Devoted Coach Finds Success in SydneyJang Young-sul, head coach of the South Korean women's archery team, has seen his squad take three out of four gold medals at the Sydney Olympics. After his team acheived this outstanding result, Jang is now able to sit back and cheer for the Koreans partaking in other events. The Joong Ang Ilbo (JOINS) met with him and unveiled the secret of his team's spirit.
JOINS: What is the hidden strategy behind the success of Korean archery? I understand that foreign reporters kept asking you the same question.
Jang: It's hard to say. Most of the times I simply answer, "There are many talented archers in Korea." But I think it's also fare to say that their strength comes from the well-balanced and scientifically-designed training programs.
JOINS: It is said that you are a fluent computer user.
Jang: I compounded analytical data for my players. In 1997, with the support of the Sports Science Research Centre, I developed a program which oversees the point of impact and targets. That lead to more precise shooting from each player. If I were to collect all the data now, it would make for more than a hundred books.
JOINS: Did you use computers for the recent events as well?
Jang: Absolutely. And to arrange the women's group archery most effectively, I categorised them into three groups. After going through numerous tests I came up with an arrangement based on their score totals. I always carry the computer with me and record the results and the physical condition of each player.
JOINS: You went through some rough times.
Jang: Nobody would understand the heart-pounding moments I went through during the events. Everyone thought that we can easily secure gold medals in women's archery, and that put too much weight on my shoulders.
JOINS: The strong ocean breeze in Sydney's archery stadium was another obstacle.
Jang: We prepared for such phenomena. Three days before the game, the wind was so heavy that my hat almost blew away. Luckily it calmed down a bit on the day the event took place.
JOINS: Which games stick to your mind the most?
Jang: It was probably during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. I was the head coach for the men's archery team at that time. I expected at least two gold medals from the team, but things didn't work out as I planned.
JOINS: What do you emphsize the most to your players?
Jang: I ask them to have full control over themselves and have a positive way of thinking. With the support of psychologists from the Sports Science Research Center, we also went through special concentration training.
by Sydney Press Corps.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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