The reason why Japanese women’s basketball was the most impressive was physical fights and energy levels
“Only those who survive the competition can play basketball on a higher stage. “So the physical strength of Japanese players may have been felt to be better than that of Korean players,”
said an official familiar with both Korean women’s basketball and Japanese women’s basketball.
The reporter has covered more than 100 times in May 2023. I watched a game between the Korean men’s university selection team and the Japanese men’s university selection team, and I also watched a game between the Korean women’s university selection team and the Japanese women’s university selection team.
The Korean men’s university selection team defeated the Japanese men’s university selection team with 2 wins and 1 loss. I saved some face in the living room. However, the Korean women’s university selection team had to feel the difference in level from the Japanese women’s university selection team. 3 losses out of 3 matches. The average goal-loss margin for the three games was -37.
That wasn’t the problem. While the Japanese women’s university selection team maintained a high energy level throughout the game, the Korean women’s university selection team did not play well after the second half of the first game. Starting with basic physical strength, including activity level, I was defeated by the Japanese women’s university selection team.
And about 4 months later. The Park Shin-ja Cup, which included six WKBL clubs and two Japanese W-League clubs (Toyota Antelopes and Eneos Sunflowers), was held at Cheongju Gymnasium from August 26 to September 3. It was a time for WKBL coaching staff, officials, and players to feel more strongly about Japanese women’s basketball. This is because the two Japanese teams participating in this tournament are strong teams that advanced to the championship game in the 2022-2023 season.
The styles of Toyota and Eneos were different. However, the overall characteristics of Japanese players were not different. In particular, the guard lineup in the early 160cm range was impressive. He was not pushed back by players who were 15cm or more taller than him, but rather overwhelmed those players with his speed. He showed his energy level, speed, and strength.
Because they are Japanese players with good physical strength and balance, they were able to use a variety of techniques. Although there is not much of an innate difference from Korean players, through acquired effort, he has shown superior athletic ability and activity level than Korean players. Based on his excellent athletic ability and activity level, he played organized and structured basketball.
In particular, this was the case with Toyota, which won this competition. Shiori Yasuma (162cm, G), Mai Yamamoto (163cm, G), and Mai Kawai (171cm, G) were not pushed aside by physically strong players despite their short stature. The same was true for the Australian Bendigo Spirit players, who had both height and strength. This was the key driving force behind the 92-63 victory over Bendigo on August 30th.
So, the reporter asked the Toyota coaching staff and players a lot about physical skills. Toyota coach Yuko Oga said after the Bendigo match, “The specialty of our country’s basketball is speed. In order to achieve team speed, the skills and physicality of each player must be fundamentally developed. And to strengthen physical fighting, contact training is considered important. “When you fight, you shouldn’t be in pain,” he said, answering questions related to physicality.
Mai Yamamoto said, “Our team’s guards are not in better physical condition than the opponent. Congenital conditions are not good. However, I try to consciously fight and box out. “Also, it helped that I played a lot of 3X3 since I was young,” he said.
The reporter visited the Eneos Sunflowers training site on September 1, after the interview with Toyota. I was able to talk with ENEOS general manager Satoshi Sakumoto. General Manager Sakumoto is also a person who served as a manager at Eneos for a long time.
General Manager Sakumoto is also a basketball player who has formed a connection with Korean women’s basketball. You can see the difference between Japanese women’s basketball and Korean women’s basketball. General Manager Sakumoto said, “Japanese players have a lot of experience with 3X3 from a young age. Because the physical competition in 3X3 is intense, it seems that players learn a lot about the importance of physicality there. He gave some hints, saying, “The same goes for physical fighting skills.”
At that time, an official who had watched Korean women’s basketball and Japanese women’s basketball for a long time said this. “The competitive environment between Japanese female athletes and Korean female athletes is different. The infrastructure itself is different. In the case of the Japanese women’s professional league, those who are filtered out from thousands of players are playing. He gave an even bigger hint, saying, “I know that’s not the case in Korea.”
He continued, “It is difficult to succeed in Japan with any amount of effort. As mentioned earlier, the competition itself is fierce. Only those who survive the competition can play professionally. That’s why athletes who dream of becoming professionals engage in individual exercise diligently from a young age. The same goes for physical exercise. “That’s why they seem to have better physical strength than Korean players,” he said, talking about the case of Japan.
He continued, “I understand that the foundation of Korean women’s professional basketball is not solid. There is a shortage of student athletes, the future resource of women’s basketball. Since there are no players, a competitive structure cannot be formed. Even if players do not put in a lot of effort, they cannot advance to a higher stage. “I heard that WKBL is also having a lot of concerns because the foundation that supports women’s professional basketball is lacking,” he said, adding about the reality of women’s basketball in Korea.
Insufficient infrastructure created a lack of competitiveness among players. As a result, it was inferior to Japanese women’s basketball in basic things such as energy level, physical strength, speed and tenacity. This has become a decisive difference between Korean and Japanese women’s basketball.
In fact, what was mentioned above is a fact that many basketball fans also know. However, there were not many opportunities to experience it. The same was true for the WKBL coaching staff, including Woori Bank coach Wi Sang-woo, who played in the finals. After the match against the Japanese team, “This Park Shin-ja Cup was a good experience. I learned a lot from the Japanese team. “The Japanese team was one level higher than us, even from the basics,” they said in unison.
In that sense, the Park Shin-ja Cup should be bigger. You can experience high-quality basketball from high-quality overseas teams, and you must solve the problems that arise one by one. Therefore, this Park Shin-ja Cup was precious to everyone involved in Korean women’s basketball. This is because Korean women’s basketball now knows what to do first.