Perfect Effort Starts with a Positive Attitude
Perfect Effort Starts with a Positive Attitude
Our guest this week embodies the energy and enthusiasm you love to see in young athletes. Frisco’s Jules Hernandez, aka Jules The Rocket, is making her mark in volleyball. Some of the middle schooler’s accolades include GJNC National Champion, USAV High Performance Team, Future Select Team, and a bid to the 2021 AAU Jr Olympics Tournament for beach volleyball.
Enjoy episode #89 and other episodes of Hustle and Pro in our archives.
Show Notes[00:07] Quick hits with Jules Hernandez
[03:36] Sports Jules plays
[05:37] Playing style and position
[09:52] Accomplishment so far
Resources within this episode:
- Jules Hernandez: Instagram | Facebook (Theresa Hernandez)
- Frisco ISD Sports: Website
- Kelly Walker: Bio | Instagram @kelly_walkertexas | Twitter: @kelly_walker_TX
Connect with Lifestyle Frisco:
Welcome to Hustle & Pro, Season 2, talking sports and Frisco from youth to pro. Now here’s your host, Kelly Walker.
Welcome to today’s episode of Hustle & Pro. So, I want y’all to meet Jules Hernandez, a young volleyball player here in Frisco; making some heads turn. So, I’m excited to get to talk to you and learn about what you’re doing in volleyball. Hi, Jules.
Hi, thank you so much for having me. I’m so honored to be here.
Well, I’m excited. So, I know you’ve just been training a lot of our athletes. They come in here right off the court or the field. So, um, thank you for taking a minute to come and talk to me. Of course. Okay. So, with all of our guests, I’d like to do some quick hits to know you a little better. Okay. So, as far as your favorites – so, who do you look up to? Who are some of your favorite athletes?
Oh, okay. That’s- I have a lot of my favorite athletes. Um, Sarah Sponcil. She is a professional sand volleyball player. Okay. I really relate to her because she plays sand volleyball and I play sand volleyball. And she not lets no ball drop. And I play libero and I let no ball drop and it’s just, I relate to that. That’s awesome. And also I love April Ross because her energy on the court is just amazing. And also I think that’s my two biggest, um, athletes and those are great. Those are great. So, as far as teams in sports that you like to watch, um- I know we’re here to talk about volleyball, but are there other sports that you like to watch when you’re watching TV in different teams that you follow?
I normally just watch volleyball. That’s pretty much my main sport. Um, I don’t really watch other sports other than volleyball. So, no. Your volleyball all the time, all volleyball.Yes, but I do love- I am doing track this year and cross-country.
That’s what I love about middle school. So, we should say that you’re in middle school. And I think that’s one of the best things is when you do get to get, get to the point where you get to be a middle school athlete, a student athlete, you get to try things that you might not have otherwise realized, “Oh, I’m going to try track.” But, um, is it true that your coaches, like, encourage you to try to branch out and try the new things?
Oh, they’re like, “Oh, try basketball. Try soccer. Just do everything.” They do that to all their top athletes here. They’re just like, “Just do everything.”
And it’s so good for you because while you might not pursue that sport for very long, it’s really good to just try it and understand different skills and different things at different seasons and different sports go through and learn different coaching techniques and learn how to work with different types of, um, teammates.
Yes, definitely. Um, middle school is just a perfect time to just see, like, what you like, what you don’t like, just to try new stuff. And that’s why I’m definitely doing track and cross-country because I have good stamina. I’m really fast. And I just love running. It’s good for you then. Yeah, definitely helps. And it keeps me in shape, too, for volleyball. So, that’s really good making me faster on the court, too.
Exactly. All right. So, I always want to know what people’s favorite sports movies are. I know you’re young, you haven’t watched as many sports movies as many of us older folks like me. Do you have any favorite movies that you like that are-
I like Waterboy, um, Adam Sandler, I think that’s, that’s, um, I really liked that one because you know, everyone kind of underestimates him. And everyone’s just like, “Oh, you’re just this guy, you know. No one likes you.” But then he ends up being this amazing player with football.
