Edina Szabó: “My destiny led me onto different roads”Article
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FEATURE: Hungarian handball coach shares her philosophy on the sport and her own journey from playing to coaching as part of the EHF's Handball Inspires Generations campaign

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Edina Szabó: “My destiny led me onto different roads”

Edina Borsos Szabó grew up in a family where both parents and her uncle played handball. Sport was always the main topic, where friends share happiness and sorrow.

“I was born into a sporting family. I love team sports and being on or next the court acts as both a job and hobby.”

The Hungarian was still very young when she married the Attila Borsos, who was likewise a handball player and they moved to France, where she spent the next decade and a half, playing  professional handball and then embarking on her new life as a coach.

Now as the coach of Hungarian club Érd, Edina Borsos Szabó has been selected as a role model for ‘Handball Inspires Generations’, a campaign launched by the EHF featuring inspirational women in handball and aims to show and empower female leadership and competence as well as inspire future players.

“I like to work together with people, I think I am a pedagogue as well. Since I finished my career as an athlete in 1997, I started to teach and train boys and girls in every age category. I learnt a lot in the 15 years I spent in the French national team’s staff, from Olivier Krumbholz and other members.

“I am thankful and at the same time lucky I could work with them for such a long time. I participated in three Olympic Games and 15 other international competitions. Meanwhile, I had the chance to see and experience how the best squads in the world prepare and work.”

Still, it never hurts to have a plan B.

“I was going to be a banker or teacher, however my destiny led me on different roads,” added Szabó.

She returned to Hungary in 2003 and became the head coach of Cornexi-Alcoa-HSB Holding in Székesfehérvár, where she won the EHF Cup two years later. In 2010 Edina was named as the trainer of ÉRD HC, but being a coach does not mean only using the knowledge of your profession, sharing and discussing issues with trusted people is vital.

“Since I became a first division trainer, I work together with Mariann Rácz, who is a handball legend and a friend of mine. My husband used to be a national team player and I can always fall back on him with anything,” says Szabó.

The coaches’ lives are always full of challenges and if you want the best you need to focus on many different details.

“A great coach should be tough and sympathetic. Even a prepared coach needs to be open-minded and be ready for evolve - ‘a good priest learns until his death’ as the Hungarian proverb says. A great coach should believe in their decisions. The moments of success and failure need to be experienced with the same poise of mind. And even with a great workmanship you can never be lucky enough.”

And we can believe in her words as her team building process is just as famous as her perfectionism.

To have somebody by your side is more important than everything, this is why Érd’s head coach trust in the power of connections.

“I am lucky as my family always supported me. My husband and my sons accepted when I had to spend long weeks in training camps far from them. This is how I handle my players. I try to always be there for them.”

It is never early enough to be prepared in professional sport. Edina Szabó send the following words to the youth players:

“Talent is important. However, diligence, toughness and submission are more meaningful. To reach high standards and be among the best, you need to have a top level of consciousness.

“For professional athletes, along with previous my suggestions, mental preparation and a planned lifestyle is necessary in a player’s career. The details are getting more and more significant in the individual’s and team’s life.”

This kind of thinking can be experienced in Szabó’s future plans:

“I would like to stay in handball for long time. It is one of my old wish to popularise handball in countries where our beloved sport is not really known or cannot be played by women. When I retire as a coach I would like to share all my experiences. As an EHF lecturer, I already have the opportunity but I want to evolve.”

Be prepared, start to see your future and make it real, though never be blind enough to believe in your destiny. The life of Edina Szabó teaches and shows us the way to make the most out of new opportunities.

TEXT: Béla Müller / cor