Young Wan Sohn made volleyball history in Brazil as he coached Minas’s men’s team to three straight Brazilian titles (1984, 1985, 1986). He was responsible for bringing the Asian school of defensive-minded volleyball to Brazil, with the extensive use of gymnastic drills in training. His right-hand man at the time, José Antonio, a former gymnast himself, was the one responsible for overseeing all of Minas’ physical training.
With Sohn’s death in 2011, João became responsible for passing his teachings on. With that mind, current Superliga champion Praia Clube, and home to USA’s Carli Lloyd and Nicole Fawcett, sought his services to complement the team’s coaching staff. He spoke to Globo.com about joining the squad:
“Sohn was had a lot of knowledge about gymnastics. Still, he wanted someone experienced who could pass on some gymnastic elements to athletes. Gymnastics is a sport that requires a lot of flexibility, coordination and a lot of strength. I started working with him, doing the initial part of the work, with stretches, flexibility exercises and some acrobatic exercises, pirouettes, things like that. I like to give athletes tools so they can find out what they need in the court, what they have to do, with autonomy and knowledge to make those decisions.”
Praia’s coach Paulo Coco is very confident in João’s work:
“He comes from gymnastics, and when it comes to basic physical preparation, it is very important methodology to strengthen the musculature. Once we start practicing at full throttle, we will be well conditioned. He has lots of knowledge and the team will be fine physically. Praia will gain a lot with him, not only because of his competence, but also because of his experience in leading big teams.”