‘1 win 16 losses after taking office’ Coach Cesar “It was a difficult year without Kim Yeon-kyung… I will make one team”

 “We will create an original team, not a team that relies on a superstar like Kim Yeon-kyung.”

Head coach Cesar Hernandez of the Korean women’s volleyball team attended a New Year’s press conference held on the 11th at the seminar room of the Business Center of the Korea Comics Promotion Agency in Bucheon, Gyeonggi-do, and revealed the direction of the national team this year. 

Cesar’s New Year’s press conference was originally scheduled to be held on the 14th, but it was moved forward as the schedule of Cesar’s team, Vakifbank Volleyball Team, was changed due to the earthquake in Turkiye. Director Cesar arrived in Korea on the afternoon of the 10th.

After the press conference, coach Cesar watches the match between Heungkuk Life Insurance and IBK Industrial Bank at Samsan World Gymnasium in Incheon. Afterwards, he will return to Turkey after attending the GS Caltex-KGC Ginseng Exhibition scheduled to be held at the Jangchung Gymnasium in Seoul on the 12th. 

Cesar is ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics qualification this year and the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games. 

The following is an excerpt from the New Year’s press conference with Cesar. 

– Greetings

Hello. This is Cesar Hernandez, coach of the Korean women’s volleyball team (Korean). Sorry for not being able to conduct the interview in Korean. I’m learning right now, but it’s still a bit lacking, so I’ll proceed in English. Although it was a short three days, I am grateful to the association for allowing me to come to Korea. After coming to Korea, I was able to discuss this season with the association and see the players in person. Also, I think it will be a meaningful visit to Korea as I can meet volleyball players in person.

– After taking the baton, your grades were not good with 1 win and 16 losses.

Looking at the results, of course, last year was not an easy year. To find the positive part in that, new players were selected after the retirement of the main players. It was nice to be able to provide experiences to those players. The results were not good, but the players continued to grow in the middle of the competition. What was difficult was that our players’ performances and levels were lacking on the international stage. In this coming season, we will work harder to develop our players to the next level. 

-What kind of preparations were you making for Korean volleyball in Turkiye?

In addition to the schedule of his team in Turkiye, he is also working with the national team. The team also participates in the Turkish League, Super Cup, World Club Championship and European Champions League. I’m busy, but I’m watching the video I need to lead the national team. In particular, the V-League is often played in the morning due to the time difference, so I can watch all the games. Also, the club uploads a power analysis video. We are preparing for the selection of players by printing out all the data. Just as the club uploaded the V-League video, I hope that we can share the national team game and have a cooperative relationship with each other.

-Last year, there were a lot of injuries in the national team.

Injuries are an inevitable part of the world of sports. Since it is a physical exercise, it is inevitable that it will always exist. There are many injured players in Turkey as well as many Korean players. Inevitably, he has to go along with his injuries. When an injury occurs, the goal is to help players recover as quickly as possible. If an injury occurs, we will cooperate as much as possible to help the players recover so that they can return to the court. 

-Some point out that there was a lack of communication with the V-League coaches regarding the injury. How do you plan to communicate with V-League coaches in the future?

Communication is important in human relationships. It is the same with the players and the communication with the fans through social media. Among them, the club is a relationship that needs to communicate closely in cooperation. I will work with an open mind in the future, but I look forward to smoother communication with the help of the Director of the Performance Improvement Committee. I lack experience, but I will try to communicate with the director. 

-What kind of volleyball do you think the Korean women’s volleyball team should play?

International volleyball has to go in the direction it wants to go. Overall, fast and powerful volleyball is a global trend. Korea should do the same. Among them, physique, technique, tactics, etc. should be followed in line with the international trend. In tactics, the setter plays a little faster volleyball and attacks more powerfully, but a lot of tactical training is needed to make a customized attack according to the situation. 

-What is the most important competition this year?

The Olympics are the most important competition in sports. My goal is to do well in the Olympic qualifiers so that I can go straight to the competition. The Asian Games, like the Olympics, are held once every four years, and I know that they are very important events in Asia. The Asian Games are considered as important as the Olympic qualifiers. In addition, the Asian Championships are held right before the Olympic qualifying rounds, so it is good to check the performance. Among the Asian teams, I will do my best to reach the final and win a medal. VNL is also important because it is a tournament where ranking points are awarded. Ranking points are the second way to qualify for the Olympics.

