‘Coach and captain also thumbs up’ Women’s volleyball team, Kim Yeon-kyung’s joining effect

‘Volleyball Empress’ Kim Yeon-kyung (35, Heungkuk Life Insurance) is invigorating the Korean women’s volleyball team. She joined as an advisor rather than a player, so she acts as a reliable supporter.

Kim Yeon-kyung returned her Taegeuk mark after the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. However, after her retirement from Kim Yeon-kyung, her national team fell into an extreme slump, including all defeats in the 2022 International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) Volleyball Nations League (VNL) and 1 win and 5 losses in the World Championship.

This year, with international competitions such as VNL, Olympic qualifiers, and Asian Games ahead, the Korea Volleyball Association commissioned Kim Yeon-kyung as an advisor to rebound. She hoped that the rich experience of Kim Yeon-kyung, who wore her Taegeuk mark for 15 years from 2006 and made the women’s volleyball 2012 London Olympics and 2020 Tokyo Olympics semifinals, be helpful to her players.

Although she has not competed in the competition yet, her Kim Yeon-kyung effect has already been revealed. Kim Yeon-kyung has been helping the national team, which has been sweating in the Jincheon Athletes Village since the 24th of last month, ahead of the 2023 VNL participation.

While head coach Cesar Hernandez has not yet joined the national team due to his team’s schedule, coach Han Yu-mi is leading the players. Coach Han took her first steps as a coach when she joined the national team, but thanks to Kim Yeon-kyung’s support, she is filling the void left by Cesar well.

In an interview with reporters before the open training held at the Jincheon National Training Center in Chungcheongbuk-do on the 16th, a coach confessed, “I started as a coach for the first time, but the coach didn’t join me right away, but I thought, ‘Can I do well?'” However, he said, “The players and advisor Kim Yeon-kyung are helping a lot. In particular, advisor Kim Yeon-kyung is helping a lot by informing us about the recent trend of volleyball in the world and giving advice on how overseas coaches train.”

Players, including captain Park Jung-ah (30, Pepper Savings Bank), still seemed awkward about being called “advisors.” Park Jung-ah laughed, “I don’t know what to call her. We call her (Kim) Yeon-kyung unnie, but I don’t know how to call her in front of many cameras.”

Park Jung-ah was able to lighten the weight of the captain’s armband a little with Kim Yeon-kyung’s joining. He said, “It helps a lot because I can talk about the difficult parts. Coach Han Yu-mi or Yeon-kyung unnie asked questions first, so I can talk easily.” “Yeonkyung unnie knows a lot of information about the players we don’t know. She explains the characteristics of the opponents, so it’s very helpful.”

Kim Yeon-kyung, who joined the national team as an advisor rather than a player, smiled and said, “It always feels good to wear a uniform with the Taegeukgi on it.” “I came to the national team after a long time and seeing the players training reminded me of the old days and gave me new feelings,” he said.

Regarding the reason for accepting the role of advisor, he said, “As a person in the volleyball world, I had a strong desire to help Korean volleyball develop further.” “I want to help the players,” he said. He continued, “Many people are still in their careers as players, but they are worried about being in charge of advisors.”

Since he is still showing his peak skills in the V-League, a question came up asking if he would ever wear the Taegeuk mark on the court again. In response, Kim Yeon-kyung replied, “I hear a lot of questions like that, but I’m thinking more about how to help them than I want to play.”

The national team has recently achieved poor results, but Kim Yeon-kyung expects that the newly joined young players will lead the rebound. Kim Ji-won (22), Moon Ji-yoon (23, GS Caltex), and Kim Da-eun (22, Heungkuk Life Insurance) put on the Taegeuk mark for the first time in their lives ahead of this competition. Kim Yeon-kyung said, “As a lot of young players came in, I was energized. They say that the atmosphere is better than last year.”

There are several international competitions ahead this year, but the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games, which will be held in September, are the most interesting. However, Kim Yeon-kyung said, “Right now, the priority is to achieve better results than last year in VNL. The first goal is to make everyone feel that they are improving.” We are preparing for it,” he said. The national team will enter the VNL schedule from the 30th prior to participating in the Asian Games.

At the Asian Games, he emphasized that we should work with the goal of winning a medal. Kim Yeon-kyung said, “The Asian Games are a tournament that all the people are interested in. I think the players should also have a different resolution.” said. She added, “I hope that I will participate in the competition with a sense of responsibility.”

But I try not to burden my juniors. Kim Yeon-kyung said, “I don’t give much advice because I think it will be a burden,” and “I know well that the players have to show more improvement than last year, even if I don’t talk about it.” She went on to praise her saying, “When I train, I can feel the strong will when I look at the atmosphere.”

After joining as an advisor this time 안전놀이터, Kim Yeon-kyung is feeling a lot of things. He said, “It’s my first time, but it’s not easy. I felt once again that I had the best time as an athlete. I’m learning a lot through the advisor. I think it will help a lot when choosing my future career path,” with a smile.

The national team will participate in the 2023 VNL, which will be held in Turkiye, Brazil and Suwon, Gyeonggi-do, from the 30th to the 2nd of July. Kim Yeon-kyung will accompany VNL Turkiye until the first week, and then partially join according to the schedule of the next day.

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