‘Mental Coach Jegal’ Doesn’t Believe In Luck—Until His Luck Runs Out

When Jegal Gil was a boy his father told him that life was a losing hand. No matter how hard a person works, their efforts are no match for luck—and some people are just born lucky, with all the money and connections they need. Without that advantage they will always win. Gil, played by Jung Woo in the k-drama Mental Coach Jegal, refuses to share his father’s pessimism. He does not believe in luck, only hard work. Then his luck runs out.

After years of mastering tae kwon do, Gil is a skilled fighter, one of the nation’s best. His gritty determination and excellent skills do not protect him from being seriously injured in a match with Ku Tae-man, played by Kwon Yool. Tae-man is one of the lucky people his father warned him about. After the incident Tae-man’s sports career remains on track while Gil is banned from playing tae kwon do.

Fast forward 13 years and Gil is now Mental Coach Jegal, the author of two books on why no one should work so hard. At anything. Ever. The coach now contends that a person could work hard, making great sacrifices, and it might still never be enough. So, why bother working so hard? Why not just live a comfortable life with lowered expectations. This sentiment makes the coach a bestselling author among readers struggling to survive—and perhaps failing to thrive—in a competitive world.

Because Coach Jegal counsels fellow athletes, a friend asks him to help his sister, Cha Ge-eul, an award-winning short-track speed skater undergoing a slump. Ga-eul, played by recent Emmy winner Lee Yoo-mi, has some emotional issues—and also some professional enemies—which keep her from achieving her full potential.

However, she’s not interested in Coach Jegal’s help. She not only refuses his offer of counseling, but accuses him of giving up and giving in to his own injury, which some have labeled psychosomatic. The coach might benefit from some coaching regarding his own choices. Is he making the most of a bad situation or has he truly given up?

The drama also stars Park Se-young as athletic counselor Park Seung-ha. As Gil’s former counselor she can remember Gil’s behavior after his career-ending injury. It looks like they may wind up working together.

Jung Woo can be seen in A Model Family and appeared in the dramas Mad For Each Other, Reply 1988 and Reply 1994. Lee won her Emmy for a guest appearance on Squid Game. She can also be seen in the dramas All Of Us Are Dead and 365: Repeat The Year.

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