“I really prepared a lot this year with no regrets. I think the 2023 season will be a turning point. I hope you will watch over me.”
People around me even talked about whether I had plastic surgery this winter. SSG Landers infielder Choi Joo-hwan (35) raised expectations for the 2023 season with a completely different look.
On the 11th (Korean time), Choi Joo-hwan, whom we met at the SSG 1st team spring camp held in Vero Beach, Florida, USA, said, “Baseball is really fun these days. I saw it. The main character was Song Tae-seop, not Kang Baek-ho, and I thought it was because I had a torn forehead like that character, so I wanted to be like that.”
Recently in Korea, the movie Slam Dunk, based on the basketball cartoon of the same name, has gained a lot of popularity. The main character in the original work is power forward Kang Baek-ho, but in this movie, point guard Song Tae-seop, who has not received much attention, is the main character. He is short in height as he is mainly responsible for distributing the ball in the game, but his strength is his dynamic play that stirs the opponent’s camp with quick feet.
It is difficult to immediately associate Song Tae-seop with Choi Joo-hwan, who has a total of 14 stolen bases during 15 seasons in the KBO League. However, he had a good reason for saying ‘I want to be like Song Tae-seop’. Choi Joo-hwan, who I met after SSG’s Korean Series victory last year, has become so thin that people who haven’t seen him in a long time won’t recognize him. Choi Joo-hwan said, “I lost 7kg this offseason, but I lost more than 6kg of body fat. Even in 2020, when I lost weight, it wasn’t this much. I feel like I’ve lost waste.”
It was a big thing to start the exercise that I really needed. Choi Joo-hwan said, “In July of last year, when my grades hit the bottom, I really worried about ‘what I need’. After moving in 2020, I have never been lazy in exercising. ’, and I remembered that the instructor who was in charge of the PT at the time of FA stopped working, so I couldn’t do it.” He continued, “Except for 2019 when I had a side injury, my grades were good from 2016 to 2020 스포츠토토when I did the PT. At that time, my quickness was good and my bat speed was fast. there was,” he added.
I made up my mind to go back to basics and learned to run again. The answer was surprisingly close by. Choi Joo-hwan said, “It’s hard to find a place where professional track and field trainers give one-on-one PT, but it was close to my house. The timing was also right, and it was a place that opened in July of last year.” Right away, I started receiving PT in a new place. I felt that I was a frog in the well until this point.”
No matter how much an athlete is, it is not easy to conduct PT in two places. There are over 100 videos of newly added training this offseason. As hard as it was, the income was certain. It was a bonus to find a clue about frequent lower body injuries.
Choi Joo-hwan said, “While working out this time, I became acquainted with track and field athlete Kook-young Kim (32, Gwangju City Hall), and when he saw me running, the PT trainer said the same thing. He said that he could be faster than now. He said that he couldn’t use the ground at the time, so he said, “I can’t use 100% of my strength.” I also heard that my ankle strength was very weak. I paid attention to these parts and reinforced them, and now my elasticity has improved a lot. My speed is still 100%. I haven’t run, but my coaches have already told me that base running is different. Until I retire, I plan to start this exercise basically in the offseason.”
As he said, Son Ji-hwan (45), the SSG first-team defensive coach, praised him for being “in the best shape,” and Kim Min-jae (50), baserunning and operations coach, said, “(Choi) Joo-hwan has really made up his mind and prepared.
It is true that there were many things that did not meet expectations after signing a 4-year free agent contract for a total of 4.2 billion won ahead of the 2020 season. Choi Joo-hwan did not avoid this part and wanted to be able to prove it sexually. At the end of the 2023 season, I hoped that I could mention the famous lines in Slam Dunk myself.
Choi Joo-hwan said, “Last year in the Korean series, if I was in the mode of breaking down (the important thing is not breaking), now I feel like I was born again. This year, after I have done what I set out to do, I can say the famous line of Jung Dae-man in the slam dunk, ‘I’m a man who doesn’t know how to give up’. I really want to say it,” he said forcefully.