on January 3, 2000, Kim ChangBack officially took over ascoach of Chinese Women'sField Hockey Team. Just threemonths later, under his leadership the teamfor the first time qualified for the OlympicGames, in Sydney, and they eventually tookfifth place.
Fierce and Fatherly
On the training field, Coach Kim ChangBack is a poker-faced taskmaster, issuingrapid-fire instructions and orders in brokenChinese. His players typically come out of atraining session breathing hard and in a fullsweat. Those who fail to perform as requiredare rewarded with additional exercises.Kim's intensive training style has earnedhim the nickname Devil Coach, and aboutthis moniker Kim is indifferent. He explains,"The training and breaks are regular. Plusplayers have their own time. Since strengthis a rudimentary requirement, training mustbe rigorous ... sometimes even ruthless." Inthe beginning his training system was notreadily accepted by the players. "To be hon-est, they did not agree with all of my regime.And I knew I must win them over."
Often harsh and sometimes seeminglymerciless during training, off the field Kimexhibits a more fatherly approach to hisplayers. He enjoys taking the girls out forKorean food, and says "You can find au-thentic Korean restaurants in virtually everymajor city in China. That's where I rewardmy players. We feel at ease while dining andcommunicate very well. Sometimes I evenmake Kimchi soup for them." To everyplayer about to play her hundredth match,Kim sends a hundred roses, and for her thatday holds a little caring sentiment, in addi-tion to competition.
After impressive gains in a series ofmatches, the team competed at the 2004Athens Olympic Games, finishing with afourth-place ranking. Unfortunately, somehad doubts about Kim's coaching abil-ity and there were calls for him to resign."Although he is sometimes hard on us, ev-erybody can see that the team is improving.It's fair to say that without Coach Kim, theteam would not have achieved so much,"said goalkeeper Nie Yali. Sharing that sen-timent, many of the players told Kim thatthey wished he would stay.