Mr Marko Skakaljevic
How long have you been coaching for and why did you decide to get into it?
I have been coaching for 5 years and I decided to get into it because this was the only thing I could do, knowing I will do good job and influence lives and careers of many young people. Since I was a kid, around 4 years old, mostly everything was around pools and swimming. Firstly, learning all the strokes, then doing age group training, started competing at very young age…etc. Soon enough, 10 years later you see yourself trying to train as hard as you can day in day out to make yourself better and putting your training No.1 on your priority list. Experiences I had while being a swimmer are things that will stay with me for the rest of my life, both ups and downs since I have had them all. In my opinion, understanding swimmers that you coach, knowing how they feel, think and perform is a great asset in this work that makes everything much easier. In addition, influencing young swimmers lives and guiding them towards their goals is not a job, it’s a privilege.
How do you plan your lesson/sessions and where do you get your ideas from?
Planning swimming training is one of the most creative things you can do in life. There are so many different options and thing’s you can do to maximize the effect of training that at some point it becomes an art. When I get the term schedule and venues, first thing is a term general plan, that is in line with the year general plan. In this case I try to put into account all the factors possible to influence training such as: pool length, pool depth, training time, training duration, physical state of my swimmers, psychological condition of my swimmers, equipped pool or diving block, backstroke flags, etc. Every session is planned and eventually modified to contain all the training dynamics and make sure progress comes first. In addition to that, being an ASCA lifetime member, I get exclusive access to newest trends and inventions in swimming around the world so on daily basis I try to involve them in my training.
Where do you see the sport going in Dubai?
Sport in Dubai has great potential. Considering the training conditions such as venues and weather that allows you to do almost any sport all year long is a unique opportunity. On the other hand, an investment in coach’s education is a must, as comfort of this place doesn’t really push people to go for more education themselves. Altogether, I think Dubai has huge sport potential.
What is your favorite stroke and why?
My favourite stroke is definitely breaststroke as it requires a great amount of strength and skill combined. Practicing in breaststroke is quite different that other strokes as the unnatural movement really makes it hard to master.
What is/was your greatest achievement?
My greatest achievement in my swimming career was the opportunity to compete against top athletes on a international level, I won quite few medals (around 150) and proudly represented my region.
Who is your role model and why?
Role model who influenced my professional life was my grandfather, who built in me the sense of responsibility in the work I do. .
What are your other hobbies apart from swimming?
Apart from swimming my hobbies are mostly related to sports. On daily basis I try to do any sports activity that will make me feel good, such as playing football, tennis, basketball, etc.