’30 Years of Experience’ Coach Lotte’s Bitter Words “Exercise is not about fun and happiness, it’s about seriousness and pain to win”
Not so the 30-year veteran coach. Kim Tae-hyung (56), the bench coach who will assist new Lotte Giants manager Kim Tae-hyung (66) at close quarters, had some affectionate words for the players.
“Now that manager Kim Tae-hyung is here, we need to be unified around him, have a hierarchy, become one, advise each other, and express everything on the field so that (the ranking) can go up,” Kim told Star News at the Sangdong Baseball Stadium in Gimhae, Gyeongnam, where Lotte’s final training camp is underway.
After retiring as a player, Kim began coaching at OB in 1993 and remained active on the field until he stepped down from Hanwha in 2017. He has been coaching for 30 years. Recognized for his work on the basepaths, Kim served as Doosan’s head coach for seven years starting in 2004, taking over for the remainder of the season when Kim Kyung-moon stepped down in 2011. He went on to manage the Goyang Wonders, an independent baseball team, before becoming the head coach of Hanwha in 2015, where he stayed until Kim stepped down.
After being away from the field for a while, Coach Kim had a long history with the OB-Dusan Bears, having played with him as a fellow player (1990-1992), coach and player (1993-2001), and fellow coach (2002-2011). So when Kim, who was named the 21st head coach of Lotte last month, reached out and asked for his help, the former Ilgukhoe chairman readily accepted.
“I believe that a worm must eat pine needles,” said Kim, who returned to the field in 2017 after six years away from Hanwha. I’ve loved baseball my whole life, since I was in the fifth grade. I’m happy just to be on the field,” he said, adding, “I can’t waste this time with young players. I’m determined to do my best to help Lotte succeed, even if it’s just a little bit.”
While common in the major leagues, the “bench coach” position, which some teams such as Hanwha and SSG have introduced in the KBO, is considered the manager’s right-hand man. In the big leagues, it’s usually a managerial position. It was a perfect fit for Kim, who has a long history as a head coach and has even been an acting head coach. “The role of bench coach is not yet active in Korea. Not all teams have them,” says Kim. “I think the role of a bench coach is to be able to breathe with people who have experience or seniority as there are many young leaders,” he said. “I think it’s a role of an instructor who works like a head coach, but fills in the gaps in the middle.” 아톰카지노
On this day, however, Kim spent most of his time throwing affectionate barbs at his players. “Lotte was actually a roller coaster,” he said, referring to the difference between good and bad times. It’s true that we didn’t meet expectations compared to the passionate side of the fans,” he diagnosed. “He said, “I liked the fans’ enthusiasm and cheerfulness, but from the outside, I felt that we were not united.” He revealed his thoughts. “If we become a team that can bridge the gap between each other, we will become a team that can play in the top tier, even though we are still a prestigious club,” he said.
He also expressed his sympathy for the young players. Earlier, after meeting with the team, Kim told reporters, “What I always want to tell the players who have been backups and then played in the first team is that they only have the idea that they will do better the next year than now. Even when I was at Doosan, I talked to some of the players and I told them that it’s an absolute illusion to think, ‘I’m going to be better than this next year,'” he said. “They (young players) have to be really prepared,” he said. Coach Kim, who agreed that the coach made a good point, said, “Nowadays, you’re a star just by stepping out on the field. We shouldn’t use the word ‘star’ to describe young players. Like Lee Dae-ho, you have to build up your achievements over the years to be recognized,” he pointed out. “That’s why I tell my players, ‘Erase your name. You have to be a player that fans can recognize just by watching you play, even if they don’t see it.”
Kim’s values also align with Coach Kim’s. “I’ve been watching players for a long time, but there are many players who only think about it in their heads when they have a slump. I want to emphasize that you should feel it with your body, not just your head.” Coach Kim also said, “Thanks to the development of media such as YouTube, we know a lot about Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball. However, there is a lack of the process of creating one’s own while taking action.” “Exercise is not a fun and happy thing. It has to be serious and painful, and you can’t beat your opponent by training in a dream all the time.” “You can’t help but lose to someone who is better than you. To beat them, you have to prepare as much as they do.”
Coach Kim went on to emphasize the importance of practice. “You don’t need to practice a lot. It’s not about how long you practice, it’s about how focused you are,” he said, adding, “You have to get to the point where you can play without thinking.” Coach Kim likens practice to “hammock snow. It falls silently all night, but it’s hard to get up in the morning and clear the snow. “It’s only effective if you learn with the right attitude. If you practice with bad habits, it’s hard to fix them later.”
Kim also talked about the importance of repaying fans for their love. “In the past, there was a lot of fuss over a no-hitter (Jang Ho-yeon in 1988),” he said, “Of course, you shouldn’t go overboard like that, but it means that the interest and passion is high.” “Professional baseball develops when cities that are passionate about baseball do well,” Kim said. “Fans are impatient. If you do well this year, they won’t do well next year,” he said, emphasizing the importance of consistency.
Coach Kim didn’t stop at words. Throughout the training, he kept the atmosphere high by holding a fungo bat and hitting fungoes at the players, as well as giving them advice. With the enthusiasm of a leader who can bridge the gap, Lotte trained with a fiery atmosphere.