Feature: Japanese coach aims to build bridge for volleyball exchange between China-Japan

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, May 24, 2024
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TIANJIN, May 24 (Xinhua) -- Having been in north China's Tianjin Municipality for just eight months, Kazuhiro Kato, a 47-year-old Japanese volleyball coach, has not been widely known by Chinese volleyball fans yet.

However, by observing one of Kato's training sessions, people can soon grasp his volleyball philosophy and coaching style.

Kato works with the Tianjin Youth Women's Volleyball Team as a consulting coach, responsible for daily training and technical guidance.

Kato is strict, even severe in training. If players' movements are not up to standard, he immediately halts the session and has them repeat the actions until their muscle memories are formed.

Kato pays much attention to details. He demonstrates the body movements and actions for the players in daily training, and asks them to shout out loudly when they hit the volleyball. It is a good way to be focused and engaged, and an important way to communicate with teammates, according to Kato.

Kato also believes that attitude determines everything. One of his tasks is to ensure the players have a correct attitude towards training. In his view, perseverance leads to victory. He is delighted to see his players make even the slightest progress day by day.

The Tianjin women's volleyball team has a distinguished history in Chinese volleyball, having won the championship a record-breaking 16 times in China's top women's volleyball league.

For Kato, nurturing reserve talent for the city with grand volleyball ambitions is a great honor for him.

"I am delighted to work in such an environment and with such a team. This is a precious opportunity for both my coaching career and personal growth," he said.

As a player, Kato spent years playing in European leagues, becoming the first Japanese player to join the Italian men's Serie A volleyball league. After he retired at 37, Kato chose to coach several Japanese women's volleyball teams, winning two league championships during that period.

"I hope to share my rich experiences in China now," Kato said.

He hopes he can make these young players truly fall in love with the sport, and cultivate top players like Zhu Ting and Li Yingying for Chinese volleyball.

"What pleases me is that after several months of training, the team has made a big progress, with a three-place rise in China's national rankings," Kato said, noting that even the libero and middle blocker in the team have the potential to become superstars.

Kato is willing to be a bridge for volleyball exchange between China and Japan.

Kato said the Chinese players have a natural height advantage, while the Japanese players lack height and strength, so they should fully exploit and utilize the advantages of team organization and cooperation.

"I believe a team combining the strengths of Chinese and Japanese players will certainly be one of the best in the world," Kato said.

He added that he is willing to contribute to creating a brighter future for Chinese volleyball. Enditem

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