That’s awesome. I don’t think I’ve had that as an answer. In fact, I know that I haven’t. But, I’ve had some other Adam Sandler, uh, sports movies, like Happy Gilmore. He’s so funny. I know. He’s great. Everything he does is great. Okay. So, I know, like I said, we’re going to talk about your volleyball world today. Um, and I wanted to know those other sports, which is great because I do think those skills help you. So, I always want to know, like from pro athletes, how far into your life did you play those other sports versus when you started focusing? So, you are at the age today where most of those athletes, their answer is, “When I was in middle school – when I was finishing middle school – when I starting high school – is when I dropped some of the other,” um, just, you know, sports that they knew they weren’t going to be kind of their main thing. Many of them do like you said and play an off season, like in track or whatever. But, um, they started to really, really hunker down and focus on that main sport, um, you know, seventh, eighth, ninth grade. So, my question to you is- it sounds like you’ve already, you know, decided that volleyball is your thing. So, when did that happen? And kind of tell me a little bit about that.
So, uh, volleyball, really started to get serious for me when my coach, Alex, um, asked me to be an alternate for his Elevens team and go to Nationals. And we won bronze medal that year. And after that, I was like, wow, this is, I love this. This is so fun. I want to do this again. And I’m going to come back this year and win. And that’s when it really kind of started to become just – I love competitiveness and the fire of it. And I was like, “I’m going to come back and win.” And that’s when it became serious.
So, help me with the math. Like, how old were you when that happened?
When my coach asked me to go, I don’t know, I was 10. Okay.
Okay. See, that’s good. That makes me feel better. I didn’t let my kids pick a one-sport to focus on or play club or competitively ’til 10 because I feel like sometimes when you do that earlier than that-
It’s just good to have to fun. Yeah. It’s just good to have fun and just try new things, make friends, you know.
Okay. So, I want to know more about you as a player, your playing style, um, your position. I know you mentioned libero earlier, so, so that one’s answered. But, um, so tell me about the Jules, The Rocket. Like, I see that hashtag or whatever when I watch your Instagram stuff. So, I feel like that is like, kind of like embodies your personality out there, right? So, tell me how that came about and how you feel like your personality.
It’s a really good story. Okay. Um, so I was on my Coach Alex’s team at the time, and this is when he asked me to be an alternate for his Elevens team. And every girl on the team had a nickname, but I didn’t. And so, we were all kind of trying to figure it out. And one, one practice, I remember I was doing really good. I was really fast on the court. I was like, crushing the ball. And then my coach, he said, “Everyone come on in, come in the huddle.” And he was like, and I thought, “Oh dear, what’s going to happen. Are we going to start running or something?” And then he said, “I know what we’re going to call Jules.” And I was just kind of, “Oh dear, please, please don’t let this be bad.” It’s a big moment finding out what your nickname is. And it was like, “Please don’t let this be bad.” And then he said, “We’re going to call her The Rocket.” And I was just, “What? What is that supposed to mean? The Rocket?” And he said, “Well, because you’re really fast on the court,” he said, “and when a rocket starts, nothing can stop them. They’re fast and they’re powerful and they make like a big boom.” Explosive is what I was thinking. Very. And he said, “And that’s exactly what Jules is. She starts up and nothing can stop her. Powerful, like a big boom.
Okay. That’s cool. So, do you love the nickname now?
I love it. It’s, I feel like it’s just going to stick with me forever.
Yeah. That’s awesome. And so that’s kind of what I, um, I, haven’t seen you play in person. We have mutual friends that have, that have talked to me about you and, um, that play with you. Um, and I’ve seen your videos. And so, yeah, like the whole nonstop, or nothing’s going to stop you, I guess, stands out because, um, like, I don’t know. I don’t know. The one-arm dig is a thing, like a thing people say, but that’s something that I’ve seen you do lots from your videos a lot. So, otherwise, like other players might just not have gone for it, right. Or let it drop. So, is that something that you know consciously that like, you will not-
I fight for every single point. We might be 20 points down, but I’m not giving up. No. And also sand volleyball really helps me get faster on the court. So now I’m like, “Oh, I can get that ball. I’m just going to try. I’m just going to lay out for it.” And my coach, um, Bill, he’s amazing. He says that, “You know what? Just give your body. Just put in the effort there. Just go for it.”
