Women’s Lacrosse in China Helps Players and Coaches Alike Develop Their Skills

by Project Pengyou on March 15th, 2017   863 views

Coaching a sports team is something I never imagined doing when I first moved to China – who knew that lacrosse had even made it out to the Middle Kingdom? Yet, here I stand three years in as the Coach of the Chinese National Women’s Lacrosse team.

This post was written by former Pengyou intern, Morgan Banaszek, describing her experiences with the Chinese women’s Lacrosse Team.


 

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Coaching a sports team is something I never imagined doing when I first moved to China – who knew that lacrosse had even made it out to the Middle Kingdom? Yet, here I stand three years in as the Coach of the Chinese National Women’s Lacrosse team.

Cross(e)-Cultural Differences


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The Chinese women’s lacrosse team

It has not been the easiest of journeys. When moving abroad, you are always told that you will experience culture shock, but that didn’t happen for me, at least not initially. Of course I was surprised by many differences between Chinese life and my own, but I had mentally prepared myself to observe these differences. However, I was less prepared to live them.

During the first lacrosse practice I watched in Shanghai, the shock finally hit me. The sporting culture was like nothing I had grown up with. Players didn’t wear athletic clothing, there was no structure to practice, no time limits on water breaks, no sprints, and minimal time spent actually playing lacrosse. Practices lasted for four hours, and the players seemed content and interested just to learn more about the sport. Despite the challenges, I saw that beneath that inexperience, there was potential and with regular coaching, I was excited to see an opportunity for truly developing the women’s game in China.

 

Getting your head in the game


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Women’s lacrosse in action in China

My players and I have made compromises with the team dynamics, holding practices with Chinese characteristics. They give me everything out on the field for two hours and then we have lunch together afterwards or share funny stories through WeChat. Our love for the game is the same and it brings us together. While Team China is young and new to lacrosse, they are a passionate group of players, who in only a couple years after first picking up a stick are now playing competitively with foreign players in Beijing and Shanghai who have grown up playing it.

 

 


“Being part of the team china makes me love lacrosse more cause I am not only loving  lacrosse for the happiness it brings to me but also enjoying the pain that makes me strong enough to represent my country! What’s more important, I am so proud of everyone on our team!” – 廖庆


 

This summer, as the Coach of the Chinese National Women’s Lacrosse Team, I will bring these players to their first ever Lacrosse World Cup. The road ahead still holds many challenges and will involve endless practice, conditioning, teamwork and patience. As their coach I have the opportunity for a special experience to work with inexperienced but driven players and turn them into international lacrosse players, molding, developing and growing as a team. One player told me how Lacrosse helped grow her confidence:

“I’m Karen, an average nine-to-fiver. I tend to be quiet and do not easily open up to others, however, every time I talk about lacrosse with my friends or colleagues, I feel confident. Lacrosse has been a part of  me for six years now; through it I have grown so much and made so many new friends. Now it is as natural to me as breathing.” – 潘课文

I am very proud of my team and the progress they have made. I have watched them grow as individuals, young women, and as athletes. The skills and mental strength they develop both on the field and off of the field will serve them well wherever they go in life, and I am happy to be part of this team. I hope that in the future, many more young women who are interested in Lacrosse will have the opportunity to develop their skills, and that other foreigners will follow in my footsteps to learn as much from their team as I have from mine.


 

The Chinese Lacrosse association is not officially recognized by the Chinese Government, and as such is currently trying to independently raise enough funds to bring the women’s team to Nationals. To donate to the team, check out their Fundly page.

To learn more about China Lacrosse, visit www.chinalacrosse.com

 


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