Thai volleyball coach Kittipong Pornchartyingcheep talks about his career and how he has turned the “Rabbit Women” into an unbeatable team………
Bangkok, Thailand, April 4, 2016 – If there is one Thai volleyball coach who has made much of the impact in recent years, Bangkok Glass’ Kittipong must be the one who is highly-renowned for his resounding success and all about his professional coaching is poised to take his career to reach new heights.
Kittipong, formerly known as Apisak Rakchartyingcheep, is the coach behind a significant success of Bangkok Glass, a Thailand professional volleyball club based in Pathum Thaini. The club, managed by BGFC Sport, was established in 2014, but have so far made a perfect sweep of all six titles of the tournaments they took part.
Bangkok Glass made their debut effort in the 2014 Pro Challenge in Thailand and the convincing wins had granted them a promotion to the highest level of competition, the Thailand League.
Last year, Bangkok Glass, alias the Rabbit Women and starred by national superstar spiker Pleumjit Thinkaow and prolific setter Pornpun Guedpard, captured the Thailand League and the Super League, the prestigious tournament in which only top six teams in the men’s and women’s events in the Thailand League, are eligible for the single round-robin tournament.
Aside from achieving an enviable national reputation, Bangkok Glass also became the first Thai club team ever to reign supreme in the Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship in Vietnam following a stunning victory over title-holders and hot-favourites Hisamitsu Springs from Japan.
Despite daunting challenges from other strong contenders with overseas import players this year, Bangkok Glass made their mark to successfully retain their Thailand League and Super League titles. Repeating the feat in the Thailand League, Bangkok Glass are now ready for their title defence in the Asian Women’s Club Championship in the Philippines and making their debut in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship to be held later this year.
“I have never thought before that my team will be this successful. Truly, we didn’t come this far to only come this far, so we’ve still got further to go,” Bangkok’s Glass’ head coach Kittipong said in his recent exclusive interview.
Kittipong had first gained popularity in 1995 not because he appeared good looking, but he was a major force to help Thailand lift the South East Asian Games victory on home soil, where the left-hander spiker took the Best Server award. Moreover, he was in the Thailand team which qualified for the 1998 World Championship Finals in Japan.
His intension to have a bright prospect as an accomplished player turned sour as Kittipong sustained a serious right knee injury. He called it a day ahead of the team’s departure for the 2003 SEA Games in Vietnam.
“In 1996, I played professional league in Malaysia. My team won the first match but went down in the second. I asked my team-mates why our team lost. In discussion, we found that our team lacked coaching professionalism. I was asked to come for help. I used new teaching method and also brought the modern training system back on track, applying my knowledge obtained why I was with the Thailand team. My team had been improving in leaps and bounds to eventually capture the League,” he recalled his first coaching career.
After that, Kittipong coached a Vietnamese men’s team from Ho Chi Minh during their one-month training in Thailand. The team were newly-formed with young players, but the administration board badly wanted him to make the team publicly known in Vietnam when return. This was his presence felt as a professional coach. As a result, he steered his no-name team to finish third place in the Sting Cup in Vietnam.
“Since then, I had been invited to coach an academy team in Vietnam for two years before taking a bigger role to coach Long An VC and once the Vietnam women’s national team. Five years in Vietnam were full of difficulties. Vietnamese players could not speak English and I had to introduce them to modern training technology. I applied sports science to let them undergo weight training with physiotherapy and psychological supports,” the 44-year-old continued.
“I later signed contract with Bangkok Glass, realising the good welfare they had offered to me and the professionalism Bangkok Glass had. The sports company also own a football club in Thailand.
“It was a big challenge and tough mission to make Bangkok Glass successful from the beginning. I had so much pressure forming a new team as I had to start from zero. I spent most of my times setting up the game plan and selecting the team players for each position. As far as I know, competition statistics is less necessary and I instead 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 how to cope with the rivals’ tactics, using what our team have. I think teamwork, hard training and good preparation are key factors for Bangkok Glass’ success,” said Kittipong.
The reason why he had his first- and family 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 to fulfil my coaching career. He also said that if I become a coach, the Olympics target can be within my reach.”
Asked about Bangkok Glass’ chances to retain their Asian Women’s Club crown, Kittipong said, “It must 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 out in those matches one 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 as we can. It’s not easy to win each match, but we will do our best.”
Interestingly, Kittipong has faith in Buddha and a passion for sacred Buddha amulets. He has collected these amulets. “This helps me keep cool and calm. During in competitive competitions, I maintain concentration well because of these amulets. When you can hold your nerves, everything will go your way.”