Interview with Koichi Taoka, the Japanese conditioning coach.
We noticed that the Japanese have a different kind of warmup. Why do they shout before they run? Mostly it is a mental thing, it helps to let go of nervousness for example. The whole team does it to focus on the same thing together. When you scream, you have to be in the moment, the whole body does. When you’re in the game, you have to let the energy out, this helps the body to get ready for that. Is the shouting a typical Japanese thing? Yes, most of the Japanese national teams like the soccer team, basketball team, they all do it. How did you become the warm up trainer for the Japanese National team? I played both baseball and softball before, so I have experience from both sports. I was at the right place at the right time and became the conditioning coach. Are baseball and softball on the same level in Japan, or is one considered more important than the other? At this moment baseball and women’s softball are the most famous. If we get good results and win Championships, we have a chance to get at an equal level. Is there a men’s professional softball league in Japan? No, at this moment there is not. Men are just playing for the love of the game.