Ristova: Adequate training process results with winning titles

Vardar's pioneers are the champions of Macedonia, and we talked to Dragana Ristova, a former national team player, about their success.

Our youngest players won the national title within their category by defeating their peers from Metalurg. The team is composed of girls aged 12-14, and this year they competed within the pioneers' and the cadets' league organized by the MHF.

The pioneers won the national title, which means you are the best team in this category. Describe us the road to this title.

"It appeared that we were on the right track in terms of the training process and the development of the girls in this generation. This season we competed in the cadets' league, but we did not succeed to secure placement on the F4. However, the matches in the cadets' league meant a lot in the pioneers' league. We did not have problems in the pioneers' league, including the F4 tournament. I think that the adequate training process I conducted together with my sister Biljana Pecevska and controlled by Raul Gonzalez was the right way to achieve bigger improvement compared to last year."

Besides winning trophy on the F4 tournament, Vardar won 2 of the 3 individual awards. Andrea Sedloska was the best player of the F4 tournament and Joana Trajkovska was the best goalkeeper.

"All girls from the team contributed to the success of the whole team, as well as for the individual awards. The whole team worked together and it is our success, because due to the team play, these 2 girls won their awards."

Vardar is a big family, which enables exchanging experience with other coaches. You mentioned that you train the pioneers together with Raul Gonzalez. How did this cooperation influence the team and your training approach?

"For me and my sister, Raul is of big help, and he wants to help us and show us his working system. First, we learned from him, and then we implemented all things he thought us. I like the way he works, and how children improve systematically. For my sister and me as well as for this generation, Raul's help is very useful. I think that this season we learned a lot from him, but there is much more to be learned. My sister and I are very happy for his wish to cooperate with us."

This season you competed in two categories – cadets and pioneers. Was the pioneers' category a priority from the very beginning, or it was a thing that came by itself during the season?

"On the contrary, we had a big chance to secure placement on the cadets' F4. However, only one goal separated us from the F4. Although our girls are 2 years younger than the rest in this category, and there is a big physical difference too, they were very close to the final tournament. We fought with Kumanovo. We lost from them in the first part of the season with 6 goals, and we defeated them, but with not enough goals. However, matches in this league showed our improvement. Precisely, we were losing matches from Metalurg with 15-goals difference in the first past of the season. However, in the 2nd part of the season, we were losing with only 4-5 goals difference, which indicates our improvement. We have quality for that league too, and our role there was not just to gain experience. One year is a long training process, and we wanted to play within the cadets' league in order to be aware of our improvement."

Last year, only the talents you watched in the Vardar Junior League and the tournament "One life, one love" joined the team. How do you select players?

"Potential, intelligence and knowledge is the most important for us. The girls that joined us last year improved a lot. If we compare our game from last year, we could see we moved one level higher this year. Every girl that does not overcome all these things will stagnate, and as Raul said, we do not have the magic stick to make someone part of the team overnight. Every girl needs to work much more in order to catch up what she missed last year."

What are your plans in terms of selection of players?

"There will not be any changes, although I cannot exclude the possibility to recruit a new girl. These girls have been training hard for 2 years, and if we see a girl with a potential, she might join us during the season, be she would have to be extraordinary. For now, we do not think of any big changes."

If you make a comparison with your past personal experience, do you think that these girls are ready to dedicate their lives to handball, which is an important condition for making a successful career?

"The handball atmosphere in Macedonia has changed from the time I was playing. We played because we loved the game, and it was good if we could have achieve big results. Now, things are different. Families pressure their girls to play good if they want to be part of Vardar, because Vardar is the place where top handball is played. They prepare to become top handball players at any cost. Together with Raul, we advise them not to lose their time, unless they want to give their best. There are not so many girls that are not completely into this sport. Most of them do their job professionally. They act professionally, and they are still very young."


Sunday, 28 May 2017 - 22:21