A shadow appeared behind pitcher Na Kyun-an (25) while talking at the Lotte Giants dugout.
Team senior Han Hyun-hee gestured to the people around her to be quiet, then poured cold water on the nape of Na Gyun-ahn’s neck during the interview.
It would be surprising to an ordinary person, 안전놀이터but Na Gyun-an did not respond with an expression of ‘I knew it’ and continued talking.
This is a scene where you can get a glimpse of Na Kyun-an’s secret to fighting hard, who was reborn as the savior of the Lotte mound at the beginning of the season.
Na Kyun-an is making a brilliant fight with 3 wins and an average ERA of 1.45 in 3 games of the season.
He is tied for the league leader in wins, averaging over 6 innings with 18⅔ innings over 3 games.
There are different interpretations of the appearance of a player in his mid-20s who was a catcher until just three years ago and then transformed into a pitcher and dominates the mound.
Na Kyun-an, whom I met at Sajik Stadium in Busan on the 19th, credits his teammates with saying, “Every time I go out, I get a lot of help from the defense. I scored a lot in the attack, so I threw it comfortably”, but that’s not all.
Lotte coach Larry Sutton cites Na Kyun-ahn’s innate finger sense as the secret.
It is a story that his excellent control and quick learning ability to throw a variety of balls, including curves, sliders, forkballs, and curves, stand out.
In the second half of last year, Na Kyun-an learned the curve from his teammate Park Se-woong and began to produce good results in earnest after fitting it.
However, he said, “I know it’s because people around me say it feels good in my hands, but honestly, I’m not sure.”
Kang Young-shik, Lotte bullpen coach, finds the answer in mental strength.
Na Kyun-ahn is technically good at control, so he can throw the ball wherever he wants, and he usually trains to improve his control.
Coach Kang explained, “He has basic skills as a pitcher, but he doesn’t have emotions going back and forth and controls it well no matter what.”
Many coaches order you to keep a ‘poker face’ on the mound no matter what.
However, emotional regulation is not at will.
Even a veteran pitcher who has played in the professional league for more than 10 years is sure to get his face flushed after a series of missed hits.
Coach Kang explained, “In a situation where other pitchers would get excited and try to throw harder and collapse, Na Kyun-an tries to throw more accurately. He knows how to control himself.”
In a word, ‘resilience’ to return to the original emotion without being frustrated when hardships hit is excellent.
In addition, Na Gyun-an has the coolness to objectively diagnose her current condition and find the answer.
Coach Kang cited the Daegu Samsung Lions match on the 15th, which was somewhat shaken with 3 runs in 5 innings, as an example. He praised him, saying, “I’m envious of myself (a former pitcher) to see him calmly find the ball.”
Despite such compliments, Na Kyun-ahn prepares for the next appearance without excitement or excitement.
It is the first time this year that he starts a season as a starting pitcher, so he puts special effort into maintaining his stamina.
Na Gyun-an said, “In the second half of last year, his stamina dropped a lot. Now, he has a lot of worries to maintain his good figure until later.”