WISE launched a series earlier in 2022 to spotlight women’s sports team in Hong Kong. This series is not about the individual players, but about the team. What makes the team fun? Why do people like to be part of the team? Belonging, inclusion, support … There’s so much we gain from being part of a community. We believe in the power of sharing and learning about and from each other. We hope this series will serve as a little inspiration as we go about building our community in HK. Does your team want to be spotlighted? You can submit your details!

This article is written by Ailenemae. She works as a domestic helper in Hong Kong, and is also an author and writer, as well as mentor and team leader for Uplifters, and an Ambassador for Pathfinders. She wrote a book, Beyond The Sunset, a collection of poems about the stories of migrant domestic workers, and is co-founder of Migrant Writers of Hong Kong, a group of unique and talented migrant writers.

All photos in this article were provided by Hantang to Ailenemae.

Trust, communication and role identification, is what every team needs to succeed and flourish in the midst of any chaos. When these three areas are strong, success flows naturally and effectively. Trust within the team – successful communication happens when teammates can be open and honest with each other.

How and when did Hantang Netball start?

Hantang Netball Club is a local netball club committed to promoting netball in Hong Kong. Their ambition is to make netball develop on an equal footing. Their Club name combines two of the most famous and prosperous Chinese Dynasties, Han and Tang. In choosing such a name, they hope that development of netball in Hong Kong can flourish and thrive just as well. They aim to inspire and empower people through netball by creating opportunities to reach individual’s full mental and physical potential. 

As one of the few local netball clubs in Hong Kong, they devote their attention to promoting netball to the wider community. To do so, they empower teammates and focus on growing each individual player no matter their background or age to ensure players can jell and create the optimal chemistry for competitions.  

What are the team dynamics and structure?

They currently have 3 teams who all train every Saturday at the outdoor netball court in Sham Shui Po Sports Ground.  The three teams are Hantang Phoenix, Hantang Chilin and Hantang Mens. The latter is the men’s team whereas the other two are the women’s teams. All teams participate in their respective divisions of the Hong Kong Netball League (HKNL). There currently is no division for the men’s games. Hantang Phoenix plays in the top division of the league while Hantang Chilin plays in Division 2.

Being a relatively small netball club contributes to their bonding and togetherness within the club and teams. They organize many social events to ensure they can relax and have fun together off the court. Their socials often involve other forms of sport that club members participate in, such as Dragonboat, quidditch, F45, BUNS and dodgeball. And of course, there are Christmas parties!

What have they learned from being self-coached?

Unlike many teams in the netball community, they have had to self-coach (i.e., their coaches are also players on the team) in the past year. This was made easier since their members are from all walks of life. They can tap the wisdom and expertise of every one of them to plan better for trainings and games.

Self-coaching has been a fun challenge. It has helped them to understand their personalities and individual goals better and boosted their team chemistry! Putting their brains together to formulate training sessions and set plays has helped build stronger teamwork and leadership skills so they’re all for it! 

What’s a fun team story?

Since it’s hard for them to book indoor courts, they train outdoors even in wintertime. Some of them wear hoodies and pull the hood tight around their heads, only showing their eyes. From the back they all look like humpty dumpty.

What is their greatest achievement that they are proud of?

Both teams are playing in competitive divisions. Their men’s team has also topped the men’s league previously. 

As for individual players, five of their players on Hantang Phoenix recently represented Hong Kong in the Asian Netball Championship, held in Singapore from 3 to 11 September 2022. Hong Kong came in fourth place and their players showcased their skills and tenacity on the international stage. They also have two players from Hantang Chilin playing in the Hong Kong Under-21 Netball Squad.

Where do they see the team 5 years from now?

They hope to continue sticking together, being as passionate for the sport as they are now, growing and improving together as a team and as individuals. Ultimately, they want to empower more people through netball, and eventually help growing the netball community in Hong Kong. 

You can find Hantang on Facebook and Instagram.

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