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24.10.2013, 17:20
My recipe for future stars: Be persistent and work hard
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BLOG: In his first blog for ehfCL.com Slovenian international and Kielce playmaker Uros Zorman reveals how handball prevailed over other sport arts in his childhood, what was his longest period without handball and how a lack of back players in his youth team ruinied his goalkeeper's career.
 

My recipe for future stars: Be persistent and work hard

I grew up in Štepanjsko naselje, a big neighbourhood on the Eastern outskirts of Ljubljana in Slovenia. It was a typical blue-collar neighbourhood with lots and lots of blocks of flats and a skyscraper here and there. Štepanjsko naselje is also well known for a number of top athletes that used to pound its streets as kids back in the day, but more on that maybe in a latter post.

I first came in contact with handball in my elementary school Karel Destovnik - Kajuh. I also played basketball and baseball, even tried judo, but I liked handball the most. Tine Svetič, my PE professor, recommended that I join a club, and since Kodeljevo hall and the legendary Slovan HC were just a 10 minutes' walk away, that was an obvious choice.

I don't have a clear recollection of my first handball steps, but I remember that I started on the left wing. I was a bit shorter (and chubbier) than the rest of my teammates back then, and I didn't care much for running, so I later switched to goalie. And I was quite good at it, too!

For instance, I was nominated as a top goalkeeper at a tournament in Prague, and maybe I would still be between the sticks, if it weren't for that tourney in Brežice. We arrived with three 'keepers and short of outfield players. Coach Makovec needed a volunteer to play in the field, and I quickly raised my hand.

I was the best player and the best scorer in that tournament and right there and then my fate was sealed. There was no turning back. I enjoyed my new position, the centre back, and that is where I have played ever since.

Longest period without handball

I was a lively kid, always up for a prank, but those were just innocent goofs usually involving toothpaste or an occasional fire extinguisher. And I really loved handball.

I was lucky that my parents supported me all the way, but they could be strict too, which, in retrospect, was a good thing. When I was around 13, I had some problems with grades and they banned me from training until I improved them. It took me three weeks to take care of that, and that was the longest period without handball in my life to date.

Playing handball also has its not so happy sides. I remember it was sometimes extremely difficult for me to stay disciplined for a certain drill or running exercises. Now that I'm a pro, I feel the same way about pre-season camps - they usually are not much fun and they take forever.

But, just as drills are important for your development as a player, "bootcamps" shape You for the coming season, so you have to grind your teeth and do what is expected of you.

When the time came for me to decide if I wanted to turn pro, I was somewhat lucky. It was 1999, I'd just transfered to Prule HC, who were on the upward curve, playing in Europe, training twice a day and all that circus.

Carrer of policeman "ruined" by own commander

I had finished the Law enforcement school and I was starting my policeman's career. I was at a crossroads - a life of a pro athlete with all its ups and downs or a secure job? A tough decision for a 19-year-old kid. But, thankfully, my boss, commander Kopše was also a sportsman. He said: "You should try this out for a couple of seasons, and if things don't work out, the job will be waiting for you regardless."

I was lucky with my career, it took off, so I never even considered returning to the police force.

When I was a boy, I looked up to the players in Slovan's team. There was not a lot of handball coverage in the media back then, but just to be in the Slovan's sports park was a huge deal for me. Later, when handball became more and more a part of my life, I admired players like Richardson and Jovanović, and I tried to be like a cross between those two.

But, I guess, when you progress in your career, you become more and more your own.

I have my own handball academy now and one of the most important advice I can give to the future handball superstars is: be persistent and work hard. Simple as that.

Oh, and it also helps if you are also a bit cunning ...

Talk soon!

Uroš


TEXT: Uros Zorman, Vive Targi Kielce centre back
 
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