Tatsuya Ueta, coach of the
Japanese Men’s National Team since the squad failed to qualify for the 2004
Olympics, has been working tirelessly for his players ever since.
Ueta has tried to improve
his players’ attitude towards being top athletes and to boost their morale.
Furthermore, he has worked on improving physical fitness and fundamental skills
with combined offence. As a result, Japan has improved remarkably in every
aspect through many international matches, making their way to the 2008
While the 2008 Olympics did
not turn out the way Japan had hoped, it provided young players such as Yusuke
Ishijima, Yu Koshikawa, Kunihiro Shimizu, Tatsuya Fukuzawa invaluable
experience and confidence.
Following the Beijing
Games, Team Japan brought in some new blood, such as Yusuke Matsuta and Kazuki
Maeda. The duo joins a competent squad that is gradually emerging from a long
year, the team has successfully qualified for the 2010 World Championship in
Italy and won the Asian Men’s Championship this fall. The team is now ready to
put in a strong showing at the World Grand Champions Cup.
The Japan Volleyball Association appointed Tatsuya Ueta as head coach of
the Japanese Men's National Team in 2004, immediately after the squad failed to
qualify for the Athens Olympics.
The former Junior Men's National Team coach has since worked tirelessly with
the senior squad, introducing a progressive and physically stringent training
regimen that includes many tips and lessons he's learned studying the game
abroad. The recent success of the National Team is entirely due to Ueta's
philosophy and efforts.
Ueta was born in Shikoku, the smallest of Japan's four main islands. He started
playing Volleyball at the age of 12 and developed into an astute middle
blocker. He played Volleyball for high school and university teams and gained a
reputation as a good player even in his school days. He joined Nippon Steel
Blazers in 1987 and played for the National Team from 1989 to 1993.
He was assistant coach of Nippon Steel Blazers from 1995 to 1998, and head
coach of Nippon Steel's successor, Sakai Blazers, from 1999 to March 2001
before joining the Japan Volleyball Association as coach of the Junior National
Ueta worked hard to improve his squad step by step, and as a result, in his
third year as coach in 2007, Ueta's squad beat Italy twice and France once in
the World League. Beating volleyball powerhouse Italy at home and away has
given Ueta's players enormous confidence and enthusiasm. The team is now
convinced that nothing is impossible.
That said, Japan's squad finished a disappointing 9th at the 2007 World Cup,
but the JVA stuck with Ueta in the hopes he could still lead the team to its
first Olympic berth in 16 years. Ueta and the team made the long-cherished
dream a reality by securing a place at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Japan's performance in Beijing left much to be desired, however, and Ueta
discovered weaknesses in the team throughout the competition. But having
witnessed and chronicled those failings, Ueta believes Team Japan can become
one of the world's Top 5 teams in the coming years as long as the shortcomings
are addressed and rectified.
In 2009, Japan has had mixed results, finishing second to last in the
World League before being bounced from next year’s competition by Egypt during a
two-match qualification playoff.
But the team qualified for the 2010 World Championship in Italy and most
recently won its seventh gold medal at the Asian Senior Men’s Championship in