“You miss a lot when you practice.”
It’s January 10th (ET) at Narabunda Ballpark in Canberra, Australia. The KIA Tigers continued to train nonstop over the Lunar New Year holiday. They moved efficiently for about three hours. First up on the main field, the Tigers practiced fielding ground balls. Lee Woo-sung put on his first base mitt for the first time this season.
Defensive coach Park Ki-nam and outfield coach Lee Hyun-gon took turns hitting the ball high in the air with a Fungo bat, and the infielders took care of it after calling ‘OK’. It was a basic drill, but there were some mistakes. The two fielding coaches, as well as head coach Jin Gap-yong and hitting coach Lee Bum-ho, watched closely.
“I miss a lot in practice,” said defense coach Park Ki-nam when a player missed a pitch. He told them to make the mistake now and not make it on the field after having enough time to recover. The basics cannot be overemphasized, and the players were focused.
When Coach Park noticed that one of the beast’s movements was not smooth, he said, “You need to minimize your movements. Even when you take a side step, your body shakes too much.” The beast immediately digested Coach Park’s detailed instructions and showed a more stable shot.
Park Ki-nam and Lee Hyun-gon were able to make even the most obscure pitches. They praised Yoo for his quick approach and handling of the call. “Good, nice call,” they said, and the applause erupted around them, and the team’s cohesion increased.
There was even a moment when he made fun of a player who made a mistake. One player didn’t say “OK” for a call and said “Okay~” instead, which caused the entire field to 사설토토 burst into laughter. Coach Park Ki-nam didn’t miss it and said, “Is it a crow?” Another coach said, “It’s a crow, a crow,” which caused more laughter.
If you watch the KIA YouTube channel, you can sometimes see Coach Park giving defense lectures, which are quite engaging. He is known for having a beautiful voice and being able to explain things easily. It was true when I listened to him at Sage.
Kia finished the 2023 season with 102 errors, the second fewest in the league. They were the team with the fewest errors in the league behind KT Wiz with 99, but there’s no guarantee they’ll do it again this year. History speaks for itself. Teams that play good defense, especially good fundamental defense that sticks to the basics, laugh in the fall. With a top-notch batting lineup, starting rotation, and bullpen, KIA’s defense alone could change the rankings. Of course, Kia’s defense has been solid, too.