Interview with Dejan Čikić, author of the book “BASKETBALL DRILLS FROM A TO Z”

Dejan Čikić started working as a professional basketball coach for youth teams in 2000. In 2011 he gained FIBA license and FIBA EUROPE COACHING CERTIFICATE. For the past 10 years, he’s responsible for one of the best youth basketball programs in Slovenia – Helios Domžale. He’s also involved in Slovenian basketball federation programs, working like assistant and head coach of Slovenian U18 and U16 national teams. He was named “Slovenian coach of the year for youth categories” for five times in last ten years, voted by all the Slovenian coaches. People can order his book “BASKETBALL DRILLS FROM A TO Z. 500 BASKETBALL DRILLS FOR BETTER PRACTICES” on or on Facebook and Instagram at @500bballdrills.

1. How the idea of this book came to your mind?

Just like every young coach, I started to create a collection of drills, which I was using most often. I made notes on paper, tablets, pictures and videos on smartphone wishing that all of them would end up in a unified archive one day. In summer 2018, I decided that I would put all of the drills together. While writing them down, I realized that there are a lot of them so I decided to write a clear and useful book. That is how the collection “500 basketball drills from A to Z” was made. We published the book in Slovenian and then in the English language. Coaches and my colleagues from aboard found the book interesting and translated it into Italian and French.

2. The book is very helpful for coaches, players, parents, fans to understand basketball. How much time you worked to write it and what is your main target with this book?

I spent more or less one year creating the book. I wanted to help the coaches with the book, as we all work with the same goal – we all want to make our players better. The book describes my perspective on each segment and what is important when we work with our players. There are thousands of basketball drills and coaches should know which goals we want to reach with them, how to dose them and for which players they are suitable.

3. How important are the homegrown players today in European basketball?

As a youth coach, I will always vote for the development of young players. The economic situation is increasingly dictating to us the importance of a young domestic player. Certain countries have major other minor restrictions for foreign players. We need to know that a homegrown player is one who will play at least 3 years of junior category in a particular country. This is the reason for the departure of a large number of talented 14-year-old from smaller clubs and countries to the basketball giants. Therefore, it is very difficult to retain the most talented young basketball players from Slovenia.

4. You have very good results with the juniors in Slovenia. What’s the recipe to produce so many talented players?

When you live in a country with two million people, you want to give every athlete the best possible development. I am convinced that we have many top coaches in Slovenia and that we have built our know-how throughout history. With good work and the right selection, new young talents emerge every year. As I mentioned before we limited by the departure of young players abroad, but we have no influence on this.

5. The accent in ex-Yugoslavia is on growing local talents, that’s why you don’t have so many foreigners per team, at the senior level. Personally, I think it’s the best strategy in order to give space to the young guys to develop themselves into real players. Tell me a few words about it.

The ex-Yu has an enviable basketball history, and I am glad to have the opportunity to get to know many legends from these areas. The ABA League is one of the best basketball leagues in Europe. The ABA league gave a large number of top Euroleague and NBA players. You can find a huge number of homegrown talents in Second ABA League division as well. Every country in the ex-Yugoslavia is known for its excellent work with young players.

Gratian Cormos