So that’s with beach or sand. You call it sand? Sand volleyball. Yes. Okay. So, I’m curious. I mean, that looks more fun. Is it? Like, if you, like, I know you don’t have to pick, but like say one day you have to choose one. Do you think you would pick beach or sand?
I feel like sand volleyball is definitely more laid back, you know. Definitely more chill, but it is much harder because it’s two against two. You get a lot of reps and in the sand, it’s really hard and stuff. But I love beach and I love court. So, I think I pick court volleyball. So, beach is always just two? It’s always just like a double situation? Two against two. There might be just some fun tournament’s four against four. But with professional it’s just two against two.
Okay. Yeah. I don’t see a lot of it, so I didn’t know. So, yeah, you got to cover a lot more ground. And then it’s harder to because your feet are in sand, so you can’t, you know, so hard to move in the sand. Wow. I bet that is fun, though. I don’t know. It just looks fun. And like you said, to just be able to like lay out and dive and go for it without fear of like, okay, I’m going to hit a hard court now, um.
I actually just started sand this summer because of COVID. I would have never done sand volleyball without COVID-19. Oh, really? Yeah. And I just tried it and it’s so fun and I love it. And I’m so happy I started.
All right. So, I read somewhere that you just got a cool, um, like accolade for sand. So, you and your teammate got a bid to the 2021 AAU Junior Olympic Tournament. That’s awesome. It’s super awesome.
So, it’s going to be in California, I think next year, next year. That’s so fun. It’s so fun. I did it with my teammate, Miley Kemp. She’s awesome. She’s really fun. And also very powerful. We’re a really good match together playing volleyball and sand.
So, you guys get to travel to California. And it’s just the two of you? I mean the two- team goes, your team goes.
Yes, because in sand volleyball, when you- it’s just two. That’s pretty much just the team, you and your partner. It’s gonna be so fun I’m so excited.
And you get to go play in a tournament. Now what, like, is this another qualifier for more Junior Olympics or is this the Junior Olympics?
Well, it pretty much is kind of the younger version of Junior Olympics.
Wow, that’s so fun. You’re going to learn a lot, even though like, you know, you say you’re new to the sport. You’re, that’s going to be really neat to get exposed.
The experience is going to be great. I’m so excited.
Okay. Then I also want to know about, I saw that you had GJNC National Champion. I don’t know what that means. What is that?
That is Girls Junior National Championships. It’s just kind of a short little saying.
Okay. I’m really interested to know about this High Performance Team that- is this the Future Select Team? What- I don’t know what that means. And, and like-
So, the Future Select Team is just kind of like getting your name out there for, like, college, coaches and for Olympic Coaches. It’s just kind of like the Junior Olympic kind-of team.
So, what was the tryout process for the, um, High Performance Team?
The tryout process, I would normally go and try out, but because of COVID I had to send in a 30 minute video of me, um, when I last played, unedited. And then, after a couple of weeks, they would tell you if you made it or not. About 60 girls around the country made it, and then I would That’s a huge deal. It’s super big, yes. Um, and then normally I would go to Nashville and, um, get coached by those coaches, the Olympic coaches and those girls. But instead, because of COVID, it was a zoom call. So based on what you play, you would do a zoom call based on that with a different coach.
Oh, so you still get to work with them. Just not physically in person.
It was really cool. I’m so glad I did it. I learned so much and I was with amazing coaches and I’m really happy. Yeah.
Probably is like, again, exposure to different recruiting possibilities in the future. Right. I mean, these are the coaches that are probably the top coaches for girls volleyball.
USA, yeah. It really puts your name out there with college coaches, with those Olympic coaches, just, yeah. Yeah. Definitely. That’s a big deal. Congrats. Thank you so much.
That’s very cool. Um, so I want to talk about like your goals, because you’re obviously young. Um, are you a seventh grader? Seventh grade, seventh grader. So, you’ve got a lot of, you got a lot of ways to go, right. Just to still get to play for your school and a lot of stuff coming up and- but you’ve already accomplished so many things. Do you set goals or do your family set goals as far as like your sports life goes?
