The purpose of participating in the 2023 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship is clear for Korean Air coach Tommy Tillikainen (36), who opened the ‘dynasty’ for the second time in history with three consecutive victories in the V-League. It is the growth of players who will be the driving force of the future. The icing on the cake would be to achieve Asian dominance following the V-League, but the first step is to provide young players with a lot of experience and a foothold for growth.
On the 13th, one day before the 14th, the opening day of the tournament, Tillikainen revealed the blueprint for the tournament.
He said, “In this tournament, four of our team’s key members, Han, Kim Gyu-min, Lincoln and Jung Sung-min, are not registered on the roster. This will be a big challenge for our team,” he said. “The reason for coming to this competition is clear. I hope that it will be a stepping stone for many experiences, opportunities, and growth for young players. Of course, when I get on the court, I want to win. But more importantly to me, I hope to see the future of our team through this tournament.”
The schedule for this 2023 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship is very tight. Starting on the 14th, they will have to play the group stage for three consecutive days, take a day off, and play the ranking game again.
Tillikainen also has this schedule in mind. “The schedule for this tournament is very tight. All 14 registered players must be evenly appointed. I hope they all do their part.”
The vacancy of one player will be divided between veteran Kwang-Woo Yoo and second-year rookie Jin-Hyeok Jeong. Kwang-woo Yoo, who led the Samsung Fire Dynasty in the past, has already proven his performance, but he cannot play all games because of his chronic ankle disease. It is calculated that only when Jung Jin-hyeok enters the court and shows a performance comparable to that of Yoo Kwang-woo, Korean Air can advance to the quarterfinals or higher.
Coach Tillikainen said, “Jeong Jin-hyeok is a setter who has been practicing hard in silence behind Player Han and Kwang-woo Yoo. This tournament will be a good opportunity for Jeong Jin-hyeok. He is looking forward to seeing how much he can show the training he has been doing so far in practice,” he said. “The position of setter is a really difficult position. He expressed his wish, saying, “I want him to show his skills well in the given opportunity.”
Regarding the distribution of playing time between Yoo Kwang-woo and Jung Jin-hyuk, he said, “I wrote the script. However, it will have to change depending on the physical condition of the players and the game situation.”
In the V-League, the official ball of the토토사이트 star is played, but since this is an international tournament, the official ball of Mikasa, the official ball of the international tournament, will be played. This is expected to have a significant impact on performance.
Director Tillikainen said, “It is not scientifically understood, but from my experience and feeling, the Mikasa ball has little advantage when hitting a spike serve. Poison to spike servers, benefit to receivers. On the other hand, the floater serve has more shake, which is helpful for servers and difficult for receivers to catch. We will make it possible to play well with the characteristics of the Mikasa official ball,” he explained.
Tillikainen assumed leadership on the Asian continent six years ago when he took over Toyota Kosei (now Wolfdogs Nagoya) in Japan. His debut match for Toyota was the Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship six years ago. Tillikainen said, “At that time, we played 8 games in 10 days and went to the final. He remembers losing the final to the Iranian team,” he said. “I will try to incorporate that experience into this tournament.”
Tillikainen, who has been coaching for three years in the Japanese league, is likely to meet the Suntory Sunbirds, played by Dmitri Mushalski, who is considered the world’s best middle blocker, in the quarterfinals or higher. “During the season, I watched a lot of Suntory game videos,” he said. He also has a tactic of how to deal with him when dealing with him.” Then he added, “Of course, he is a player that is hard to block even though he knows it.”
Finally, Tillikainen told the fans, “I ask for a lot of support. He came this far with his players. There will be support from Korean residents, but I ask that you send a lot of support to our players’ play while watching the Internet broadcast in Korea. I will do my best,” he said.