Another keyword in the roster of the younger men’s national team, ‘Jang Shin-hwa’


It’s not just about getting younger. The height also increased.

On the 2nd, the Korea Volleyball Association announced a training list for the 16 men’s national volleyball team to prepare for the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Challenger Cup, which will be held from July 8 to 15 through official SNS. Hwang Taek-eui and Kim Myeong-gwan were selected as setters, and Park Kyung-min and Oh Jae-seong were included as liberos. Kim Gyu-min, Kim Min-jae, Kim Jun-woo, Park Jun-hyeok, and Lee Sang-hyun were selected as middle blockers, and Lim Dong-hyuk and Heo Soo-bong were selected as apposites. Kim Ji-han, Na Gyeong-bok, Lim Seong-jin, Jeong Han-yong, and Hwang Kyung-min were selected as outside heaters.

When the list was announced, volleyball fans’ attention was focused on a bold generational change. All veterans who have led the national team, including Han Seon-su, Shin Young-seok, Choi Min-ho, and Kwak Seung-seok, were all excluded from the list. In the vacant positions of veterans, many ‘young blood’ in their 20s, such as Kim Myung-gwan스포츠토토, Lee Sang-hyun, Park Jun-hyuk, and Kim Ji-han, were selected. However, there is one more catchy keyword in the national team roster in addition to generational change. It is ‘Jangshinhwa’.

Kim Myeong-gwan (195cm), Lee Sang-hyeon (200cm), and Park Jun-hyeok (205cm), who will be joining the adult national team for the first time, are the tallest players in their position in the V-League. There is not a single player under 193cm in the outside heater. At the time of the 2022 AVC Cup, the average height of the national team was 191.8 cm (based on the list provided by the Korea Volleyball Association), and the average height of the national team this time was 193.4 cm (based on the profile provided by the Korea Volleyball Federation). This is a part where you can see that director Lim Do-heon paid attention not only to the generational change, but also to the longevity.

There are some players who performed well in the league enough to aim for the national team, but failed to board, and it can be speculated that the reason is because they do not fit the national team’s tall shoe trend. Last season, Kim Jeong-ho, who ranked 5th overall in attack, 4th in time-lag attack, and 12th in sub, is a representative example. His trademark strong serve and spirited attack are competitive enough, but his height of 187 cm is a clear stumbling block in international competitions. Setters such as Ha Seung-woo (185cm) and Hwang Seung-bin (183cm), who were the main players of the team, are also the same. 

This attempt at height seems to be a choice to be competitive in international competitions in the long term, not a choice that only looked at this Challenger Cup. This is because recently, world-class strong teams often have overwhelming physical strength to the extent that teams below a certain level can be beaten with only their height. Italy, which won the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) Men’s World Championship last year, is a representative example. Alessandro Micheletto, the main gun, is 211cm tall despite being an outside hitter, and Simone Gianelli, the setter, is also 199cm tall.

Of course, Jang Shin-hwa is not the only unconditional answer. Japan, a neighboring country, has three players under 190cm in its main lineup excluding the libero (OP Yuji Nishida 186cm, S Sekita Masahiro 175cm, OH Ran Takahashi 188cm), but along with Iran, it is a world-class player that maintains Asian pride. it’s a strong team Jang Shin-hwa is just one option, and Korea just chose that option.

From the Challenger Cup to the Asian Championships and the Hangzhou Asian Games, the men’s volleyball team is facing numerous international competitions this year. This is also a story that there are many opportunities to see if the national team’s generational change and the attempt to make it taller can achieve results. I wonder if coach Lim’s choice this time will be a successful first step to secure competitiveness in international competitions for Korean men’s volleyball.

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