Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Milan Djuricic – FK Vojvodina Head coach

'The game is the poetry of Soccer'
“Milan Djuricic is known for his creativity and his extraordinary sense of scouting and educating talented youth players. Djuricic is one of the most respected coaches in Serbia, because of his willingness and ways of developing youth players for the first team. He teaches them to be professionals and guides them into their future career. As the leading man at FC Vojvodina his goal is to repeat the success he had with a young selection like he did last time he was in charge of the team. However, this time around his task is considerably harder since he took charge of team halfway through the season and he did not take part in the selection of the players. He has to work with the players he has and try to restore the club’s standing in the national league to ensure participation in one of the European competitions next season.”Dusan Petrovic talked to Milan Djuricic about his success of educating young talented players. He poetically shares his vision and philosophy the same way he has shared them with youth players for years. His strength is to see the game for what it is and to humbly accept is unpredictability and that is what he tries to teach his players.
“I belong to a Nation which once called itself the 'European Brazil' and I am one of the nostalgic people who love this game with all his heart. Serbia has some good football players and national selections but the problem is we play decadent football and that doesn’t bring spectators to the stadiums. A Serbian team qualifying for the Championship league has become something almost unimaginable. One of the reasons is that we have given up on our mentality to educate players for our own competitions. Nowadays selling players seems to have become a priority in Serbian soccer. As a lecturer at the UEFA college in Serbia I have even bored myself with the story that only the game brings prosperity and that the game is the poetry of soccer. Naturally, this means that players have their freedom, but their movements must have certain meanings. Running around without a plan is useless.”
“Winning or losing isn't everything. It is about accepting the game with all your being. On a pitch unexpected things are always waiting to emerge. However, wise coaches accept it, enjoy it and learn from it. Just watch the ball! The game has rules of its own, and not those that others prescribed to it. The game does not take anybody’s side; it does not always award you with victory nor punishes you with defeat because of good or bad match. Soccer is not always fair. Playing well is an award on its own. Accept the defeat calmly and victory humbly. No great expectations and no great disappointments.”
“If everything is based on a the urge to win or the fear to lose, balance will never be reached. Still, defeat does not come from losing but from not taking the chance to learn something from it, to improve something and to take risks.
There is no task that cannot be carried out. There are no undone actions, no losers that cannot be winners and no favorites that cannot lose. So let the games flow on its own. Do you want to control an uncontrollable situation? Are you worried about the results? Do you care what others say? If you start choking your game, you will end up choking your own efforts and destroy its beauty. If you let your game breath slowly and calmly, you will easily find pleasure and tranquility. Be in a game with all your heart and relax.Give your whole being to the spirit of the game and it will be worthwhile. The heart often has its reasons, which the mind knows nothing about.”
“Why do we compete? To win? To dominate? To show our domination? All these require a passion but passion has two sides. One side encourages and the other preoccupies. Point your passion towards the inner being. Direct your own passion not towards the opponent or victory but towards the cognition of your own potentials i.e. try to express yourself to achieve as much as you can.”
“What is important in a game for you? How important is a value of victory or defeat? Does it reflect your feelings? Do you judge yourself according to your achievements? Do you acknowledge your mistakes? Do you ask others for acknowledgement? Do you depend on them as to prove how much you are worth? Are you excited by achievements of others? The game does not depend on anything; it is on its own. It does not have intentions, messages or consequences. Thus, play it with all you have. Let the game fill you with joy. Then go home, take a hot shower and carry on with your life!”
“How can you evaluate a football player or a coach merely based on statistics? Do statistics serve as an examination? Are there numbers that can measure heartiness, courage and persistence? Do results from outside reflect inner pleasure? Do they appear on a display somewhere? What happens with all those unannounced performances, perfect dribbling, successful shot, or with balls that get stuck in the mud?
“Can a brilliant career be disturbed by an injury? Like plants, young soccer players grow and bloom when nothing is in their way. Wishes make your focus blur, feelings make your intentions numb, and thoughts inhibit your instincts. A real soccer player lives in the now: he takes what the game offers. The past - it should have been done or it must have been done – does not count! The future cannot be controlled. Expectations undermine your strength and weaken your effort. So just let it happen.”
“Watched superficially, the game seems to be interesting and approachable with its lines, rules and codes. Imagine what would happen if these did not exist. Even now the game is still considerably chaotic. Nothing can be accepted as a pure act: plans, patterns and strategies are qualitative but what happens when a crazy ball starts rolling? The moment which you dare to expect or predict... SURPRISE! You lean on your score but in the nick of time things start going wrong. The game does not have rhythm or a reason so you never know what might happen. All you can do is to play the game.”
“You are losing the championship, trailing with one goal. So what?! Breathe in deeply, believe in yourself and in the stream of the game. Be careful and sensitive, watch what is happening. No matter what the situation is, accept the events as they are coming, without forcing the final score. In the climax of the moment there is a space to be coldblooded. With patience everything, even the most serious mistakes, can be corrected and the biggest trail can be erased.”
“A sportsman, who just wants to win, blows his own horn and wants to scare others by putting his own ego before his efforts. A sportsman who understands the game is humbled by its greatness, complexity and mystery. You can never solve it or beat it. The game teaches you to be humble in its presence, to find peace and tranquility inside yourself, to be careful with victory as well as ready for defeat. Sportsmen, who really appreciate a game, will start to appreciate its real place in sport. “
The body
“Do not think too much because your thoughts will influence your game: fear, doubt, failure even a wish for perfection. Unburden your spirit and leave the control to your body. Eliminate your plans; let your natural rhythm flow. Do not worry about results and they will happen despite of it.”
“To be a player is difficult enough, but to lead other players is the ultimate paradox. For a coach, this means to be present and simultaneously invisible, enabling the game for players with their rules. Showing but not telling. Lecturing, without saying a word and in a way that you as a coach can also learn something. Developing a technique, knowledge and trust, and thenscatter yourself in the air. The secret of leadership is keeping five people who hate you away from five people who are indecisive.”
Young coaches
“Young coaches must stick to the principles and practice of the game which means to apply this with flexibility. The question of principle in a game is always a question of habit and discipline. This is a well known fact for defense, but for offense the difference between who wins and who was beaten must be made. A task in an exercise is very important if applied in a correct way. I will try to explain that by presenting my first exercise and in every next exercise the task of the first exercise will show how complicated and simultaneously simple football is.”
“Soccer is becoming faster; therefore ball circulation is becoming faster. A good way to practice this is in 5v5 game, in reduced spaces. The 5v5 games I use are played on a standard pitch and divide it into 3 zones. Each zone has its own rules, which correspond to the play which is needed in each of the thirds of a pitch in a full 11v11 game. In the first third (defense - zone A) the players must pass the ball like a buildup, finding the open space with patience and discipline. They must then advance to the middle third (midfield - zone B) where they must pick up the pace and quickly pass and run to advance to the final third (offense - zone C) where they must find the open space, without limitations, and finish on goal. The tasks for this exercise are to maintain possession, apply fast ball movement, support your teammates, penetrate into the open space and finish on goal."
"All the other exercises presented will have similar tasks and will help to teach your players to judge situations. How do we use the space around us? Which movements do we apply? Who is in the best position to see the game? Every inch of the pitch will be important, as players must use the spaces around them to find the open spaces elsewhere on the pitch."
I would advise all young coaches to do the following: Be honest towards yourself and to those who deserves that. Be prepared to change yourself and to improve yourself. Use your own head and ask the right questions, at least to yourself. Face the truth and do not let your spirit be defeated. Everything has its end except what is authentic.”

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