Jade Konkel, Scotland’s first professional female player
Jade Konkel made history by becoming the first ever female professional in Scotland. Happiness is Egg Shaped is delighted to have interviewed Jade. Not only is she a History Maker, a fearsome rugby player, but she is a fantastic lady, a role model for young players who has shown that dreams can come true.
Congratulations on being the 1st professional female player in Scotland, how does it feel now that you have had some time to think about it? How does it feel to be a HISTORY MAKER!!!?
Thank you. It still feels very surreal. It is an incredible opportunity and one I am certainly going to put all my effort into and relish the experience. I am the first, but certainly not the last and this is a very exciting step for the women’s game in Scotland. I am very honoured to be in this situation and want to be a role model to young girls playing rugby, or any sport in fact. My dream is now a reality and I want to show people that with hard work and dedication you can set goals, smash them and set some more, and strive to become a better athlete than you were yesterday.
Why rugby? Who were your role models when you were younger?
I grew up watching my parents play rugby from a young age. My mum’s team disbanded in 1994, however they’re back together now and involved in a northern league. Watching my dad play every Saturday was the highlight of my weekend and I loved how the team is your rugby family on and off the pitch. I’m obviously a huge fan of the physicality of the game and I feel in my element when training and playing.
What happened and who encouraged you to give rugby your total commitment?
My family have always played a role in this. They’ve never pushed me to do something and have been very good at enabling me to make my own decisions and follow my own passions. I knew rugby was my biggest passion and I wanted to give it my total commitment – not just for me, but for my family and everything they have done, my team mates as I want to give my all for them on the pitch and last but not least Scotland. I am very passionate and proud to play for my country so I want to dedicate a lot of time and effort into making a big impact on the women’s game.
Have you ever had a Fixed Mindset and not done something or given something another shot or given up altogether?
I am a strong believer in having a Growth Mindset. I believe it’s extremely important in order to become a better athlete. Yes, some things are not for me that I have not dedicated time to, but I’m certainly not one for giving up. I’m going to succeed because I’m crazy enough to think I can and will put in the hard work to ensure that I will give my personal best with everything that I do and strive to get better.
When have you experienced a tough time and what did you do to solve it or get through it?
I have encountered some injuries which have required months of recovery. Although these have been set backs, I strongly believe ‘relentless adversity does not shape an athlete as much as a relentless athlete shapes adversity’. Adversity builds character and I see situations like being injured or losing a match as an opening to make a strong comeback. There are always answers. When you are injured, you can work on other things. You learn to become mentally tough and understand attitude is a decision. Your attitude to a situation is what can determine success or failure. Suffering a loss, you need to realise that there are no excuses. When you go out on the pitch, the score board is 0-0. You are in control of your performance and if on the day you come away with a loss, you accept that and look at what you can change to become more effective for the next round. Success comes from the peace of mind of knowing you did everything you could on and off the pitch to give your personal best.
I missed out on selection for a camp back in 2014 and my coach said to me, ‘you can sit back and be disappointed and angry for not being selected or you can do everything possible to show them why you deserved to be there’. I’ve never looked back since. I know what I want and I’m going to do everything I can to get it.
When do you use a Growth Mindset? What examples do you have from your rugby and life?
There was never much rugby for girls up north when I was younger. Basketball was my main sport. To be where I am today with still a long road ahead, I’ve had to work hard to develop as a player. I like the ‘iceberg illusion of success’. People on the outside see the success however are usually unaware of the dedication, hard work, sacrifices, persistence and failure that you go through. I have failed at many things but this is where your growth mindset comes into play. Every athlete will experience failure but it is the ability not to dwell on the failures and focus on the positive experience to continuously move forward as failure is just feedback. When I first started out in the gym, there was lots of lifts I thought I would never be able to get right. I kept telling myself that I just hadn’t got it right yet. I now look back and see how much I have progressed. The same goes with conditioning. I really struggled when I first came into the squad and it doesn’t get easier, but you push on and see the results.
I try to learn a lot in my own time to enhance all aspects of my game. I’m really interested in strength and conditioning, nutritional and analysis aspects. I am forever learning and fully embrace the challenges that I come up against to improve as an athlete.
What do you think the future is for the women’s game in Scotland?
The game is expanding and I hope this continues. There are so many opportunities available for women in sport and there is an exciting road ahead. This is just the beginning of a new era for the women’s game in Scotland and one that I hope many girls will follow.
Who or what gives you inspiration?
Making people proud gives me inspiration, but playing rugby for my family and country is the biggest inspiration of all. Every time I pull on the thistle and sing the national anthem with my arm around my teammates, there is no place I would rather be.
Eggs – scrambled, poached or boiled? Scrambled or an omelette as you can shove all the vegetables in!
Is your Happiness Egg Shaped?
Always. More than anyone could imagine.
Happiness is Egg Shaped would like to thank Jade and wish her every success in her future, we have no doubt she will continue to improve and smash even more glass ceilings. We look forward to watching and catching up again!
Happiness is Egg Shaped