00pm – 9.00pm
To register your interest and to book a slot with a member of the Centre of Excellence staff please email email@example.com with your name, date of birth and preferred time slot.
For those who live further afield, they can book a Zoom meeting with a member of our team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.