Damir Eklić


Coaches from your childhood?

I grew up in the time when 18 to 19 players were in the practice and 12 of us were in the game, so for the rest of my life, I was left with an idea that the most important things are happening during practice from fighting for a spot in a team to learning. My handball was influenced by Ivo Duvnjak, Miroslav Koha, Robert Papić, Nenad Zvonarek the most.

Your most important coaching virtue?

I’ve always tried to make my players love handball as a game, not as a commitment. To see the beauty of defence, not just the number of goals scored. I think every mistake can be corrected if we behave as a team.

What is the most valuable part of the traditional methods of learning and methods of handball education?

From traditional methods, I appreciate the 1-1 practice with strong contact, and from Handball Education, I try to apply a game in offence with little or no direct instructions.

Experience in working with youth categories in Croatia, China and Israel?

There are big differences and yet there is no difference. Young players everywhere in the world are full of energy and joy.

In Croatia, everyone knows their duties and playing positions from an early age.

In China, the amount of practice is unimaginable to us,

and Israeli’s freedom of conversation and life is completely out of our scope of understanding.

Why are Croatians so good at handball?

Handball has been successful in Croatia for more than 50 years, and young people always have idols who are world champions or Olympic medalists. Tradition is nurtured through the knowledge that is transmitted from one generation to the next, and Croatia has a good infrastructure through the organisation of competitions, halls, roads etc.

How do you see the future of handball?

Handball needs to shift towards attractiveness and clearer rules. If someone has not played handball before, after the match there is a lot of questions to which coaches and referees often have conflicting answers.

Where are handball capacities insufficiently exploited?

Countries with a developed sports culture and infrastructure. USA, Australia, China, Canada, Great Britain are countries that are far from superior handball and have all the potential to get closer to the best.


Experience as the player:

Croatian first league, 10 seasons:

RK Osijek and RK Nexe

The coach from 2005, A licence of Croatian Handball Federation:


Youth National Women Team Republic of China (2012 – 2014)

Youth National Men Team of Israel (2015-2018)