South Korea’s fourth straight defeat… Commentator Lee Jung-chul “Shake off the anxiety”

Women’s volleyball is suffering another embarrassment. It’s already four straight losses. It is feared that the nightmare of last year’s 12 losses will be repeated.

The national women’s volleyball team, coached by Cesar Hernández González, was swept in straight sets by Canada, the United States and Thailand in Week 1 of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League (VNL) 2023 in Turkiye. Of the 16 participating nations, only South Korea and Croatia failed to win a single set, with the latter finishing the week in 15th place in the points table.

Whether it was because they weren’t warmed up or because they were overly nervous, South Korea failed to reach 20 points in the first set in all four matches, and even when they did, they couldn’t turn it around after a hard-fought deuce. When she was ahead, she couldn’t tie the knot and allowed the game to slip away. She lost the second set against Thailand 26-28 after a deuce tiebreaker, and also failed to get over the hump in the third set against Turkiye (24-26) and the second set against the United States (25-27).

SBS commentator Lee Jung-chul emphasised the need to “shake off the anxiety”. Lee is an expert in women’s volleyball, having served as the head coach of the Korean women’s national team and leading IBK to the top of the V-League.안전놀이터

“We have to play a more delicate and efficient volleyball as we are inferior in terms of power compared to Western players,” he said.

However, there were too many unforced errors. Even when the ball was coming straight at them, they couldn’t control it well enough to make a steady reception. Lee explained that it was a difference in “ball handling”. “It’s important to have a good sense of ball handling, and if it’s not developed, the next play won’t go right,” he said. “Thailand’s ball handling has improved considerably, while Japan has maintained its high standard.”

Attacking is also an issue. The steps, speed, and boldness of the attack were choppy. The ups and downs made it unnerving to be ahead. Lee emphasised the “psychological stability” of collapsing in deuce situations. “When you’re up by five points, you should be able to win the set,” he said, “but you have to shake off your anxiety. We need to have confidence in ourselves and play confidently.”

South Korea travelled to Brazil to play Brazil, Japan, Croatia and Germany in week two. Lee said, “It’s good to have a variety of players as part of the generational change. But it’s also important to get points. From week two onwards, we need to settle on our best members and stick with them, so we can build our organisation from there.”

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