Made In Japan: day 5

Day 5:

   The Japan realism in matter of baseball is way more important than I thought. Here baseball is not only a game but also a way of life. The team spirit is everywhere and shows itself all the time. The very polite way of the japanese may not show their real motivation: wanting to win.
Always ready...

     I never saw such a dedication to the game. The way they train, the way they respect each other made me think that they won the WBC for some good reason. We don't have to be ashamed by the way we live the game but we may use some of their assets for our own good.. It may be useful.

On day 5 the team played a doubleheader. But I'll not talk about it. I'll talk about how I experienced it as a 3rd base coach. As a 3rd base coach my job is to help the team to score runs by using the weapons available... yes it's a fight ! So players must be ready to execute the different plays I ask for. A coach must also know his players and their abilities to do so. I have to admit that I don't really know them and I had to see by myself what they can do and what they can't do. 
    On these two games I wanted to be as effective as possible on every play. But I made the mistake to have a "japanese" way of doing things. It was not as effective as I expected because my players were not.. japanese.. at all. I may have had a chance with them but I guess we needed more practice together and more repetition...

This is by the way a good experience for me in a difficult situation. The japanese showed great skills playing baseball. The teams we faced were really strong and it was also a good experience for our ten players. 



Made in Japan: day 4

Day 4: It's time for real baseball. The team had to play twice today. (Yesterday the game was postponed because of the rain) Two games versus the High School team of Hakata. The team is still under construction but players showed a lot of improvement in their abilities to play together as one team. The japanese showed us how they can warm -up as a real team with dedication and pride. We basically have the same type of drill in Europe but the way they do it is way more dynamic. Different culture...

Make it quick and accurate.
After a serious and well organised warm-up the team is ready for the game. But the first game was only a one way game. The Team Europe offense was not able to put enough runners on base to put pressure on the japanese pitcher. We had to wait for the last inning to have a hit (a double) and then to score our first and last run of the game. Final score 7 to 1. This said players of our team showed a lot of improvement in their game. It's promising.

Rick pitching during the first game.
After 45mn of lunch break the team started the last game of the day. The team made a really good start and hit the ball hard. It seems that our players finally got their rythm. Plays were well executed but still it was not enough to beat our opponent. The japaneses showed no signs of pressure and continued to play their game. We lost this game by a few runs 6-2. The more we play the more we improve.
Philipp on the mound.
After the games team Europe was invited to train with the japanese team under the supervision of their Head-coach to end the day. To work with them was really exciting and very interesting.



Made in Japan: day 2 and 3

Day 2: was dedicated to visit the city of Fukuoka. We had the oppotunity to pay a visit to the local mizuno shop and several other baseball shops. No need to say how we have appreciated this tour. The weather was sunny and allowed us to enjoy the beauty of the Blossom Cherry flowers .

Day 3:

Let's get back to the field ! The first part of the day is dedicated to a  pratice with the  the team of HAKATA high school. The team was divided in three groups to work on fielding, the swing and some conditionning. This High School has no specific training facilities. This explains why, when it rains, the practice take place where room is avalaible. Those high school teams are used to train very hard, sometimes 7 times a week and for more than 3 or 4 hours straight. The name of their game is discipline and effectiveness.

Team Europe hosted by Hakata High School.
The common roster is composed of 18 player. This said 18 extra players train with them with the hope to take the first spot available. Each training is challenging and all players are used to train very hard with respect and dedication to the team, the coach and the High School. They even show great respect to their teammates after each exercice. This is so different from our trainings...

Dry swing drill.
Fielding drill.

After a ceremony of present exchange between both teams, we were supposed to play our first game at 1:00 pm. But due to some rain the field was quickly full of puddles and completly soaked. Therefore the game was postponed.

The Hakata High School field before the rain.


Made In Japan: day one

At 7:30 am after a quick breakfast, we join the Fukusho High School team on their field. They were already warming up in their own typical way. Let's take a look at it with the video below...

    After our own warm-up, "Team Europe" faced the japanese team. We decided to give our pitchers a good rythm by letting them pitch an inning each. It helped us to get more informations about the players and their abilities. Our players all showed great potential, however; with pratice and hard work I know they all will reach their full potential. The way our japanese opponent played the game surprised them. Even if we loose that game 13-0, still it was a good start to build a better team.

Both teams and coaches after the game.
After the debriefing the whole team headed to the Softbank Hawks Stadium to watch a pro game of the NPB. This was a  very exciting moment for all of us. The show was spectacular

The Softbank Hawks Stadium

The journey continue with the welcome party. Our hosts showed us a great sense of hospitality. We exchange gift and showed them our support after the tragedy of Fukushima. The players shared some songs and plays with their new japanese friend. It was a long day for all of us. Welcome in Japan !


Made in Japan ! Day Zero

    Hello everybody ! My name is Jean-Pascal Furet, I'm a 37 years old french baseball coach in Britanny and I'm lucky enough to be  part of the EBCA Coach Exchange Program for  Japan.

  Here we are. After a day long trip from France to Germany through Seoul the whole Team Europe (players and coaches) reached the japanese city of Fukuoka. Even from the plane, while landing, we were able to see dozens of baseball fields. Later we were told that  135 High School teams were playing in the city !

     After meeting our japanese counterparts, we went to check in the hotel room. Noodles and woods chopstick (small barrel) were at the menu for our first meal in Japan. But it's already time for us to prepare our gears to be ready for tomorrow's morning practice... Let's be ready for 7 am.

In Frankfurt, right before the departure.