Changing habits will change fate”… Will Lotte’s defensive reform succeed

With “Master of Defense,” he has drawn attention as an expert who will reform Lotte’s defense. Coach Kim Min-ho chose to go to Lotte without hesitation after being called by Kim Tae-hyung.

From the closing camp to the spring camp last year, coach Kim Min-ho exercised more passionately than anyone else and raised his voice more than anyone else. He was an avid leader. Kim Tae-hyung, watching the training quietly, smiled and said, “He tries to show off what he is good at,” but he didn’t care. As such, coach Kim Min-ho began to revise everyone from “A” to “Z” of Lotte players’ defense with passion.

Lotte recently failed to advance to the fall baseball for six consecutive years. It was a position of a weak team, not a strong team. A team with solid defense is a strong team after all. It is an immutable truth that works in Major League Baseball and Japanese professional baseball. In 2017, when Lotte last advanced to the fall baseball, it also showed off its solid defense.꽁머니사이트

Over the past six years, the number of errors committed by fielders has been 559 (excluding errors made by pitchers). The team was only eighth overall. Even though the number of errors was small, it failed to display efficient defense. Last year, it had the third smallest number of errors in the league with 103 errors. However, its defensive efficiency rating (DER), which is an indicator of defensive efficiency, was .666, the lowest in the league. It was the lowest in both defense with .649 in 2022 and .675 in 2021. It was the worst-performing defense for three consecutive years.

Under the leadership of coach Kim Min-ho, the team had to change its defensive habits starting from the closing camp of last year. With the mindset that changing habits can change fortunes and make us stronger, he devoted himself to the players. He raised his voice every day. It was safe to say that the person with the highest voice in Guam’s spring camp was not a player but a coach Kim Min-ho.

First, I went back to the basics. As if teaching high school students, I developed the basics step by step. Although Kim Tae-hyung is not an expert in defense, coach Kim Min-ho also questioned the players’ defense posture and habits, and Lotte’s coach Kim Min-ho began to overhaul its defense.

How did the team fare during the closing camp of last year and this year’s spring camp for about three weeks? “Overall, we have improved a lot. I think the players are having fun because we can see how we have improved and there are some interesting things in the training process,” coach Kim Min-ho said. However, the team has yet to meet Kim’s high standards. “It’s not as good as I expected, but it is true that the team has improved.”

Coach Kim Min-ho does not want anything fancy. Since taking the helm, he has ordered robust defense, solid defense, and defense that reliably secures an out count, rather than stellar defense, and ordered players to play.

The beginning of spring camp training was always defense. And before starting defense training, all the fielders gathered and had meetings. Coach Kim Min-ho used the dugout’s whiteboard to explain the players’ movements, and repeatedly explained their mindset and thoughts on how they are engaged in defense every day. Although it is an cramming training, the most obvious way to teach players repeatedly every day in order to change their behavior.

Coach Kim Min-ho said, “This is to sharpen our team’s tactics and teamwork. And when you play defense, it tells you that you have to think about the next play before hitting. When it comes to Go, it emphasizes that you have to look ahead of every move and second move forward.”

Infielder Han Dong-hee said, “He says a lot to help the player think first and play,” adding, “He also said a lot to stay true to the basics and play more solidly.”

Outfielder Kim Min-seok said, “There is a lot of time for team play training, but he said that you have to think about the situations in advance and watch them a few steps ahead of the opponent before defense. He explains things like that, such as having to go to the backup play in advance,” and added, “I think it would be silly to do these things right away, but it was easy to understand because he wrote them all down on the whiteboard.”

Coach Kim Min-ho and fielders chanted a spell to become stronger every day. They started training by chanting “Fuerte,” which means “strong” in Spanish. “Players need to have the mindset to be strong to become stronger. I wanted to instill in players repeatedly, not blindly,” he said. “I can see that they are getting stronger.”

“To get something, you have to sweat and throw away something. I threw away a lot, too. I sweated with the players and tried hard to break the habit,” he said. “It is not easy to break the habit that we have in our bodies. It is difficult. However, breaking the habit can change our fate and make us stronger. And if we act, our fate can definitely change. Lotte’s defense can be strong. I hope the fans will wait and see for us.”

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