We caught up with Jake Ball this week to talk lockdown, family time and the goals ahead.
So Jake, how are you feeling after shoulder surgery before lockdown?
JB: “I am feeling really good. I had my repair done before the lockdown, that was interesting, I did all my rehab and stuff and it’s been great to be back in and back playing. The team here have been brilliant, sending me through rehab exercises, I had to think a bit outside the box with bags of rice and a couple of other bits just because a lot of the exercises needed to be low weight so I was a bit limited with the equipment and stuff, but there was plenty of talk from the medical team here and it really helped me get through.”
How did lockdown help you mentally and physically?
JB: “You get a long period when you are not getting bashed around, but on the flip side you lose a bit of body hardness which makes it important you have some games to take the knocks and bumps. It is also freshness for your mind. There is a lot of pressure in the international game which takes its toll emotionally, more so than your body. For me it was nice to spend as much time as I got with my family. I have three little ones with another one on the way. I got to spend a lot more time with them than I ever really have; with the World Cup and everything going on I haven’t been home a lot.”
How strange is it coming into the new season?
JB: “Look, it is very odd. We don’t really know much about what is going on with the South African teams, whether they are going to be playing I am sure that will become clear in the coming months, depending on what goes on with Covid. At the Scarlets it is about playing what is in front of us, starting with Munster on Saturday which is a tough one and we need to start well.”
How are dealing with no crowds?
JB: “It is very strange when you run out and there is no noise, no cheering, but we are all professionals and you find a way of motivating yourself and working around that.”
What are your personal goals?
JB: “50 Wales caps is the next big target for me and also pushing on in the lock department. It is quite clear there are a pool of world locks in the top tier of the game and I am a big believer that for a lot of those guys it is maybe one or two things a half that they do that is extra. That is an aim for me, producing one or two things in each half that stand out on top of what I already do.