Aleksa Stanić will be defending the pond in 2021
GH: Aleksa, you are one of the players that have past experience with American football. In a few words, could you share with us how was your time on the American football field and which elements, aside from contact, are the ones that differ from flag football the most?
AS: “That’s right, I have played American football since 2016, but I got acquainted with flag football in 2019, at the tournament in Kočevje. I think that the main difference between the two is that flag football is a lot faster than tackle and that players can play both defense and offense.”
GH: “You play on both sides of the field, as a wide receiver on the offense and cornerback and safety on the defense. How does the intensity differ between offense and defense and which attributes or skills would you say are the most important to have on every side of the field?
AS: “The main difference is that when you play on the offense, you know the play in advance, you know which route you need to run, and, with a proper reading of the defense, you can make a plan how to beat them, which double move can you exploit to put yourself the best position to catch the ball - you can plan. In defense, that is a lot different, and you need plenty of experiences and knowledge of the game, also, you need to read the body language of opposing players, usually, the jukes include head movement and sidestep, but one thing is for sure, you can't fake a player with hips, as the hips always betray the attacker in which direction he is actually going to move. That’s why I say that experiences, the longer you play a position, the better you will learn all the tricks and it will be easier to play.”
GH: Because of the COVID-19 restrictions, you were not able to compete with the Frogs this year. How did you stay in shape, did you do any workouts or fitness programs, etc.?
AS: “Unfortunately, last year fell apart with relation to that. I was with the team in March on preseason camp and I got back to Serbia just in time before the borders closed and the police curfew was enforced. It was much easier for me, as I live in a house with a yard, so at home, I have bars for dips and pullups, so that’s what I did the most. As far as the stamina and conditioning, I tried to work with the jump rope or some HIIT workouts.”
GH: When you were still practicing basketball, you had a serious knee injury, because of which you stopped with basketball. Did the injury leave any consequences on the knee and do you worry that the injury could happen again?
AS: “That’s a problem that’s been going on for quite some time now. In November, I had an operation and I hope that I solved the problem with that and that I will be 100 % ready for the first flag football tournament with the team.”
GH: Once you join the team, you will be facing great competition, not only from the opponents but from bright prospects in the Frogs as well. What is your biggest advantage that could make a big difference and will make you stand out?
AS: “I really like competition, especially inside the club. We all want to be the starters; if I am on the bench because someone is better than me, I will give 110 % every practice, so that I could become the starter, and that’s what every club needs because then everyone gravitates towards constantly working on themselves and improving their game. I am with the Frogs from the start and I see great improvement with all my teammates after one season and I am very proud of them!. As for the opponents, there are a lot of good clubs in the Slovenian flag football league, against which I cannot wait to finally play. I think my main weapons are experiences and great stamina.”
GH: With Novi Beograd Orlovi, you were playing in the Bear Bowl back in 2019. There, you faced some of the best teams from Europe and Slovenia, which will also be your opponents in SFFL. What teams were the toughest opponents and what experience did you gather from that flag football tournament?
AS: “That was my first meeting with flag football, an adaptation tournament. Considering that we were all tackle players, we could have done a lot better if we had a little more time to prepare ourselves. Definitely, the toughest opponents were Hyenas from Hague, they were the only team we couldn’t do anything against.”