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Just as coach Xu had said, the next day a leader from the Provincial Sport Team spoke to Dai Li and asked if he would like to be a shot put coach for the youth team. Because Li knew it was a good job, he agreed without hesitation. The following day, after Li went through relocation procedures, he reported directly to the Youth Sport Team.
The Provincial Youth Sport Team was regarded as a reserve team for the Provincial Sport Team. Outstanding athletes on the youth team would be sent to the Provincial Sport Team for further cultivation. The athletes ranged anywhere from 16 to 18. People who were younger than 16 belonged to the junior team, while people older than 18 left the youth team. If one didn't get selected after the age of 18, it indicated that the individual wasn't capable of being a good athlete. The best job the person could get was killing time on a city sports team.
Due to the age limitation, the youth team had a smaller scale than the Provincial Sport Team. A lot of team members came and left. Every year the sports school and city sports teams would recommend some good performers to the Provincial Youth Team. Those who had potential would be selected to the sports team within months. Others who knew that they wouldn't have a bright future usually gave up early.
"Agent Chief Coach of the Hanbei Youth Sport Team Shot Put Program." Dai Li read the title of his new position on the relocation document.
"Agent" meant that he was not formally employed, but it would not affect his power. Such a phenomenon was common among these systems, such as an agent mayor, agent director, agent dean, etc. Even though they had the title of "agent," they would be a formal employee sooner or later. Nobody would treat them as actual "agents."
The chief coach of the youth team was named Bin Lu. He was forty-years-old and looked capable. Because there were only a few coaches on the team, Lu was also in charge of the hurdle team.
Once Dai Li came, coach Lu showed Li around the facility so he could get familiar with the new environment and meet his new colleagues. Then they went to the training field used for throwing events. There were four field events: shot put, discus, javelin, and hammer throw. Shot put occupied the least amount of the field.
For the javelin and hammer throw, professional athletes could easily throw over sixty meters. The top world athletes could throw more that seventy meters; for discus, ordinary athletes could do forty to fifty meters. But for shot put, it should be outstanding if one threw over sixteen meters.
"We have five members left on the shot put team. Here is the list." Coach Lu handed a piece of paper to Li.
"Only five? How could that be?" Li was confused. Being a shot-putter wasn't very difficult. The sport didn't have high requirements. In addition, this was a provincial training team. How was it possible that they only had five members? Even a high school shot put team had more people than this.
Coach Lu smiled embarrassedly. "The Provincial Sport Team selected some high-flyers right before the new year. A new round of athlete selection hasn't begun yet, so we only have five people left on the team."
"But isn't this team too small? Only five people? I used to hold a training class for special talent students and even I had eight students." Li's words conveyed a sense of complaint.
Lu looked indifferent. He explained, "The annual selection means a lot to these teenagers, especially those who have reached the age of eighteen. If they can't be selected by the Provincial Sport Team, they are still too old to stay on our team any longer. They have no choice but to leave. As for newcomers, who are middle school students, they won't register until they graduate in July. Due to these reasons, every year from the Spring Festival to June, we have a period of shortage." Coach Lu sighed pitifully. "Moreover, a large number of athletes will give up midway."
"Why?" asked Li.
"For all kinds of reasons. Some give up due to family pressure. Their parents don't support their aspirations to be athletes, so they are forced to return to school. Some can't bear the tough training. Some are used to receiving amateur training, so now when they have professional training it is much harder than what they are accustomed to. They can't stand it, so they quit. Others think that they won't perform well, and would rather quit early to save time and effort." Lu thought for a second then continued, "And some athletes leave for psychological reasons."
"What kind of psychological factors?" Li was curious.
Lu explained, "People who are selected for our youth team are talented teenagers. They are the top athletes in their counties, and even at the top level of their city sports teams usually. But here on the provincial team, we have so many amazing athletes that these "top athletes" are far from good. Some teenagers who once won championships in city competitions can't even find a place at the medium level. Due to this huge gap, many good athletes give up."
"Right, being an athlete is not an easy job. I feel lucky to still have five people after hearing your explanation," Li laughed.
"Don't be too optimistic. The five you have are ordinary students. They don't have special talent, nor do they work hard. They just kill time. I guess the reason why they haven't left yet is because they haven't found anything else to do yet." Lu patted Li's shoulder and said, "All in all, during this period of time your main task is to adjust yourself to the new environment. Don't think too much about their performance. In the next half of the year, when we have newcomers, then it will be time to work seriously."
"Let's call roll first!" Li clapped his hands. The five athletes stood in a line.
"Zhanshan Zhao, Lei Qin, Feng Luo, Jiankang Chen, Bin Wang."
The five athletes answered "here" one by one. Li got to know all of them. While while doing roll call, Li also detected them. The results upset Li. Among the five students, Jiankang Chen had the best talent, a Level C, while the others only had a C-. None of their ability points were above 100.
In shot put events, young athletes weigh less, which is a disadvantage. But even so, isn't the ability too low? Li couldn't help but shake his head.
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