Yusuke Takeda of the men’s lacrosse team placed 5th in the World Championships as a representative of Japan

Building on small achievements leads to great confidence.

Yusuke Takeda, a fourth-year student in the Department of Economics at the Faculty of Economics, achieved a brilliant 5th place finish as a member of the Japanese national team at the Men’s Under-21 Lacrosse World Championships held in Ireland in August. He has been playing for less than two years and won a place on the Japanese national team and is leading his team as the captain of the men’s lacrosse team in the Athletic Association. To find out what drives him, we caught up with him.

Mr. Takeda says difficulties and frustrations make him stronger.
Photo by JLA

-What was your childhood/boyhood like?

In a word, I was a naughty boy. I was very curious though and tried everything from swimming, tennis, badminton, to Japanese chess. I was the type of boy who would lose track of time and get lost in activities that I found fun. I was so absorbed in playing video games that I stayed a week at a friend’s house, forgot to go home. During my junior and senior high school years, I was a basketball player, chasing the ball from morning till the end of the day.

-What made you start playing lacrosse?

It was by chance that I reluctantly accompanied a friend who was interested in the lacrosse team at a welcome event for newly enrolled student in April 2007. Without him I would have had nothing to do with lacrosse. At a practice session I happened to attend, I got my first taste of a tool called a cross and was fascinated by the depth of the game and the variety of techniques that could be performed with just one tool. Moreover, I was motivated by the fact that many people start playing lacrosse at university, and depending on how hard we worked, to be the best in Japan or represent Japan in the national team was not out of the reach.

-How did you approach lacrosse before becoming a member of the national team?

I devoted myself in practice and steadily improved, but all was not well. Despite a good performance in the rookie tournament, finishing third in the Kanto region, I experienced my first setback when I was not called up to represent Japan in the under-19 national team. I was very disappointed that I was not recognized even though I achieved such results. I made up my mind that I would definitely make it the next round and without any time to be discouraged, I just thoroughly devoted myself. We watched our play over and over again on the video to see what went well and what didn’t. On off days, we participated in practices at other universities and studied a wide variety of techniques and styles of play.

Aiming for goal by skillfully manipulating a tool called a cross (center photo)
Photo by JLA

-As captain of the men’s lacrosse team, how did you feel about leading the team?
The big responsibility of being the captain of a club of 80 members was an opportunity for me to grow as a person. First, I felt that I had to practice more than anyone else and know more about lacrosse than the rest. Then, when I sensed a disharmony within the team, I faced each member individually, shared my vision, and encouraged. I believe that by entrusting my colleagues with sense of trust, I was able to enhance a sense of ownership in each member and create a sense of unity for the team in pursuit of high goals.

-The teamwork and dedication to the team sport of lacrosse has earned him a spot on the national team and fifth place at the World Championships, both of which were achieved at the preliminary round, where elite players from all over Japan gathered. What is the driving force behind this achievement?

It’s simple, but I want to be the coolest guy around! I always think if there was someone I admired, how would he act? I have always compared my ideal image with my own. Even when at a time of facing difficulties and frustrations, I have always been believed that I can overcome. I do not neglect even what seem to be trivial matters and I believe that the building of small successes gives me confidence and motivates me to take on bigger challenges.

Sophia University

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