“We all learn from our seniors” Choo Shin-soo’s ML-style culture fattens up SSGs

It’s been three years since Choo Shin-soo (41) returned to the KBO with the SSG Landers. For SSG players, taking the field as early as 2 p.m. has become a routine.

The official pre-game meeting for KBO teams is usually at 3:00 or 3:10 p.m. (for the home team in weekday games at 6:30 p.m.). Players who want to warm up a little earlier or bat first can start practicing at 2:30pm.

However, it’s not uncommon for multiple players to show up at 2pm. On the 2nd, the batting cages were set up early at SSG Landers Field in Incheon, and players wearing colorful yellow and red hats started training at their respective positions in the outfield, infield, and bullpen at 2pm. SSG had always been a team that trained less than other clubs, but since Choo Shin-soo’s arrival, the start time has gotten earlier and earlier, according to SSG officials.

Ha Jae-hoon, 33, who recently returned to the team after being sidelined with an injury, was one of the players who started warming up early with Choo Shin-soo. He said, “We are doing what we are doing now because Choo Shin-soo did it. It’s all about learning from him,” he said.

Ha is a veteran who has played in Korea (SSG), the United States (Chicago Cubs Minors), and Japan (Yakult Swallows). In terms of the amount of training, Japan, the U.S., and Korea were the same, but the atmosphere was different: “Korea honestly doesn’t train the most. Japan does the most. They don’t even have time to eat, so they rotate. Even though I’m a foreigner, they serve me a lot of food,” he shuddered.

“Japan has a lot of team training schedules. In the U.S., on the other hand, it’s a war zone (when you step on the field). I have to do whatever it takes because there are players all around me who want to win. When they get pissed off, they don’t leave the batting cage until the bat breaks,” he said, explaining the difference between the Japanese and American training cultures.

Similarly, Choo Shin-soo, who was one of the first to come out in the sweltering heat, was quick to point out that the U.S. is training more than South Korea. Choo Shin-soo was removed from the first team roster on July 27 due to a sprained right ankle he suffered against Hanwha in Incheon on June 12, but he has been training with the first team to strengthen his arm muscles. He is preparing to go straight into defense when he returns to the first team 먹튀검증.

“Major league players in the U.S. basically train two to three times more than Korean players,” says Choo. Sometimes people say that American major league players train less, but I don’t understand where that comes from.” He added, “In my experience, they train a lot more. Of course, it could be because they have shorter team training sessions. But before and after team training, players have much more time to work on their individual needs. They don’t just do it because the team wants them to. There’s a lot of work to do to get in shape and practice batting in order to get one hit. You can take time off, but in my case, it helped to keep working out no matter what the weather was like. In the summer in Texas, it was much hotter than it is now,” he emphasized.

The current SSG players have learned from watching such seniors. From veteran Han Yoo-seom to rookie Lee Roon, the Major League (ML) culture of self-discipline that Choo Shin-soo instilled in the team has made SSG stronger. “It’s something I’ve always done. We train together, but then I don’t get to do what I need to do or want to do. But if I start 30 minutes earlier, I can do all the training I want to do. Especially when we go to away games, the training time is too short, so I try to come out earlier for home games to make up for the lack of training on the road.”

“I think one or two players saw me and joined in, and now it’s something we all do spontaneously. Actually, if someone tells me to do it, I can do it temporarily, but not for long. The team culture I want is for the players to realize what they lack and do it themselves,” he added.

Han Yusum and Ha Jae-hoon were the most eager juniors in Choo’s eyes. “When I come out, I see a lot of (Han) Yusum and (Ha) Jaehoon. Especially Jae-hoon, I’ve been training with him since last year, and I love the tools he has. In the future, I want to help him improve his abilities rather than give him direct advice from the side,” he smiles.

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