Um, my family really supports me really well. They’re just like, “if you don’t want to do volleyball anymore, it’s okay. If you want to do this, we’ll support you.” And my dream has always been to make it to the Olympics. Oh, wow. To really get there. I just really want to make my- big name for myself. And I also want to make it to a D1 college and then take it a day at a time and then make it, hopefully make it to the Olympics.
That’s awesome. Those are some big goals. So yeah, that would be, yes. You do have goals. All right. So, you talked about the idea of never letting a ball drop earlier when you were talking about some of the icons athletes that you look up to. I’ve also read about a coach talking to you about perfect effort. So, I want to know more about that and how those sort of shape you as your player personality on the court.
Well, my coach, Alex, really brought perfect effort always, and always, to my attention. Because if you put the perfect effort in all the time, in every way you can, every day, then you really get a lot out of it. And so that’s kind of like my perfect effort to always go for that ball, even though you’re going to might be a foot away from it. Just go for it. Just give that effort. Just give the sweat. And that, that’s always just really stuck with me because hard work is really contagious on the court.
Right. I, yeah. So, I noticed that. Watching you- is that, you get really pumped up, right, when y’all win a point? I mean, all the videos of you are like you being involved in the point, too. But it feels like you are like a spark of energy, right? With your team. Do you feel that, does everybody tell you that?
Um, yes. A lot of people tell me that. I feel like I’m really very encouraging, energetic on the court and I really lift up my teammates. But I wouldn’t be able to do it without them. I have an amazing team. We’re all really energetic and we’re all there for each other and we’re all supporting each other.
Yeah. But that’s important. Like you said, it’s contagious. Because especially at your age, if you aren’t enjoying what you’re doing out there, it’s going to fizzle out, right? It’s not going to be something you look forward to doing next year and the next year and the next year. And that’s okay if it fizzles out. Something else will take its place and you’ll have passions all your life. So, whatever the passions are, you know, just have, have
Just have fun. Just do it. That’s my that’s awesome. Thanks to Nike. Just do it.
I love that. Well, fantastic. Um, is there anything else you want our, our audience to know before we wrap up here about, about playing for your school or playing for your club? I know you might want to give some shout-outs to all the people you play with.
Yes. My volleyball team. If you’re listening, I love you guys. You’re amazing. I also want to thank my coaches for supporting me. Coach Scott, Coach Alex, Coach Jason Rogers, Coach Bill, all of my coaches at Flyers. Thank you so much. I also want to thank my friends at volleyball at school. You guys are awesome. We’re really good. We have, I think two games left. Oh, good. And also want to thank my family for supporting me. They’re always really there for me and I’m really grateful for them. And I also want to thank my sister because she is a really good role model for me, teaches me like, cause she’s a really hard worker and she never gives up and she really teaches that to me. And I’m really grateful for her.
Oh, that’s sweet. Family is very important with all these sports sacrifices that you make. ‘Cause it isn’t just you, right? It’s a way beyond, it’s a whole big family deal. The players is the one doing things on the court. We’re like a whole team ourselves. Right, I mean, behind the scenes, it takes, it takes people to get you where you got to be a lot all the time, right? Your family, your family schedule probably is affected a lot by volleyball and all the different teams that you tryout in. My family, it affects everything from, like, when we eat meals and where we go on vacation and when we go, all these things. So, while that’s not like a complaint, it just factors in. It has my whole life. I mean, I was a competitive gymnast with my sisters. And so that’s, like, our life was kind of revolved around that until I switched gears, um, about your age and switched to play other sports and did middle school sports. And um, but there was always some tournament or season that our family was sort of revolving around with me and two of my sisters. It’s crazy. I will not be able to do it without them. It’s important. So, yeah. Um, you’re, you’re a lucky and blessed have a family with a good support system. Yeah. Well, thanks Jules. It was really nice to meet you. Thank you so much. I’m so honored to be here. Good. I’m glad to meet you. Um, and so I’ll be following your journey and seeing where you go. Good luck.
Thank you. ‘Bye Ms. Kelly.
And thank you for listening to this episode of Hustle & Pro. Make sure you subscribe on iTunes or wherever you listen to your podcasts and we’ll see you next week.