Stay informed of NEWEST chapters of Almighty Coach with notification directly sent to your email.
Coach Li Xue had once been sprinter, so he was more knowledgeable about speed than Shuren Zhao was. Shuren Zhao could judge athletes' place at the bend, but Li Xue could make direct judgements on a sprinter's speed.
"Yue Zhao is fast!" Li Xue pursed lips, his eyes were shining.
The audience was made up of coaches and athletes. Even though the 200m was not their speciality, they had knowledge on it. As the saying went, "the inexperienced see the appearance, and the experienced appreciate the contents". Yue Zhao's performance had garnered many people's attention.
"That guy took the lead in the beginning. Is that Yue Zhao?"
"I haven't seen him in more than three years. I heard that he retired, and that this is his comeback. I didn't expect that he would still be this strong."
At that moment, Yue Zhao was the first to hit the straight track. Obviously, he was far ahead of the competition.
"He has huge advantage; he will win without a doubt!" Shuren Zhao said with a long sigh. Although the game was still going on, the result was apparent.
Shuren Zhao turned around and said to Li Xue, "Li Xue, you were a sprinter. What do you think of Yue Zhao?"
"He has a nice foundation, and outstanding curve technique. Three years ago, when he was still on our national team, he was a technical player. He has big advantages in the 200m sprint. The only problem is his age; he is 26-years-old, which is older than average. He doesn't have much potential left to be developed. I don't think he is worth developing," said Li Xue.
As Li Xue was speaking, Yue Zhao crossed the finish line first. His time was displayed on the screen.
"20.88 seconds, under 21 seconds. Nice performance," said Shuren Zhao.
"Yeah, such a time is top tier on the national team." Li Xue frowned and considered this for a while, then said, "Maybe we can keep him. In our next phase, we need some high-level ladder players."
With a time under 21 seconds, passing the first phase was a sure thing. But to Yue Zhao, it was a reassurance; it had proved that choosing the 200m sprint was the right decision.
But he was not satisfied with this. He hoped to stay till the end, thus he worked even harder.
In the second phase, the number of athletes were reduced, as was time for isolated practice; group training time, however, increased. Almost every morning the athletes gathered together to practice, and in the afternoon they had isolated training based on their own condition.
Group training was a method which could easily showcase differences in ability. Individual training time and events were the same, but the effect varied. Yue Zhao's age was his weakness, so he didn't make much progress when he worked with young athletes.
But every afternoon, when Yue Zhao trained alone with Dai Li, he always made big progress. Dai Li was helped by "top-level coach" benefits, so his training was indeed more effective than the other coaches on the national team. Yue Zhao's ability was improving day by day. Dai Li estimated, according to Yue Zhao's current improving rate, that he had a large possibility of running in under 20.75 seconds.
On the void terrace, Dai Li was talking to his parents on the phone.
"Mom, don't worry about me, I have enough clothes; I won't catch a cold," Dai Li said, looking up in the sky. A bright moon was hanging there, but there were no stars.
Dai Li suddenly missed old times, when he had seen starry nights quite often. Now he could only see one or two stars twinkling in the dark at night.
Dai Li looked into the distance again. Even though it was night time, there was still someone on the track.
Who practices so late at night? After ending the conversation with his parents, Dai Li zoomed in on the person using his phone's camera.
It looks like Guohong Niu! Didn't he get enough practice during the daytime? Dai Li thought for a second, then decided to take a look himself.
Dai Li took two bottles of sports drink and walked onto the training field. Seeing that it was indeed Guohong Niu who was focused on training, he immediately walked towards him.
"Guohong Niu, why are you giving yourself extra work so late at night?" Dai Li shouted at Guohong Niu.
Guohong Niu stopped immediately once he recognized Dai Li. He looked at Li embarrassingly. Dai Li threw a bottle of sports drink to Guohong Niu, then pointed at the open space on the side of tracks. The two sat down on the ground.
"Why are you still practicing? When you were in Tsinghua University, you were not this active," Dai Li scoffed at Guohong Niu.
Guohong Niu gulped the drink down, then said, "Coach, I want to be stronger!"
"Stronger?" Dai Li looked at Guohong Niu: "Everybody here feels that they are not strong enough; everyone wants to be stronger."
Guohong Niu took a deep breath. He replied, "I always thought that I was pretty good. In Tsinghua, universities in Huajing City, or even among colleges around the country, I was always the best. But once I got to the national team, I finally realized that there are so many people better than me. A lot of athletes are younger than me, yet still perform better than me!"
Dai Li knew that Guohong Niu was having an identity crisis.
People who were able to attend Tsinghua University were one-in-a-million, and Guohong Niu had been at the top, which meant that he was on the best of the best. It was no wonder he had so much confidence.
But there was a gap between college athletes and professionals. Take a complex sport like basketball, for example; when playing against professionals, the "national number one" player from a university was undoubtedly not as good as someone in a professional league.
Sports like sprinting did not contain much cooperation and tactics; almost all events required individual work. Therefore, the gap between college and professional athletes was smaller. Guohong Niu, the top athlete in university, would probably become a great professional. But he needed sufficient time and work to develop in order to shorten the gap.
Honestly, Guohong Niu's performance was not bad; he was above average on the national team. But compared to the top-level athletes, he still had a long way to go.
Considering these factors, Dai Li comforted Guohong Niu. "This is normal. You are on the national team, where the best athletes in the country gather together. A large number of them began training at seven or eight years old, then went to sports schools as teenagers, and have received professional training since then. Compared to them, your training time is way less."
Dai Li patted Guohong Niu's shoulder and said, "Don't put too much pressure on yourself. You are great! What you need is time; once you put sufficient time into your training, you will become a top-level athlete in this country."
"But Sijie Yang joined in the team with me. His best time during training reached B-level qualifying standards for the Olympics. My time is still only around 10.40 seconds. I'm falling behind."
For the 100m sprint, B-level qualifying standard for the Olympics was 10.28 seconds. This indicated that since arriving here, a 0.1-second gap had been created between Sijie Yang and Guohong Niu.
"Sijie Yang is younger than me, and he was not as good as I was; yet in only six months he has outperformed me," Guohong Niu said, clenching his fists. "Coach, can you help me improve? I want to be stronger!"
Enter your email address that you used to register. We'll send you an email with detailed steps to reset your password.
Already a member? Log In