Hanwha has revived special batting practice, or “special batting”. At home, the team holds nightly batting practice after the game, and on the road, the team organizes batting practice at an off-site ballpark before the game. It’s not a one-off, but a regular practice.
It started on the 23rd of this month against KIA in Daejeon. The team won the game 9-5, but immediately after the game, a batting cage was installed on the field. Four players, Park Sang-un, Park Jung-hyun, Lee Won-seok, and Kwon Kwang-min, batted for about 40 minutes after the game. Hitting coaches Jeong Hyun-seok and Kim Nam-hyung coached the players, while head coach Choi Won-ho was on hand to watch.
“The players who don’t start don’t get enough training,” Choi said, “They get about 20-25 balls at home and 15-20 balls on the road, but that’s not enough to improve their skills. When I was coaching the Futures team, I used to do special sessions, and I tried to do that with the first team (when I took over on Nov. 11), but it was hard to change the mold in a good team atmosphere,” he said, explaining why he decided to do special sessions after two weeks in charge of the first team.
While increasing the amount of training for young players who need to improve their skills, Choi is also looking for efficiency. “When we go on the road, we’ll arrange for an off-site pitch, and the non-starters will come to the field with special batting. Even if they want to bat a few more balls before the game, there are other players there, so sometimes they look at each other. By splitting the training (locations), the players can take it a little easier. We have two batting coaches, so we can just go to one place,” he explained. Last weekend against Changwon NC, the team trained in Yongmago, near the stadium.
Hanwha was known for its special teams under Kim Sung-geun from 2015 to 2017. Known for his uncompromising training regimen, night and away special teams were routine. At that time, players who were deemed to be in need of training, whether starters or backups, veterans or rookies, were designated as special team members and practiced intensely for over an hour. At home in Daejeon, batting practice was held in three batting cages simultaneously, giving the players no time to rest.
Hanwha batting coach Jeong Hyun-seok, who experienced the special program as a player under Kim Sung-geun, said, “Back then, every player had a quota to fulfill in terms of time and volume. “It’s difficult for players who don’t play often to develop their skills in group training,” said Jeong, who also played under Kim. Through Zyta, we can talk more with the coaches and bring in different training methods, which will help the players grow.”
During Kim Sung-geun’s time, there was also a negative view of the specialty. However, it is the same specialty team now, but with a different training method, member composition, and atmosphere. “There’s nothing wrong with Coach Kim Sung-geun’s special teams,” 메이저놀이터 said Coach Jeong Hyun-seok, “and he did it because it was necessary to do so.” “The atmosphere is not as heavy now as it was then. There’s an atmosphere where players want to do more on their own,” he said, explaining the difference. Even before the official tournament, there were players who practiced indoors after games at home.
Hanwha, once known as a “dynamite” batting lineup, has long since sunk like a soggy cotton ball. They haven’t had a season with a top-five team OPS since 2009, when the dark ages began in earnest. Even this season, the bats haven’t been clicking, as the team ranks last in the league in both batting average (.220) and OPS (.614). Free agent sensation Chae Eun-sung has been struggling, but the development of younger hitters has been stunted by a slump in foreign-born Brian O’Grady. It’s been said that hard work doesn’t beat talent, but we can’t just sit on our hands. The only thing we can do right now is work hard and train.