After being nominated as the first pick in the first round of the 2002 rookie draft, he is now in his 21st season. He’s spent a lot of time on the court, and he’s set many records. This is the story of Han Songi from KGC Ginseng Corporation. During the 20 seasons, he could easily find the things he went through and the records he set, as well as his daily life, by searching online platforms. Han Song-yi personally looked back at the past records and read a lot of information and did a ‘fact check’.
Han Song-i, who joined Expressway Corporation in 2002 with the first pick in the first round, began to make his name known by winning the Rookie of the Year award in his debut season. Since then, he has become a byword for persistence through thorough self-management and hard work. Since the launch of the V-League, he has played in more than 20 games each except for the 2005 season and the 2008-2009 season.
He also experienced a difficult position change. Han Song-i, who has been active as an outside hitter ever since his debut, changed his position to a middle blocker in the 2014-2015 season when he was affiliated with GS Caltex. At first, it was hard and difficult, but with Han Songi’s unique passion to work hard without giving up, he rose to his current position on his own. He has become a 38-year-old veteran, but the appearance of thorough self-management without neglecting training is worthy of inspiration to his juniors.
After his debut in 2001, the 21st season
“I didn’t know he would do this for so long”
<The Spike> and a year and a half later, he conducts an exclusive interview.
It’s nice to be able to tell you my story after a long time. I know this content is for veterans, but it’s an honor just to be selected. I’ve been playing volleyball for a long time, but I’m thankful that you’re still looking for me.
1st overall pick in the 2002 draft. Do you remember that time?
At that time, it was not the order in which marbles were drawn, as it is now, but the nominations were made from the lowest rank. No surprises could have happened. So, in fact, I went to the road construction about a week ahead of time and was training while staying at the camp. When I went to the draft, I drove with the coaching staff (laughs).
Received the Rookie of the Year award for his debut season. How was it when you look back on that season?
It was difficult. Actually, I didn’t play a lot. There were many unnies who were good at it, and their skills were lacking a lot. Even so, the director gave me a chance little by little. But it was really difficult to score the first goal. Even if the unnies put it up and attacked, I couldn’t score. Then, in the third game, I scored my first goal, and things went well from then on. Looking back now, I think, ‘It was really difficult to score one goal’.
It’s already the 21st season. Doesn’t time go by fast?
It’s very fast. I never thought I would do this for this long before. When I think about it now, I think, ‘How can I do this for so long?’ If I tell my young friends, ‘You guys have to do another 15 years’, they hate it. But everyone will do that (laughs). When you look at the time of 15 years, it feels far away, but if you look at it year after year, it becomes 15 years. The young players now will think the same as me later.
What made you start playing volleyball?
I started following my older sister (Han Yumi). When my sister was in elementary school, she started playing volleyball first, and I naturally followed her after school and she also picked up the ball. Then, when I reached the age to join the team, I think I started playing volleyball.
In the 2007-2008 season, he won the top scorer.
I was lucky. He was at his peak as a player and he helped a lot around him. Just in time, a foreign player was left out of the team, and I took on that role. So I started attacking a lot and prioritized attacking rather than receiving. He is the top scorer who made it around him.
This is the only record in which a native player has won the top scorer since the introduction of the foreign player system.
I didn’t think much of it, but there were many good foreign players back then. Looking back, I also think, ‘He was good at attacking back then’. In fact, he did a lot of offense. It was a higher attack share than foreign players now. And naturally, I scored a lot. Of course, there were a lot of mistakes (laughs).
It is the 4th highest scoring record among domestic players.
Although his pro career has been long, there is no record yet of being the first. But he leaves his name at the top of many records. I have experience as an outside hitter in the past, so I have a name in dig, attack, and blocking. It’s like the history of volleyball I’ve done because I’m posting my name evenly in various parts. This is what remains. It is meaningful because it will remain as a number of previous issues no matter how many years pass.
I changed my position from outside heater to middle blocker. Were there any difficulties?
