Kittipong Pornchartyingcheep speaks to his players
Bangkok, Thailand, April 4, 2016 - Thai coach Kittipong Pornchartyingcheep has taken Bangkok Glass from one success to the next, helping the club established in 2014 to a remarkable sweep of six titles. The Asian champions will make their FIVB Volleyball Women's Club World Championship debut later this year.
Bangkok Glass first played in the Pro Challenge second division volleyball league in Thailand in 2014, immediately gaining promotion to the country's top division, the Thailand League. Last year, led by Thai superstar spiker Pleumjit Thinkaow and prolific setter Pornpun Guedpard, Bangkok Glass captured the Thailand League and the Super League, the prestigious round-robin tournament which gathers the top six teams from the Thailand League.
Alongside their domestic achievements, Bangkok Glass were also the first Thai club to claim the Asian Women’s Club Championship in Vietnam following a stunning victory over title-holders and favourites Hisamitsu Springs from Japan.
Despite challenges from other strong contenders, Bangkok Glass successfully retained their Thailand League and Super League titles this year. They now prepare to defend their Asian Women’s Club Championship title in the Philippines and are due to make their debut in the FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship to be held later this year.
“I never thought my team would be this successful. Truly, we didn’t come this far to only come this far, so we’ve still got further to go,” said Kittipong in a recent interview.
Kittipong first stepped into the spotlight in 1995 when he helped Thailand win the South East Asian Games title on home soil. As a left-handed spiker, he also won the Best Server award. Kittipong was later in the Thailand team which qualified for the 1998 FIVB Volleyball World Championship Finals in Japan.
Kittipong, however, sustained a serious right knee injury and subsequently called time on his career as a player ahead of the Thai team's departure for the 2003 SEA Games in Vietnam.
“In 1996, I played in the professional league in Malaysia. My team won the first match but went down in the second. I asked my team-mates why our team had lost. In discussion, we found that our team lacked coaching professionalism. I was asked to help. I used new teaching methods and brought in modern training systems, applying the knowledge obtained while I was with the Thailand team. My team improved and eventually captured the league,” said Kittipong.
After that, he coached a Vietnamese men’s team from Ho Chi Minh during a one-month training camp in Thailand. The team were newly-formed with young players, but Kittipong successfully steered the club to third place in the Sting Cup in Vietnam.
“Since then, I have coached an academy team in Vietnam for two years, took on a bigger role to coach Long An VC and also once coached the Vietnam women’s national team. Five years in Vietnam were full of difficulties. The Vietnamese players could not speak English and I had to introduce them to modern training technology. I applied sports science to introduce weight training with physiotherapy and psychological support,” the 44-year-old added.
“I later signed a contract with Bangkok Glass, impressed by the club's professionalism. It was a big challenge and tough mission to make Bangkok Glass successful from the start. I had so much pressure forming a new team as I had to start from zero. I spent most of my time setting up the game plan and selecting the team players for each position. As far as I know, competition statistics seem less necessary and instead I concentrate on studying the tapes thoroughly to win matches one at a time. I go to bed very late every night spending 3-4 hours studying the tapes and thinking about how to cope with the rivals’ tactics, using what our team have. I think teamwork, hard training and good preparation are key factors in our success,” said Kittipong.
The reason he had his name changed (from Apisak Rakchartyingcheep to Kittipong Pornchartyingcheep) is also interesting. “Prior to becoming a coach, a well-known astrologer suggested that I do that for the success of my coaching career. He also said that if I became a coach, the Olympic target could be within my reach.”
Asked about his club's hopes of retaining the Asian Women’s Club crown, Kittipong said, “It will be a tough competition out there. It’s not that difficult to win a tournament, but it will be more difficult to retain the title. We have to try our best and give it all - one match at a time. As for the Women’s Club World Championship, we have to wait and see which teams have qualified and we have to set up our game plan for each match as best we can. It’s not easy to win every match, but we will do our best.”
Kittipong has faith in Buddha and a passion for sacred amulets, which he collects. “It helps me keep cool and calm. The amulets help me to maintain concentration during competitions. When you can hold your nerve, everything will go your way.”