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Samsung CEO Lee Seung-hyun emphasizes one thing

Lee Seung-hyun is building Cheongju Samsung the right way, fast.

Cheongju Samsung was founded in 2021. It started without a single graduate student, but after steady efforts, it grew to 250 students. The growth has been rapid.

“I’ve been coaching kids in the metropolitan area for about 10 years,” Lee Seung-hyun, CEO of Cheongju Samsung, told us in a phone interview. We incorporated a play system to make basketball fun and easy for young children. We were able to reach children who lacked motor skills. Parents responded well,” he said.

“We are building the system systematically. We have classes from first grade to third grade. We have a varsity team, and we are participating in competitions. We also have skill classes. We have no plans to create a high school class, but adults are also learning to play basketball.”

Cheongju Samsung has spacious facilities. They have a 150-square-meter indoor court. The goals are not attached to the wall, but are 1.8 meters out, as is the norm. It’s safe. The floor level is also very high at 30 meters. “I’ve taught kids in many different facilities,” says Lee. Our facility is really good. The coaches are diverse. We have Mr. Ryu Jeong-seok and other coaches. We prefer coaches who are not athletes. They are all physical education majors. They also teach kids news sports like tee ball and flying disc. They can attract younger players.”

Every youth basketball classroom has its own philosophy. Lee emphasized “enjoyment.

“We don’t think too much about the philosophy of basketball. We actively communicate with the kids so that they can enjoy basketball. If an idol gets tired of playing basketball, we play soccer or dodgeball. We make sure they have fun during the whole class at Cheongju Samsung. When they go home after class, I give them a lot of compliments so that everyone is smiling,” he explains.

Lee’s basketball philosophy has also undergone trial and error. “When I first started the national team, I made them play the same tactics for the entire 20 minutes. They struggled a lot. I also expected results. They became more vocal,” he said, adding, “We had a lot of meetings with parents. I communicated a lot with them. If they were having fun, they would score one more goal in the tournament. I changed my training methods. The results may not be as good, but if they’re having fun, it’s okay. I pay more attention to the players’ education. I’m less stressed,” he said.

“I want them to have fun, but I also want them to be able to do basic dribbling and layups. We have monthly tests and video shoots. For the recreational class, the curriculum consists of physical balance training, ball handling and shooting, fun games, and 5-on-5 games. They incorporated games such as “Mugunghwa Flower Bloomed,” “Ice Bang,” and “Ear Run” into basic training that can be boring. We combined physical training with fun. The varsity class focuses on offensive tactics and pattern practice.”

Cheongju Samsung was runner-up in the 2023 i-League Secondary Division and third in the U10 Division. “We played in the I-League for the first time in 2023,” said Lee Seung-hyun. We finished second in the secondary division and third in the U10 division. The other divisions are still weak, but I tell the kids to do their best to win. If they lose the ball, I tell them to go back and get it. When you face a strong team, sometimes you give up. I encourage them that they can get it back, and that they can score one more goal.”

“The clubs under the professional team are well run. I run the Samsung Little Thunders myself. I would like to see regular clubs actively participate in the youth level. We need more kids who love basketball,” he concluded.

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