On February 19th, a symbolic scene came out at the Jangchung Gymnasium where the 5th round between GS Caltex and Heungkuk Life Insurance took place.
It was when Heungkuk Life Insurance’s new head coach Marcello Abundanza, who had stepped on Korean soil the day before, was about to go down from the stands to the court and greet the players. Many spectators applauded him. It didn’t discriminate between the fans of the home team and the away team. The support and anticipation sent to the coach, who has not yet made his V-League debut, was great. Since then, the media’s interest in him and the support of Heungkuk Life Insurance fans have been hot. Abundanza, who enjoys a luxury that no other V-League coach can enjoy these days, is said to be “the best fan in the world.”
The bar that was blocked in 메이저사이트the V-League leader market has been opened. Foreign directors are coming. Korean Air has already recruited two foreign coaches (Roberto Santili and Tommy Tillikainen) to win two combined championships, and is aiming for a combined championship this season as well. Heungkuk Life Insurance only played 7 games in the season, but took first place in the regular league with coach Abundanza. Aiming for the 4th combined championship in his career. Opponent is road construction. Looking at the results alone, all foreign coaches were successful. Pepper Savings Bank also had a women’s volleyball leader for over 30 years, and a founding coach resigned midway through the season, and a Korean-American college coach in his 30s (Aachen Kim) took over the position.
The recruitment of foreign coaches does not seem to stop here. OK Financial Group, which broke up with head coach Seok Jin-wook, who led the team for four years, is also moving behind the scenes. Rumors of a coach with Russian nationality circulated, and recently, coach Laurent Tilly, who leads Panasonic in the Japanese V-League, appeared. He is familiar with our volleyball players and fans through the ‘Technical Seminar Inviting Excellent Overseas Leaders’ hosted by KOVO (Korea Volleyball Federation) in June of last year. At the time, he was infected with Corona 19 and was unable to visit Korea, giving lectures online. As rumored, if OK Financial Group succeeds in recruiting, the status of the V-League will be higher in the international volleyball world. He led the French national team to a gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. If you have this level of experience, you deserve to be called a ‘master’.
Prior to that, the Korea Volleyball Association (KVA) appointed Stefano Lavarini as the women’s national team’s command tower since 2019 and achieved the semifinals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. From 2022, Cesar Hernandez, who is in charge of power analysis at Bakifbank in the Turkiye League, took over the baton. In the meantime, many fans have expressed dissatisfaction with the native leaders’ lack of research ability and outdated guidance methods, and rated foreign coaches relatively highly. They are disappointed with our volleyball, which has fallen into the Galapagos Syndrome and demand a foreign coach as a solution. Especially in the women’s division, this kind of voice is louder.
Of course, native directors will have a lot to say. They protest that the decline in the league’s skills is not only a problem for professional leaders, but also the lack of absolute numbers of volleyball prospects and the decline in the capabilities of players who have not properly mastered the basics since childhood. No matter how good a manager is, he cannot turn a weak team into a strong team overnight, he says. As evidence, our women’s national team suffered a crushing defeat in an international competition the year after the semifinals at the Olympics.
Fans do not intend to accept such claims of native directors. For them, there is only a confirmation bias, saying, ‘Indigenous coach = a group that is incompetent and unable to properly develop players’. A good example of this is KGC Ginseng Corporation. In the process of searching for a new head coach after coach Lee Young-taek, fans protested when the club chose a native coach instead of hiring a foreign coach. They requested a hearing. After the club complied with their request, they are holding a truck protest demanding the replacement of the coach who finished fourth after the season. It seems that the resignation claim did not win the consent of the majority of fans, but the club seems to be worried.
In the midst of this, the last game of the season between Heungkuk Life Insurance and Hyundai E&C, which took place on March 19, was meaningful.
It was a game that did not mean much to the two teams that had already confirmed 1st and 2nd place in the regular league, but the performance shown by the players of Heungkuk Life Insurance Bijoo stood out. Among the players in the warm-up zone, Hyeon-Joo Park, Da-Eun Kim, and Yoon-Joo Jung succeeded in 17 back attacks. It tried 41 times, and the attack success rate was 41%. Hyundai E&C was taken aback by the play that was not seen in the V-League. Also, when non-main players of the opposing team played like this, the shock was doubled. In the meantime, many coaches have been shouting “low and fast attacks,” but that game was the only thing the players actually showed on the court.
When the number of back attacks increases, the play becomes three-dimensional. Heungkuk Life Insurance’s play that day was something that can often be seen in European leagues. The reason why women’s volleyball is now being criticized for poor performance is because most of the attacks are made in the front line, which looks monotonous and even worse, is slow. Even the connection of the setter is inaccurate, so it is embarrassing to say that it is a professional team game. In the midst of this, coach Abundanja showed a new volleyball in a short period of time. I wonder how he changed the players and what kind of training method he used. Also, I would like to directly hear the factors that led to the change, whether players who can display such skills have not done so in the past or not.
It seems that not only the opposing team but also Heungkuk Life Insurance players were shocked. It is said that everyone is surprised by the new coach’s tremendous training. Foreign coaches never slack off training. In addition, unlike native coaches, there is no prejudice toward players. Since the thought of ‘that player can’t do this’ doesn’t exist from the beginning, let them be brave. He also tries to see the pros before the cons. He gives even poor players a chance and doesn’t give special attention to good players. The biggest problem in the V-League right now is that clubs and managers are swayed by some players, but foreign managers do not accept this. In that respect, the desire to recruit a foreign coach could serve as an opportunity to change our players’ amateurish thoughts and low work ethic.
Not only fans but also clubs want to recruit foreign coaches. The club, which has used many managers in its 19 years in the V-League, has a hard time finding a fresh manager who meets high expectations. To that extent, the human resources in the V-League leader market are insufficient. In that respect, foreign coaches are like a lottery ticket that has not yet been checked. Of course, the risk factor of communication difficulties should be considered. However, these days clubs are gradually changing in the direction of ‘let’s do it bravely’. Unfortunately, most of the people making these decisions are the owners.
KOVO seems to be welcoming this trend. The more famous coaches from overseas leagues come to the V-League, the higher the value of the V-League in the international volleyball world. KOVO expects that this will create a virtuous cycle structure in which better players and coaches are interested in the V-League. Recruiting foreign coaches is a crisis for native directors. In the meantime, the advantage of being able to use the same language and being able to communicate has built a strong protective barrier, but not anymore. Like foreign players and players who are gradually losing their seats in the Asian quarter, native leaders must prove their competence against foreign coaches.
Fans now highly evaluate the capabilities of foreign directors with high expectations, like director Abundanza, but their thoughts will change at any time if the results are bad. Fans are fickle. So is the club. Not all foreign coaches guarantee success. You may experience even worse failures. There are many such cases in professional baseball and professional soccer, which accepted foreign coaches before the V-League. In that respect, I’m curious about the end of the foreign director’s wind that has started blowing now. Is it a breeze or a typhoon?