Starting the season with a trophy is not something that happens for every year, but that’s just what LSE Men’s Hockey have done. The rest of London fell at their feet in the Lee Valley London Universities Cup last weekend, marking a clear improvement in the team’s fortunes.
Two years ago the team barely had six people regularly training and were relegated from BUCS South Eastern Conference 2B. What happened next was nothing short of extraordinary. With a turn of new leadership in the club, the focus of the team shifted from socials to playing and this new approach reaped benefits on the pitch. The team went unbeaten in the league scoring a record sixty six goals and conceding a mere ten.
The Men’s Hockey 1st XI pioneered the sporting performance focus that is now spreading across the “major” sports teams at LSE. The top sports teams at LSE should always be performance focused.
Their innovative approach to LSE sport did not stop there, the team (along with the Women’s 1st XI) organised a Hockey Development Tour to Amsterdam with the support of the LSE Annual Fund. This trip provided an opportunity for the teams to have a full on hockey experience that most would have never thought possible. They trained or played matches for close to eighteen hours over the three days, with more staying behind during lunch hours for extra coaching. The trip didn’t just bring everyone closer together, but also improved the hockey playing ability of every single member of the 16 strong squad.
The benefits of the tour are already being felt at the start of this season. The Lee Valley London Universities Cup is a competition that LSE have traditionally come second in, often losing out on goal difference. This year the team rallied and overcame an early draw against RUMS to beat Barts and Queen Mary convincingly.
What’s also encouraging for the team is that they have taken in a strong crop of Freshers. The club as a whole had over thirty new players come to trials, providing a solid basis for all teams to improve. The club has also hired a new coach (yes the bald guy in the photo), who is sure to bring the 1st XI to new heights.
All in all it seems like the Men’s Hockey 1st XI are in a very good position to push on a challenge for the top of the league this season. Their push for performance and a willingness to innovate and improve is why they are this week’s Beaver Team of the Week.
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