It’s a staple of many childhoods. We’ve all spent endless hours in our backyards attempting crazy trick shot’s, honing unconventional skills and messing around to see just what we’re capable of. For 23-year-old Jed Hockin, his trick shot abilities have helped him rise to fame on social media. With almost one million followers on TikTok and 380,000 on Instagram, Jed knows a thing or two about ball skills. Now he’s searching for Australia’s next best football juggler.
Like many others’, Jed grew up playing sport. “I first signed up when I was about 9 years old to play soccer. Ever since then I fell in love with it.” A childhood spent practicing his moves and watching the likes of Ronaldo, Messi and Neymar inspired him to test his own skills as a teenager and to share them online. Jed went viral. His crazy skills earned him international attention and a massive social media following.
To celebrate the 2022 World Cup, Jed’s partnering with The Star Sydney for a kick-up challenge with a major prize. The winner of The Star’s kick-up challenge will receive a VIP game booth during the World Cup finals, a $500 voucher and up to $10,000 for a trip to a football destination anywhere in the world. “We’re trying to get everyone involved. All you have to do is just do your best trick or skill and submit it online,” said Jed.
With a massive prize on the line, you only need to share their most creative ball juggling trick on Instagram. Entrants have until December 2nd to share their trick and must tag @247_SportsBar, @TheStarSydney and use the hashtag #thestarkickupchallenge.
You don’t necessarily need skills like Jed to win, the key is creativity. As Jed says, “If you’re really good at skills, you could do a crazy skill trick. Maybe if you’re not so good at tricks so you dress up, just get as creative as you can.” Costumes and theatrics are welcomed, with Jed’s personal idea of impersonating a Socceroos legend, “You could dress up as someone like Timmy Cahill and punch the corner flag.”
Whether you’re keen on the Star’s challenge, or you just want to impress your friend’s during the World Cup, Jed has some tips to help improve your skills. To master your juggling, Jed says to focus on your coordination and reflexes. He believes staying focused and in tune with the ball is the key to keeping it in the air.
It’s not all about keeping your eye on the ball, you also need to focus on yourself. “Balance is a massive thing. You spend most of the time on one leg and you’ve got to stay nice and still during the tricks,” said Jed. Another attribute that many forget is fitness, “You have to have a lot of stamina and do a lot of running with some of these tricks.”
If you’ve practiced juggling all your life but still can’t get it, Jed has one piece of advice that stands above all others, “My best tip would be to keep on practicing. Even if that’s only 20 to 30 minutes a day, you will get better.” It’s not all about the skills either. Being creative and having fun is what it’s all about. “Not everyone is going to be able to do insane skills, but you can come up with creative ideas to do around the house or at a football pitch or with your mates,” said Jed.
While he might make it look easy, Jed’s trick’s take a long time to get right. “Sometimes they can take 5-6 days to do. And that’s maybe 3 hours every day working on it,” he said. “People don’t understand when I come up with a crazy trick shot that’s all I think about for a week.” If there’s a lesson to learn from Jed, it’s that if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.
Jed isn’t just a social media phenomenon, he’s also got four Guinness World Records to his name. The latest of which came in April, when Jed managed to juggle a rugby ball 213 times in less than a minute.
With a portfolio packed with incredible trick shots under his belt, there’s one in particular that stands out as Jed’s favourite. Earlier this year, Jed visited the training ground of one of his favourite clubs, Spanish giants Real Madrid. During the visit he pulled off “The near impossible trick shot”, which subsequently went viral with Real Madrid’s support. “They ended up sharing that and it got 1.4 million likes on their page. They’ve got a big audience, but even by their standards it was well above average,” said Jed.
Bad news for Socceroos fans, while Jed is an adamant supporter of the ‘roos, his allegiance for the World Cup is split. “My mum is actually French, so I’m half French and I’ll be supporting France as well,” he said. France, the perpetual European juggernauts and reigning World Cup champions, will face Australia in their first match of the tournament. Making it a very interesting matchup for Jed.
Jed is as pumped as any other fan for the World Cup, but rather than focusing on specific player’s Jed is looking forward to enjoying the spectacle and taking it all in. “When it comes to the World Cup, you’ve got all these teams filled with superstars. I like to just sit back and enjoy. It only comes around every four years,” he said. Jed does have high hopes for one rising star, “The Australian Garang Kuol, he will definitely be one to watch.”
If you’re thinking about entering The Star’s kick-up challenge don’t worry, you won’t be up against a pro like Jed. But Jed says it would normally be right up his alley, “I wouldn’t mind giving it a go actually. There’s a pretty great prize on offer, but I don’t think I’m allowed to unfortunately.”
To enter The Star’s kick-up challenge entrants must share a video of their best ball juggling trick to Instagram by December 2nd. Remember to tag @247_SportsBar, @TheStarSydney and use the hashtag #thestarkickupchallenge. Find more information on the challenge here: www.star.com.au/sydney/whats-on/keep-up-challenge