Dragan Djukic – interview for French radio “Ville Lumière”
Dragan Djukic – interview for French radio “Ville Lumière”:
DO NOT BE AFRAID TO BE DIFFERENT!
Can you describe your way and philosophy as a handball coach?
My name is Dragan Djukic, coming from Serbia, EHF Master Coach who has worked many years abroad, in clubs such as: Pick Szeged (HUN), Vardar (MKD), Madeira (POR) and the national teams of Macedonia, Switzerland, Great Britain and Israel. Together with the friends from handball world, we have tried to give to the handball community, something new, something different from other ways of creating a handball education five years ago, the project “Handball4all” – a summer academy for young players and coaches. Our main objective is to connect the handball people from different countries and help them to improve their knowledge of sports and handball skills.
Why did you choose such a path?
When players complete their youth competitions (WCh-21), most of them remain somewhere “between” as they are still not good enough to be the senior national players or high level club players, but in the same moment not any more so “young”, and what’s usually happens is: they stop handball or not develop their potential in line with they have! As we know, summer is the time when people who want to improve the most do on it and therefore it must be used. “Handball4all” is a place where it can be done, because the players are surrounded with the same age players from around the world and a coaches who can help them. Over the years, we found that the Academy is place useful for young coaches too, where they can deepen their experience by working with some of the best trainers – lecturers involved in our project.
What is the primary goal and function of the “Handball4all” project?
We started our project high in the Serbian mountains – on a place called Brzece, Kopaonik, at 1200 m above sea level in a perfect environment (hotel and sport hall together in the same building), but after three years we decided to move in Kladovo, a small town on the border of Serbia and Romania, on the Danube, where we have the ideal working conditions. During the seven days on the Academy our students have four daily training units – each day begins with S&C lesson (instructions relating to the care of their body, nutrition, proper work at the gym etc.), followed by work in the sport hall – morning and afternoon, while the evening is reserved for the theoretical topics. It is important to note that our work is based on individual or small groups of players level, (one on one with a coach), so a player and coach can “feel each other”.
What are the necessary qualities for such a project?
Because of our individual concept, the number of participants is very limited (18-20 players and 10-12 coaches who follow our work). With lecturers – some of the biggest names from the handball world – C. Ortega (ESP), S. Olsson (SWE), D. Adzic (MNE), A.Buligan (ROU), etc., and medical and support staff – the total number of participants is limited to 40 people! It is also important to know that the players who come to the academy are over the U-18 age groups, and we choose them according to quality and position what they play – all for the reason that we have a similar number of players in every position, because we do special training sessions by position in handball game.
How do you see the process of handball training in 10 years?
Thank you for this very important question! My opinion is that we have already reached the maximum number of collective training during the day and in the future we have to go down! In the future, players will have only one collective training per day, where they will work on collective issues such as tactical elements (defense, attack, “fast center” etc.) and the rest of the time will be dedicated to improving individual skills of each individual! For example, why would someone who is very powerful, but with the problems in the technical elements have to spend the same time in the gym with someone who has a good technique, but is not strong enough? We need to take care of the each person individuality, because only on that way our complete team can be better.
What fascinates you in your profession and what you like least?
During my career – now as a handball coach and previously as a player, sport has given me the opportunity to see, meet and better understand people from different countries and different life philosophies. When we are young, we all have the same dream – to change the world, but when we have gained some experience we realize that first we have to change ourselves because we are also part of the world! Personally, I am proud and happy that “Handball4all” project helps some young people to find their own place in the world.
If you can give some advice to young people who want to go through these?
Just not be afraid to be different! Find your own path to the future, and that’s it! Love your profession – do what you really like, listen to your heart and keep your personal dreams! Life is full of challenges and they will come – we have to be ready!
In the end, what do you think about the PSG handball project?
I have great respect for all the French handball done and doing in the last 20 years. At the international level, France has become the strongest handball nations in the world! Last year – 2015’s was amazing, because all French selection (from U-17 to the seniors!) won gold! At the same moment, Franche female handball shows incredible potential. Everything looks like a fairy tale, but as always in life, something “missing”! From the title of Montpellier, (season 2003) Champions League still waiting for the French winner … Project PSG is definitely one of the most interesting in world of sport, not only in handball! Gather in amazing place (Paris, one of the most beautiful cities in the world), collecting all the best players and coaches from all over the world, giving them opportunity to work every day some remarkable things is another example to handball community to follow this and do great things for all of us. I truly hope that all those involved in the PSG project are thinking about the future in a similar way, and will be able to create something that would be recognizable as a long-term brand.
Do you believe it that PSG has a strength to win the Champions League?
I really think that 2016 – is a year of PSG! Everything is (finally!) on the place. Two fantastic coaches, amazing group of players – leaded by the best one what handball world has, icing – unique and inimitable Nikola Karabatic: fighter, leader, champion, winner … PSG is definitely one of my favorites in the Champions League this year. As a friend of some of the people inside the PSG project I have my personal sympathies already on the side of this amazing team, but as a handball coach I have to follow the facts, and they are on the same side! Remains only to wish them good luck and send worm welcome to all handball fans in France!
(The complete interview in the original – in French can be found at: http://www.villelumiere.paris/news/exclu-itw-(vl)-dragan-djukic:-%22je-pense-vraiment-que-2016-est-l’année-du-psg%22-1523)