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How a second-year signaler overcomes growing pains

Although he’s only been playing professionally for two years, Shin has matured considerably. He continued to think positively and quickly found ways to improve.

OK Financial Group won the second round of the Dodram 2023-2024 V-League Men’s Division against KB Insurance in three sets to one (25-21 25-15 18-25 25-22) at Sangryoksu Gymnasium in Ansan, South Korea, on March 29. With their second straight win, OK Financial Group dropped Samsung Fire to fourth place and moved into sole possession of third place (8 wins, 4 losses, 21 points).

Shin was the star of the victory. She was the team’s top scorer with 19 points (65.52% attack percentage).

After the match, Shin said, “I’m glad we won today, but on the other hand, it was our mistake to let our guard down in the third set and lose the set. I’m happy, but it’s a bittersweet feeling.”

Shin, who entered the professional scene as a first-round pick last season, scored his most points since his debut. He said, “(Kwak) Myung-woo-hyung put the ball up well. I hit it confidently and got lucky. I think I relieved the pressure on Leo. I think I fulfilled my role well,” he smiled.

After picking up his form at the end of last season, Shin has quickly made his presence felt on the court this season. Although he came into the team a bit late this season, he has been a consistent scorer and a key part of OK Financial Group’s offense.

“I think the biggest difference is the pressure,” he said, comparing last season to this season. This season, I’m not trying to do better, but rather to come out of the game happy whether I win or lose. This is something that has been working well in practice lately.”

“I think the reason I felt so much pressure was because I was playing with the pro’s wall up high. My confidence dropped. “I was most anxious about my serve,” he said, “because it didn’t go smoothly in practice and it made me anxious during the match. My hands were shaking when I served. Even when I asked my brothers, they said, ‘I felt the same way,’ so nowadays, I’m trying to be more relaxed,” he added.

Shin also faced a lot of expectations when he was named MVP of the KOVO Cup tournament in August. “When I won MVP, I let my guard down and set my expectations high. I started the season thinking, ‘This is how it’s going to be,’ so I didn’t play well in the beginning,” he said.

Shin has been receiving a lot of coaching from Ogino Massage this season. After being coached by domestic coaches since his amateur days, this is the first time he has been coached by a coach of a different nationality.

“He’s definitely different,” she says. First of all, he says a lot of things like, ‘Let’s have as much fun as possible playing volleyball. He claps when he wins or loses, so it makes me feel positive.”

For some players in Korea, Massa asks for a steady floater serve rather than a strong spike serve. Shin is no different. He alternates between spike and floater serves.

“I think it’s good that the pressure on my serve is gone,” he said, “My serve is weaker, but I’m practicing a lot of blocking and covering. I’ve never played this style before. All the players, including me, are trying hard to adapt.”

He also said, “When I watch other players, I want to try to serve without pressure, but my spike serve is not perfect, so I also have the intention to serve a floater. If I increase my finesse and power, I think they will ask me to hit it like Leo.”

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