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TELEKOM VESZPRÉM Ⓒ
Handball Team
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“Technical expertise, authority and good attitude”
2021-11-01 10:27
I was a very energetic child, many times my parents would expect me home on time, but I would still be roaming around the streets with my friends; I was careless when it came to getting home on time, so I was often punished for that.” - said Marija Lojanica, our team’s fitness coach, as she was reminiscing about her childhood.
 
Marra – which is how her friends call her – fell in love with the world of sports very early on, however handball wasn’t the first sport she became familiar with.

First, I tried out athletics, high jump specifically, and I switched to handball later on. In the beginning I was a goalkeeper, then later I played as a playmaker in my hometown’s team, Kraljevo. While playing handball, I was also simultaneously preparing for medical school and the university of physical education, because for a long time I couldn’t decide which route I wanted to take – and to my parents’ surprise – I chose the latest, physical education.”

Time affirmed her choice, as she quickly found herself among the European sporting elite.

I worked with Ana Ivanovic (Serbian tennis player, former leader of the WTA world rankings) in the Serbian National Tennis Team, as well as a number of Serbian handball players, volleyball players and even football players. I never wanted to become a coach. I happened to work with children but I quickly realized that coaching isn’t my world and my passion.”
 
According to Marra, there isn’t another sport in the world, which is more physically demanding than handball.

Handball is a “big boy” sport. Besides American football and rugby, handball is probably the most aggressive sport, full of running, jumping and changing of direction. We shouldn’t even compare it to volleyball or football. In handball, men weighing 120 kilograms are battling each other, which is why handball is one of the most demanding sports of the world.”
 
Looking at it externally, Marija could be considered to be in a difficult position, while being the only female member of the technical staff.

I never felt like, and I was never made to feel like I was the only woman around the team; I never considered this to be an important factor. When we travel to away games, sometimes the hosting team’s officials automatically assume that I’m a manager or an administrator, they don’t assume that in fact I could be the member of the technical staff. The players don’t really care about this, they focus on doing their jobs in the gym and on the field. If you have the technical expertise, the authority and a good attitude towards your job, it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman.”
 
It happens that there are female members of a technical staff, but it’s rarely the conditioning coach, whose job is improving the stamina and performance of the aforementioned “big boys”.

Many people assume that I’m not as tough as my male colleagues, and this just isn’t the case. I try to bring out the maximum from the boys and get them out of their comfort zones – within sensible boundaries of course. I believe in working hard, however creating a fun atmosphere could be just as vital, so the players actually enjoy my gym sessions, not resent them. As longs as everybody is working hard and giving their best efforts, I allow for casual conversation and joking around. The boys understand this, they make up great community within the team, which greatly helps me and makes my work easier.”
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