The SSG Landers Futures team, which was preparing for the season in Korea, will finally leave for Taiwan for spring camp.
SSG said on the 12th, “The Futures team, led by coach Son Si-heon, will hold a 25-day spring camp in Jaishi, Taiwan, from February 15th to March 10th.”유흥알바
It is the Futures team’s overseas spring camp for the first time in four years since the 2020 Florida camp, and a total of 30 players, including 11 coaching staff and 19 players, will participate. SSG announced its intention to strengthen the transfer and exchange of players between the first and second teams in Taiwan by using the same second camp site for the first team players to motivate the second team players. In addition, the SSG Futures team will hold a total of five practice games with the Taiwanese professional baseball team to quickly improve the players’ sense of play and develop their skills.
The SSG Futures team is drawing as much attention as the Korean Professional Baseball League under coach Lee Sung-yong. The need for generational change has been mentioned repeatedly since the team won the 2022 Korea Series. However, the team failed as a result last year, and SSG renewed its commitment by changing the coaches of the first and second teams.
The atmosphere has changed a bit under the new system. First of all, the amount of training has increased significantly compared to last year. According to Son, the Futures team is conducting training from morning to night. “When I was young, I thought that unless I go through such training, I will not beat a senior in the top team,” Son said. The team also agreed with each other, so the team will continue training intensely in Taiwan. Futures players have to make more preparations to win the competition with the top team players.”
Having adopted the bio-mechanics, SSG has taken the same course of action. This year, the team reportedly improved the players’ understanding by taking care of the bio-mechanics, psychology and mental health, and taking theoretical education as well. “Bio-mechanics requires players to be unaware of what they are supposed to train if they do not understand the kinematics. Training without understanding is not easy to produce results as it is a repetition. I thought that the players should learn to understand and think about their bodies in kinematic mechanics,” Son said.
“To this end, strength coaches are collaborating with existing training coaches to prepare well for the use of bio-mechanics. In addition, mental programs and part-specific routine theoretical training are currently being organized and conducted during training days. Theoretically, we are paying attention to enhancing the players’ understanding,” he added.
This Taiwan spring camp is expected to serve as an opportunity for Futures players to join the opening roster. It is known that Lee Sung-yong, the team’s first-team coach, made a special request to Sohn. “Coach Lee asked the team to motivate the players as they started the season on an equal starting line,” Son said. He also asked Futures to recommend players who can join the team when the team joins Taiwan (Feb. 25). “This will be a great motivation for the team.”
As the team nurtures players who will play in the first division, it has worked hard to strengthen the basics, including training routines. Rumor has it that SSG Futures players have focused on identifying each player’s skills and creating their own training routines since the closing camp last year. “A training routine is a preparation process for the best performance and is very important for the players. Each player teaches a variety of routine programs to build a good posture in practice, and the players are seeking to find a routine that suits them through conversations and discussions with the coach,” Son said.
The positions that the first team needs the most are the first, second and bullpen sessions. Last year, SSG had the largest number of veteran players in their 30s or older among its first, second and bullpen sessions, and failed to achieve better-than-expected results in both generational change and performance.
On Taiwan’s spring camp list, first baseman Kang Jin-sung is the most notable. Kang, who joined through trade last year, showed his potential by posting a batting average of 0.291 (32 hits in 110 at-bats) with three homers and 15 RBIs and an OPS of 0.781, in 43 games for three months from June to August despite his injury. The key to his competition with Jeon Eui-san and Ko Myung-joon, who have already gone to the U.S. camp, is how much he will change.
Coach Sohn said, “The players of Jeon Eui-san, Ko Myung-joon, and Kim Sung-min, who prepared for the first baseman from the last training session, are in the competition system. Second baseman Ahn Sang-hyun, Choi Jun-woo and Kim Chan-hyung are in the first-tier camp, and there are many resources currently in the Futures. In particular, I want to make the infielder part not limited to the position, but to play any position. I am preparing very hard enough for the first base position to be joined by Kang Jin-sung.”
As for the Futures team pitchers, the team decided to use the bullpen session. Rather than a starting pitcher who needs to take a long time to develop and adapt, the team decided to use the bullpen session, which can give an impact even for a short time. Confidence in the first team can help young players adjust faster.
“Rather than preparing for the starting pitcher, the Futures team will focus on preparing for the season as a bullpen,” Son said. The team plans to order pitchers who will start from the Futures League to actively pitch from the first pitch with the mindset that they are the first pitchers, not the starting pitchers. All the players on the mound will train with the mindset that they took the mound in the middle of the bullpen.”
Rather than trying to fit into a single frame, SSG wants to see what it can do best for rookies. SSG decided to focus more on creating physical conditions in which rookies can play full-time in the first division. During the process, it also decided to discuss the future in various ways through small group meetings in which coaches from various fields participated together.