“My soccer is purely the work of my father,” said Son Heung-min. World renowned soccer player Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur frequently expresses appreciation for his father Son Woong-jung, manager of Son Football Academy. It is well known that the father had taught his son basic skills and attitude required of a football player from a young age. The father recently published an essay describing his life and how he raised his son titled “Everything starts from the basics.”
In the essay, Heung-min in the third grade in elementary school said that he wanted to join his older brother playing soccer. The father asked him why he was interested, saying that it would be very difficult. Whenever Heung-min was asked if he wanted to play, the answer was always yes. Whenever Heung-min complained of training, his father always reminded him that “you wanted to play.” “My father’s words were true. I couldn’t complain about it because he was right- I was the one who wanted to play,” the 29-year-old football star player recalls.
When Heung-min turned 25, his father designed a stage-specific program to help him maximize his skills. They focused on honing basic skills for seven years. When Heung-min entered middle school, they concentrated on training with both feet. The father had his son use his left foot first when putting on socks or pants or practiced shooting. Heung-min is an active “two-footed” player and is known for using both feet in shooting goals. When he was 18, he focused on shooting practice, shooting 500 times with his left and right foot, respectively. He chose five points and practiced on shooting goals detouring those points. Two of them are currently known as “Son Heung-min zones.”
Training was not the only area the father emphasized, he hoped that his son would have love for books. He would read 100 books a year, extracting some 30 of them, underlining certain excerpts and suggest Son to read them.
He also wrote about Heung-min’s close ties with his elder brother, Heung-yoon. Heung-min said that his brother had been his best collaborator. “Whenever Heung-min faces difficulties as a professional player, he calls up his brother to talk about it,” says the father. “I doubt whether he would have made it through the trainings without the support of his brother.”
The father no longer trains or looks after his son as he did when he was younger, as Heung-min is self-disciplined. He says that the best moment for his son has not arrived yet. “It is soon to come,” he says.
Dong-Wook Kim firstname.lastname@example.org