England Lacrosse under 19 have embarked on their trip to British Columbia, Canada for the highest standard tournament in their age group. The team has trained together for more than 14 months now, with a clear focus on developing the best set of young lacrosse players that can possibly represent England.
The first thing that becomes clear as you speak to Paul Coups, England Lacrosse’s under 19 head coach, is the pride he takes in the process of developing this group of young lacrosse players. Throughout the process Coups and his right-hand-man Ryan Garnsworthy (3 world cups for Australia, 1 as captain) have focused on developing the raw talent of the young domestic players, into “performance level international sportsmen”.
There can be no denying that the lads have taken that mind-set on board, committing to not only multiple days of pitch time together each time they met, but also adding in the elements necessary to progress to the next level.
“We focused our training on squad weekends, multiple day sessions at a time rather than regular shorter practices” Coups told us “as a result we have been able to deliver as many coaching hours as any other historical England team, we’re happy with the amount of contact we’ve been able to have as a team.”
Outside of lacrosse the boys have worked with Pure Speed Academy on sprint training, received S&C coaching from a Commonwealth medallist at British Weight Lifting and even delved into Sports Psychology to find their competitive edge.
“These elements of the game will all filter through into the younger stages of the talent pathway, looked after by Martin Cragg at English Lacrosse” Coups explained.
The team’s professional attitude rung true as I pressed Coups on their opposition at the tournament.
“We’ll be concentrating on us, not our opposition” was the message coming through loud and clear. This England Lacrosse Under 19 team is one that will ensure they execute their own game plan, rather than worry about the future NCAA stars on the other side of the pitch, come national anthem time.
Coups talked more about the team’s philosophy, explaining “We’ll take the tournament one quarter, one half, one game at a time”; and I believe they will have the discipline to do that.
Finally I asked Coups to sum up what this collection of English lads had come to stand for, without hesitation he responded “PRIDE… it’s been our mantra from the start, Personal Responsibility In Delivering Excellence, I really believe they will embrace the privilege of playing for their country”.
The interview was a short one, but it left me feeling fired up for the tournament to come, the coaches and lads have put a strong team together.
Since the time of writing England Lacrosse have won their scrimmage games against Germany U19, and British Columbia College (3rd July (9-5) & 5th July (9-5))
England Lacrosse U19 step onto the pitch to play lacrosse with the people who invented it, in their opening game vs Iroquois on the 8th of July. Canada v Eng 9th July. Eng v Australia 10th July. Eng v USA 12th July. Footage will be live streamed.
News from the games will be posted here, and also on the official site. – so please try to watch and tweet your support to @EnglandU19Lax