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02.04.2015, 13:14
Never say never when it comes to a new challenge
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INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK: Although German record international Grit Jurack repeatedly said that she would never want to become a coach, she suddenly finds herself on the bench of Germany's women's national team
 

Never say never, when it comes to a new challenge

Less than a year ago, Grit Jurack said in an interview with eurohandball.com: "Never ever will I become a coach, because it is too boring."

This did not hold true for long, and now the 37-year-old German record international (306 matches, 1579 goals) is a coach – namely the assistant of new German women’s national team coach Jakob Vestergaard.

Both had worked together in the past, when Vestergaard was Jurack’s coach at Danish side Viborg HK. Together they won the EHF Champions League in 2006, 2009 and 2010.

In 2012 Jurack was forced to end her career because of ongoing severe shoulder problems. Since then she always stayed close to handball, but had taken on any official role - until it was announced by the German Handball Federation at the beginning of March that Jurack would become the women's national team manager and also, once she has obtained her licence, also the team's assistant coach.

In this "Interview of the Week" with eurohandball.com Grit Jurack explains her new role and talks about her ambitions with the German team, with which she had two World Championship bronze in 1997 and 2007.

eurohandball.com: Some months ago you said that you never ever want to become a coach. What did change?

Grit Jurack: Jakob Vestergaard phoned me and asked, whether I would want to be part of his team if he became German national team coach. I know him so well, so I arranged a contact to the German Handball Federation. Eventually he got the job and as I had promised joining him, I'm at his side now, as his assistant and team manager. Hence becoming a coach is 100 per cent connected to Jakob Vestergaard. It was his biggest wish.

eurohandball.com: In the German men’s national team former international Oliver Roggisch has the same job title as you? Are both jobs comparable?

Grit Jurack: Officially I'm the team manager at the moment - like Oliver Roggisch. He has a more administrative job though. But when I finally hold my coaching license in my hands, I'm an assistant coach. Let’s say I'm the right hand of Jakob, even though I'm left handed (smiles). I'm part of all training sessions and of all team meetings. My new tasks mean a lot of fun to me, and it started really well. I know Jakob well, so I knew what to expect.

eurohandball.com: So at some point you will become a 'real' coach?

Grit Jurack: It is truly not as boring as I had expected it to be. My main task is the individual coaching of players, and I believe I can help the team in the way I do my job.

eurohandball.com: Is it a problem for you that in earlier days you had been teammate of some of the players you coach now?

Grit Jurack: Not at all! When I was playing for example with Anja Althaus in Viborg, I had already been a key player and a leader, so the new role is not a problem. Quite the contrary, it fits perfectly. It is more exciting to get to know the younger players with whom I have not played before.

eurohandball.com: How is workload shared between you and Jakob Vestergaard?

Grit Jurack: In our first week it was something like 80:20 per cent. We prepare all sessions together, but he is the boss. However, I see and recognise a lot of things, he cannot see.

As mentioned, my task currently is more or less the individual improvement of the players and to be a helping hand to Jakob. And for sure it is obvious that I cannot be part of all camps and trainings, as my two little sons have a clear priority. But I believe I can manage both tasks simultaneously.

eurohandball.com: When Germany was awarded the right to host the Women’s World Championship in 2017, the former President of the German Handball Federation (Ulrich Strombach) intended to make you the official ambassador of the event – will you get this job, too?

Grit Jurack: Since the awarding in 2011 and after I had finished my career in 2012, we did not talk about that anymore. But if they ask me, my answer will definitely be yes.

eurohandball.com: Besides being a mother and the new job with the national team, what does a normal day of Grit Jurack look like?

Grit Jurack: For some weeks I have been working as a sports journalist for the German-Danish newspaper Flensborg Avis, as I still live very close to the Danish border and have the language skills. First it was just a traineeship, now I'm responsible for the weekly page of the Danish minority in our region.

eurohandball.com: And this page consists of handball only?

Grit Jurack: Definitely not! I have to cover all sports, for example one of my last jobs was a portrait of a powerlifter. This task is very exciting and currently we are in negotiations about a future job.

Photos: Sascha Klahn (DHB) / Björn Pazen / EHF


TEXT: Björn Pazen / me / ts
 
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