Editor’s Note: Let’s all welcome Mali McHugh, current High Performance Program team member, to the stage. Along with the Hong Kong Lacrosse Association, Mali will continue to construct for us the greater picture that is the Hong Kong Lacrosse scene.
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The Hong Kong Lacrosse High Performance Program (HPP) Men’s team competed in the Berlin Open against 13 other European teams in early June. The tournament was challenging but Hong Kong achieved 8th place out of 14.
Although they did not win the whole tournament, it was still a huge success for Hong Kong’s HPP, which aims to train and develop potential players for the U19 Men’s World Lacrosse Championships and 2018 World Lacrosse Championship.
“HK lacrosse keeps gaining global exposure and this allows our players to taste competition with European style of plays and learn from them” says Jovi, Assistant Coach – HPP men’s team.
Everyone came in with open minds ready to test their skills against some top European teams and they came back with much more experience and a taste of the differences in Hong Kong and European lacrosse play.
“I felt the teams we faced in this tournament are more athletic, strong and have good lacrosse skills” – Nathan, HPP player.
Competing against European teams was no easy task for Hong Kong.
“In Europe, everyone is bigger than us… NEVER step back with the huge size difference!” – Muji, HPP player.
The Asian team is not as tall and big as the Europeans. Brute strength would not be able to get them far so Hong Kong had to rely on the other components.
“Our speed, quickness and team systems allow us to compete against those better teams,” – Jovi.
Hong Kong used fast feet, skill, and strategy in order to hold their own and gain the upper hand against the much larger Europeans.
Though smaller, the Hong Kong team is still tough and fearless. If knocked over, they would just bounce right back with twice the zeal.
In their game against Latvia, Hong Kong found themselves playing poorly in the first half. By half time they regained their morale and fought harder and better in the second half. Even though they were losing, Hong Kong never gave up, they persisted, determined to play their best and gain the most out of the game.
“This experience made me gain confidence,” – Nathan.
They got to test strategies on teams and learned what worked and what did not. Even though practice is essential for becoming a great player, the experience of a tournament builds on the confidence and level of the player.
After the tournament, the Hong Kong Men’s team returned home with better knowledge and a new list of goals upon reflection.
“Our team would need to improve competitiveness against these bigger bodies and sharpen our edges in skills, smart execution and the aggressive mindset,” – Jovi.
Now they can work on developing those areas as they prepare for the Asia Pacific Lacrosse Championship and the World Lacrosse Championships.
While the men’s team travelled to Berlin, Hong Kong’s High Performance Program (HPP) women’s team went to Perth, Australia to train in early June. It was a great opportunity for them to witness the high level play in the National State Championship.
The trip’s purpose was to prepare the HPP women’s team for the upcoming Asia Pacific Lacrosse Championship and the 2017 Women’s Lacrosse World Cup.
The training in Perth was a good experience for the HPP women’s team.
“It was definitely an eye opener for the players” – HPP women’s team coach.
They were able to observe the elite Australian players and then apply new knowledge in their practices right away. The Australians showed remarkable stick skills and amazing athleticism.
The HPP team was able to meet and get some tips from more experienced world level players like Sue McSolvin; who has represented Australia at 6 World Cup events. The Perth training trip was a great chance for Hong Kong’s HPP women’s team to learn how high standard teams play.
Along with observing other teams in the Australian Championship, the Hong Kong players also were able to get a feel of how the team schedule would be like in big tournaments.
The HPP team would like to give a special thanks to Australia Lacrosse Association, Lacrosse WA, Subiaco Lacrosse Club, and Wembley Lacrosse Club for their help and hospitality. Without their support the HPP women’s team would not have been able to make the most out of this eye-opening trip.