Dusan Ignjatov or as his players call him, coach Duka has been a basketball teacher for 24 years. In his coaching career, long almost a quarter of a century, he has trained thousands of players, one of them is Dusan Domovic Bulut. In fact, Ignjatov is Bulut’s first coach, he followed him through different stages of his playing career and is largely responsible for the kind of player he is today.
–Regarding our relationship, it was obviously something – stars, destiny, call it whatever you like. Honestly, I still can’t believe I was lucky enough to have Dusan as my first coach. In our careers, we were going different paths, but in some moment our paths have intertwined again. He was there during the most important moments of my career, helping me to build the style of playing I have today. What I like the most about him is that he is constantly progressing and adapting to trends of modern basketball, but also to my personal style of playing – in my career I was going through two positions that are very different, they required a completely different rules and style of play, and now that I’m among the oldest players on the court I have to do some things differently – Bulut shares his thought about his coach.
As a child he played street basketball, then for 13 years he was playing basketball, and then he completed coach education at one of the famous schools. Even though he mostly works in Serbia, in 2004 and 2005 he was working in the United Kingdom, and in 2010 he was a basketball coach in one high school in the USA. In coach Ignjatov you will recognize a mix of strong professional will and ethics on one side, and incredible modesty on the other – enough to teach you to find and give your maximum as a player, but also to motivate you to be a better person.
Dusan Ignjatov will also be a head coach at Bulut Hoops camp in Novi Sad, so let’s meet him and see what he thinks about the camp and 3×3 in general.
Can you tell us something more about your first encounter with Bulut, and later with team Novi Sad Al Wahda?
It was during the 90s, there was a basketball school called Sans that was held in SPENS in Novi Sad, and I worked there as a coach with my brother Sava. Even today, the two of us are coaching together, although the school doesn’t exist anymore. Bulut came in 1994, as a nine years old boy. Amongst all those kids, he was not the fastest, the highest or the strongest, but we saw something different in him – a desire and the will to learn. I was coaching Bulut through different stages of his career – as a pioneer, as a junior and now as a senior and a professional streetball player. I think that he called me and ask me to coach him again in 2011 when he won Red Bull King Of The Rock tournament in Serbia and was preparing for the world finals in Alcatraz. Later, on his recommendation, I started working with other members of Novi Sad Al Wahda.
Where Novi Sad Al Wahda needed your help the most?
The ideal player does not exist, and there are no ideal coaches. There is a technique that should be done in some ideal way. However, the good coach has to adapt that technique to physical, mental and technical abilities of the player and his talent. That is the skill – to implement the technique and improve certain segments of playing. It’s easier said, then done.
Was it hard to teach them some new things, or to correct some elements, because they were already mature players when they started working with you?
It’s not hard to work with someone if you know what you want and if the other side – in this case highly professional players of Novi Sad Al Wahda – is accepting the suggestion. If there is too much insistence on the proper performance of the elements in older players, there may be a counter-effect. You need to be careful, it is a thin line. The biggest challenge is motivation, although they are pretty motivated. They are on the top and they want to stay there as long as possible, and they want to go to the Olympics, they are also aware that they are getting older and they have to practice much more.
How much the training that you do with basketball players is different from the one you practice with streetball players?
For me, streetball is a branch of basketball, in the foundation of 3×3 is basketball, but the game itself is quite different. I think that streetball is leaving you more space to improvise, it’s more dynamic and rough. The word street itself is meaning something rough. When it comes to working with Novi Sad Al Wahda, my role was specific – we were focused on improving the performance of specific technical elements.
It is clear that they have learned a lot from you, but have you learned something from them?
I am proud to point out that throughout my entire coaching career, and soon it will be a quarter of a century since I became a basketball teacher, I have learned from all my players, and there were thousands of them. I easily accept the changes and get ideas from some indications, I like to improvise – of course, on the postulates that do not go against top performance of the elements. If someone tells me something or I see someone doing something during training, I’m thinking about it and I always get inspiration from it. Coaching is also a matter of imagination and dedication, and I think I was always inclined to do it.
How do you like the idea of Bulut Hoops 3×3 training camp?
I am fascinated and I like to work with young people, and I also like the fact that Bulut, although a young man, has a vision. In January this year, we were both in Indonesia doing one 3×3 camp and I had an amazing time. In April there was Bulut Hoops camp in Jordan which is another great experience. The Bulut Hoops camp in Novi Sad will be our third joint project, and I hope there will be more of them in the future. I’m sure everyone will be happy and satisfied with this camp.
You were working on the training program for Bulut Hoops camp, can you tell us something more about it?
I was writing the program with Bulut’s help. It wasn’t hard, but I felt a certain responsibility while we were working on it. I do believe that we will justify expectations and that everyone will be a better 3×3 player after Bulut Hoops camp. I strongly believe in that.
🇬🇧 Had a great time at Bulut Hoops, Amman, it’s always a pleasure to carry on the knowledge and see smiles on kids faces. 🇷🇸 Sjajnih par dana na Bulut Hoops kampu u Amanu. Uvek je zadovoljstvo preneti znanje i videti nasmejanu decu. • 📸: @dusan.jocic • @jordan3x3 @coach.datcha @dusanignjatov @ramezkawar @rotana.amman @wilsonbasketball @redbulljor @redbullrs @redbull @ammanrotana @sd13_sports_academy @markazia_lexus
3×3 is becoming quite popular all around the world, and Serbia has several teams at the top. How can training camps like Bulut Hoops benefit the future of the sport?
This camp will be a flywheel, something that will lead to a more serious work. It is not enough that there is only Dusan Bulut. I think that it is necessary to systematically work and create teams of younger players. I have great expectations from this camp and from the sport itself, but the time will tell.
Can you give an advice to young players who will participate in Bulut Hoops?
If one day they want to be successful as Dusan Bulut they should come to Bulut Hoops camp. Also, my advice to them is – Never, ever give up! As a child, I played a streetball and it built me up as a person. I learned to never give up. Not everyone can be a top player, but they can build themselves as personalities, and that’s where the sport helps. I am eagerly waiting for the camp participants and preparing for the camp. I hope that they will come mentally ready for the camp and that we will have an awesome time during that week.
Bulut Hoops camp in Novi Sad will be held from 2nd till 9th July, all information about Bulut Hoops camp you can find HERE.