Famous Japanese Volleyball Player: Saori Kimura
On the eve of her 30th birthday, Japanese volleyball player and legend Saori Kimura announced her retirement and the reason she gave was to have more time to focus on her family.
Known internationally by three popular nicknames
Saori Kimura is one of the world's most acclaimed volleyball outside hitters and is known for being a versatile athlete that could play at an elite level in multiple positions.
The four-time Olympian (2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016) and Japanese National volleyball team, team captain was born in 1986.
Twenty years later she used her incredible energy and impeccable hitting technique while on the national Japanese team, as while representing her team in many major international qualifying events to propel them to countless victories which culminated in a Bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics.
Standing well over six feet Saori is best known for hitting a sharp cross court hit from her Zone 4 to the Zone 4 on the opposing court.
She is known for being able to see an open space on the opposing court and placing the ball exactly to that spot.
Saori won numerous Best Server awards in some of the biggest international tournaments during her playing career.
One of her most standout performances occurred during the 2016 Rio Olympic quarterfinals, against one of their biggest rivals China, where in an epic match she was a guiding force in helping Japan beat China in the five sets (3-2) and leading the way to the medal.
One of the biggest things that Saori has helped to build in order to make her team strong, was putting a big focus on team chemistry.
She’s often credited for the success of the team's chemistry stating how important collaboration is among teammates when it comes to volleyball success.
Saori Kimura spent a lot of time in Turkey, as a pro volleyball player where she played with some top clubs, including Galatasaray Daikin.
She also played on one of Turkey's top professional volleyball team's Vakifbank.
In 2014, she returned to Japan where she joined Toray Arrows, one of the top pro volleyball teams in Japanese history which is based in Otsu.
By the end of 2016, a few rumors started circulating about Saori possibly retiring from indoor volleyball to dedicate time to playing pro beach volleyball.
The rumors only proved to be half true, because Saori Kimura was actually planning on quitting sports altogether, but it was that so she could focus on other things in her life, namely her new marriage and family.
After several successful seasons, Saori Kimora decided to announce her retirement in 2017.
After many years on the court, the famous Japanese volleyball player opted to step aside, in order to focus on her family and start her "second life," in her own words.
Her national fans, her international audience and the most important members of the volleyball industry honored the her, praising her commitment and contribution to the sport at a special retirement event.
Saori Kimura has inspired many women in Japan and around the world.
She is very conscious of the many opportunities volleyball has given her through life.
"I've been playing volleyball since I was a child, and it helped me grow up" she recalls.
Saori acknowledges the sport allowed her to travel the world and spend many years doing something she was genuinely passionate about.
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I share alot of individual, partner and easy-to-do volleyball serving drills we do in class with my followers.
Many of these volleyball practice drills you can do at home by yourself or try at your next practice with your teammates.
If you're a B team or JV player trying to make varsity next year...your goal should be to complete 1000 reps a day of at least three of the basic skills on your own...volleyball passing, serving and setting should be at the top of the list.
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