-How will you deal with the retirement of key players such as Kim Yeon-kyung, Kim Su-ji, and Yang Hyo-jin?

The absence of Kim Yeon-kyung, the best player in volleyball history, and the absence of players who have been together for a long time like Kim Su-ji and Yang Hyo-jin, last year was a year that faced the reality of Korean volleyball. That’s why it was difficult. In the future, Korea should be made into a team that can put pressure on the opposing teams by uniting as a team rather than relying on one superstar like Kim Yeon-kyung.

– What is the main purpose of this visit?

The most important thing is that you can come and see the V-League season in person. It is also a goal to have a meeting with the association on how to proceed with the national team plan this year. I also want to understand how the V-League works by meeting Korean volleyball players, watching matches, having direct conversations with the players, and meeting the coaches. In order to do that, it is important to come and communicate directly. Although it was a short period of time, I am grateful to the association for helping me come. I hope there will be a place where I can directly communicate and face-to-face with the media and fans. 

-What is the shortcut for Korean volleyball to reach the world level?

It is not easy to raise the level with only a short period of calling for the national team. Still, in order to increase competitiveness on the international stage, we have no choice but to follow that direction. There are teams that are competitive even if they are not tall and powerful like European players such as Serbia and Italy. Like Japan and Thailand. I will try to follow that style. But we also have strengths. While following the Japanese and Thai styles, we have to incorporate the strengths of Korea to create our own style. 

-I understand that you returned home early due to the earthquake in Turkey and mourned the damage on social media. How is the local situation?

First of all, thank you for asking about the situation in Turkey. The local area is in a difficult situation due to the earthquake, and Istanbul, where I was, was far from the earthquake, but it is very difficult because there are many people related to it. There have been many deaths, and there are many people who have lost everything, so it is difficult for all of us now. I know that the whole world is helping to overcome this situation. Spain, my home country, is also providing aid, and I know that Kim Yeon-kyung is also doing fundraising activities in Korea. I need help. I hope you will pray a lot for Türkiye.  바카라

-Which part do you plan to focus on while watching the V-League?

Today’s game is a game where Heungkuk Life Insurance can beat Hyundai E&C and become number one for the first time. It is an important game for Heungkuk Life Insurance. You have to place first in the regular league to go directly to the championship game. I look forward to seeing how they play out. IBK Industrial Bank is a team with many players who have been with the national team for a long time. I look forward to seeing how you play. After the game, I will meet and greet the key players and ask them how they are. I plan to meet Kim Yeon-kyung as well.

-Where is the objective current address of the Korean women’s volleyball team?

To evaluate the national team from an international perspective, we need to increase the attack success rate. However, in the case of serve, it is one of the strongest teams. Blocking is weak, but it covers that part in defense. Serve, blocking and defense are good. Still, if you want to go to a higher level, you need to focus on attack power. In Asia, the number of players is relatively small compared to other teams. We also need to increase our offensive power in Asia as well. 

-The most important criterion for selecting players for the national team.

You have to build the strongest team. We watch all V-League matches and select players through data. First of all, it is important to look at the feeling the player gives when playing. Not only movement, but also how to shout fighting and communicate among the players. It is also important how you react during operation time and how you want to lead the team. That’s why I prefer to see it in person. In addition, data is used to evaluate players, and it is possible to check with data what they do well in October and then do poorly later. We always try to select good players. In addition, the national team will wear the national flag and go abroad to represent Korean volleyball. It is to represent all aspects related to Korean volleyball. When you listen to the national anthem before the game, remember that part and prepare yourself for the game.

-What advice would you give to V-League players?

I cannot meet all the players, but I will meet 4 teams during my visit to Korea. Messengers and SNS are always open to other players, so I hope they can communicate. I will approach carefully so as not to interfere with the season. I want to constantly communicate with the association, the Performance Improvement Committee, and the players. This team can get a chance to go to the Olympics. I went to the Tokyo Olympics as a coach, but I want to go as a coach as well. This has been a long time dream of mine. Whether the match is difficult or easy, I will do my best to prepare and fight until the end. I hope the national team players can be together with this mindset.

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