Ying Wa College’s handball stars and twin brothers Alan Kan Yik-fai and Andy Kan Yik-man, 18, deny they can read each other’s minds. But when they play for the same team, they can be a powerful force.
Elder brother and left back Alan told Young Post that he differs vastly from playmaker Andy. Alan is good at shooting and quick attacks, whereas Andy uses a range of tactics to set up his brother and other team members.
“We have different styles, so we can overcome each other’s limitations,” says Alan. “Andy’s game plans always work well and he offers many scoring opportunities for shooters. His basic techniques, such as passing and footwork, are solid, too. I focus more on speed and attack. We complement each other and fulfils the needs of our team.”
The most important thing, the brothers say, is to stay focused. “If Alan is too fast and we aren’t keeping up with him, I need to tell him what’s wrong so he can adjust his speed,” says Andy. “When Alan is impulsive, I also try to calm him down. But if I’m not able to cope with the pressure, he asks me to take a deep breath. We mentally support each other. I think this is how we built our brotherhood.”
Alan was named Most Valuable Player in last year’s All Hong Kong Schools Jing Ying Handball Tournament. But Andy wasn’t envious of his brother’s achievement. “He’s an outstanding left back and he always shoots accurately,” says Andy.
Alan says his shooting techniques are based on footwork. “You need to move faster, and this requires foot strength. I need to work on my footwork,” he says. “Our strategies are also based on quick attacks. Andy, for example, pretends to pass the ball to a right back, but actually he gives it to me. This tactic creates more space on the left side, so I have more shooting angle options.”
The twin brothers have set their sights on helping their school win the Jing Ying Handball Tournament, which will be held from February 18 to March 25. Their toughest opponents will be Ho Lap College (Sponsored by Sik Sik Yuen), they say.
Ho Lap College (HLC) have shown “dramatic improvement” over the past year, beating seven schools to win the Division One Grade A Boys’ Inter-School Handball Competition 2016-2017. Although Ying Wa College came second, the brothers are hopeful they can beat HLC in the Jing Ying tournament.
“We suffered a 12-14 loss in round robin play against HLC [in the inter-school competition]. Both sides were very physical and we had a very close match. We hope to improve our techniques. HLC are well-known for their physical strength, so the only thing we can compete with them is to be faster and more agile,” says Alan.
Who is your favourite athlete?
Alan: American basketball star Kobe Bryant. When he started his sports career, he didn’t push himself too hard. This attitude helped him avoid many injuries. He’s also a good team player – like basketball, handball requires a high level of teamwork.
What food would you never give up?
Alan: Steak. Handball players need a lot of stamina. Steak is full of protein which gives me energy.
Which fictional character would you choose as your teammate?
Alan: Peter Pan. With his ability to fly, he would be able to see the whole sports ground and tell me in which direction I can attack and shoot the ball.
What song title best describes you when you’re playing your sport?
Andy: The Script’s Hall of Fame. Its first line – “You could be the greatest” – reminds me that we shouldn’t look down on ourselves. The song gives me the strength to face challenges.
If you could have the abilities of any animal for one competition, which one would you choose and why?
Andy: A cheetah. I would want their powerful legs and running skills, so I could be fast enough to elude my opponents.