To be honest, it was difficult because I didn’t change my position on my own volition. Outside hitter training and middle blocker training are completely different. At first, there were too many things to do because I was doing both trainings at the same time. So I think it took me a long time to get used to being a middle blocker. And as my swing form changed, there were many injuries to my body. But after that, I put my mind down and thought that I wanted to go on the court because any seat would be fine. There were many difficult times, but after Namwon Seo was appointed to the team, he said, “I believe in you. I know you will do well” and gave me faith. So I felt a sense of responsibility and was able to concentrate on being a middle blocker. 메이저놀이터
Both the middle blocker and outside hitter positions seem to have their strengths.
Outside heater is the position with the most roles. You have to receive and defend, and you have to attack a lot of difficult balls. However, it is also the position that receives the most spotlight, but on the other hand, it is also a lot of pressure. Middle blockers focus on attacking and blocking. When the middle blocker is fun, it tricks the opponent or anticipates the pass of the state setter, and when it hits just right, I feel a sense of joy. It is a place where you have to think a lot and analyze a lot.
Do you want to try outside heater again?
To be honest, if I don’t have any physical problems and my condition is good, I still like the outside heater the most. But now my power is much lower than before and my swing form has changed (laughs).
There is a subroutine that is unique to Han Songi. Is there a reason you made it?
Actually, I don’t remember exactly how I started doing it. I think I just started to take advantage of the 8 seconds given to me. Even the coaches say, “Hit the serve slowly, take your time,” but since I can’t tell exactly how many seconds, when I get impatient, there are a lot of mistakes. I wanted to be more careful, so at some point it happened. It’s awkward if I don’t do it now (laughs).
The sub also has many strengths.
I think it’s too weak because it’s a serve that focuses on target hits (laughs). Instead, the biggest strength is that there are few mistakes and I can send it to the direction I want to send it. There are many players on our team who use strong serves, so I try to serve with the goal of reducing mistakes as much as possible. (I was ranked first in the team serve during the ceremony.) (KGC Ginseng Corporation held an event to match the cone with the serve during the ceremony) I knew I would hit it (laughs). It was a course that I usually hit well.
“ I want to remain as a player who can inspire you. ”
Han Yu-mi, who is famous as a commentator and sister volleyball player, are there any pros and cons of being a professional player together?
The downside is that it hurts to have to face each other. Since I was in the same position as my sister, we blocked each other’s attacks and served each other. That doesn’t make me feel comfortable. I think the biggest advantage is that I can share technical details with my sister and receive help when my performance is not good.
It’s a story outside of volleyball, but I’m usually interested in protecting stray dogs.
I like animals very much. Even now, I regularly support several organizations. Before that, there was no awareness of stray dogs, but I came to see a lot of photos on social media, and that situation hurt my heart. I thought about what I could be of any help to, so I started sponsoring and volunteering. I sponsored a lot, but this is the first time I’ve been volunteering. I went with the group members I work with, and even when I went, my heart ached so much. They are pretty children, but they have painful memories, so I thought I should continue to pay attention to them.
What do you think is the game of life?
For the national team, I think the 2012 London Olympics was the game of life. Among our team games, there was a time when we won five in a row two seasons ago. It was a match against Hyundai E&C, and at that time, Hyundai E&C was almost invincible like it is now. But we won 3-1 at Hyundai Engineering & Construction’s home stadium. At that time, there was a Diouf player on the team, and on that day, the native players showed a better performance than Diouf and won the game together with strength, so I remember that game a lot.
What is your ultimate goal for the rest of your volleyball life?
First, I want the team to do well. Of course, if you win, there is no better situation than that, but even if you don’t win, I want you to go up to the playoffs and championship match. And the final goal is to finish without major injuries until the end and remain as a player who can give good inspiration to the players and fans.
We looked at Han Songi’s records and information together.
He looked back and felt it was a long time ago. He thought that he should stop leaving behind the records he could leave in the rest of his volleyball life (laughs). There are still a few records I can challenge, so I want to break them. Records are forever. I hope that many people will remember me as a good volleyball player for a long time.
What do you want to say to your fans?
I gained more fans after the Olympics, and I am grateful and I was able to not get tired because of the fans. It’s one of the reasons why we need to show better performance. The driving force that allows me to grow without getting tired is the fans. I will prepare hard so that I can give back the love I received with good performance, so I hope you always support me as much as you do now. I would like to say thank you for cheering me on and my teammates, regardless of whether we lose or win.