Alejandro Trejo learns from Europe's best

FEATURE: The Uruguayan handball coach has been following the Spanish national team at the EHF EURO 2014

Photo: Uros Hocevar

Alejandro Trejo has come to the Men's EHF EURO 2014 with a mission: increasing the level of attention for handball in South America in general, and in his home country Uruguay in particular.

And the first step he took was amassing his knowledge by following Spanish national team during their EHF EURO 2014 campaign.

The 42-year-old already brings a lot of handball experience with him, as he coached Uruguay's national team from 2005 to 2013 and is now in charge of club side Colegio San Pablo.

Furthermore he lectures at the Faculty of Physical Education Teachers (ISEF) in Uruguay's capital Montevideo and at the Instituto Universitario Asociacion Cristiana de Jovenes (IUACJ).

For his project Trejo had received a scholarship from the International Olympic Committee, and together with the Spanish Handball Federation and the Uruguayan Handball Federation he made a deal that gave him the opportunity to follow the Spanish team.

One of the things he has been impressed with is the dedication and versatility of the Spanish play.

"The handling of many attacking techniques and dedicating more time to work with the attitude in defence, being more aggressive and having many different solutions to the other team's tactics.

"That is one of the things I will try to teach learn my players in Uruguay," Trejo says.

A change of attitude

Although the Uruguayan coach has had his eyes opened to new aspects of the game, it is not necessarily going to be easy to implement it.

"One step is being good enough to transfer my knowledge to the other coaches and the players that I train.

"Another is that we have to work harder in training and in competitions if we want to reach a higher level in our play. We need to dedicate more time for handball and for practice," Trejo says.

While Spanish players train five to six days a week, the average training load in Uruguay is only three days.

"There is a great difference in the possibility of learning new things. Coaches in Uruguay have to choose what to teach their players.

"We need to rethink how we train our players and be more dedicated to what we do."

Asked about one of the most eye-opening experiences he has had, a very simple thing comes to his mind.

"The fast timing in shooting at the goal was an eye-opener to me. Not just jumping and then shooting, but shooting in one or two steps or no step at all. That is something I will put on my list, when I get back," he says.

An atmosphere to remember

The tournament in Denmark is Trejo's first European Championship experience.

Besides the professional organisation of the tournament and the intensity of the matches, there is one thing off court that Trejo will remember.

"The atmosphere here in Herning is incredible. There is always a full house and a big crowd going crazy. You get the feeling that the roof is flying off," he says.

"In an indoor place I have never experienced an atmosphere like this, but I have experienced it in an outdoor stadium. But there the roof was already off."

written by Benjamin Kastberg / ts