At the end of may I had the privilege to work with a few different groups of students in the city of Takuapa, Phang Nga located in Southern Thailand. My original vision of this two week trip was to have a sorts of vacation for myself, escaping the doldrums of Denver now that we've just nearly made it out of winter! With some past experience in that region, I realized with the departure date coming closer there was an opportunity to work within the local demographic and use lacrosse as a growth tool. I quickly took to switching the mindset of this trip of that to an educational clinic versus a vacation. Mojitos and islands would still be around to meander, sports season at the schools was just beginning to fall into full swing!
I swiftly took off from SFO Airport enroute to Thailand. The journey there was long, four plane rides and plenty of buses. Once settled into my jungle retreat, it was time to plan and put connections into play. One of my first targets was an English Clinic operating out of the city center with nearly 60-70 students involved on a daily bases, ENG WORKSHOP. The owner Premjit Nyusin of whom I've worked closely with before allowed me to come and give a demonstration of lacrosse to about 15 students from the ages of 10-12. We talked skill, position, strategy, and what it means to me and others back home. After the two hours session, we did the same thing the next day narrowly avoiding the rain, running through throwing drills and dodge techniques. I left seven lacrosse sticks and 17 balls with this clinic to have and use for exercise sessions and breaks over the next six months.
I reached out to a teammate from the Takuapa Basketball Club who connected me with Ajarn Nut who was a head English teacher at Senakul Secondary School, the regions largest 'highschool'. She then arranged a meeting for her husband whom is the head physical education teacher and myself. We agreed to two separate clinics the following Tuesday.
The clinics went terrific as the first was an hour and half long with the 7th grade students, many whom I recognized from last year! We were granted an open space in front of the aquatics facility and I went to work. Demonstrating throwing and passing motions, as well as how the game worked. School P.E. Teacher Bill helped me on this assignment, he was the local soccer teacher. I briefed him on the sport showing him models and videos. After demonstration, we practiced a few students at a time, working up to six to eight students throwing and passing together, running, and dodging. I repeated this style clinic again with another class of 40+ students, having worked with nearly 80 students on the day. After reviewing with teacher Bill, we concluded most students latched up to the strategy and enjoyed learning the new sport. A few students approached myself afterwards stating they would like to continue playing and would want to see lacrosse part of their curriculum.
Unfortunately, I couldn't leave any equipment with the older age group students due to my equipment restraints and the amount I was able to bring with me to Thailand. I want to thank the players and parents of Highlands Ranch High School in Devner, Colorado whom equipment went to the students of Takuapa in Thailand. The clinic ENG WORKSHOP has been using the equipment since with students during breaks and even sharing with the PE teachers at the secondary school for further instruction. As an organization, we hope to strengthen these bonds in Thailand and continue to grow the sport on a youth level where we can directly impact and help in the local communities.