Saturday, June 8, 2013

Judo Coaching: great coaches make great players

If you are a judo coach you have a very important role. If you are paid as a judo coach, then you have a very important job.

Why is it an important job?

You have a responsibility to your judoka, the athletes that trust you. The trust is often built on respect. Your judoka respect you, your behaviours and your opinions. They value your knowledge, they learn through the way that you communicate that knowledge.

When you share knowledge effectively, it can be utilised by the judoka to win a match. The judoka understands that the win is because of the knowledge that you shared with them. This reinforces their belief in you, and the knowledge that you have, and your ability to communicate it effectively.

Sometimes your knowledge is found wanting. You are not really sure how to deal with a certain opponent, or a certain kumi-kata situation. You are embarrassed at your limited knowledge in a certain area. You try to hide it. Maybe you convince yourself that you think you know the answer. Your judoka trusts you. They try their best, but they don’t succeed. Your limited knowledge let them down. There is a small chink in their respect for you. They are not sure to fully believe you the next time. Gradually the relationship breaks down. The trust and communication that you had together starts to fall apart. Each thinks the other is to blame.

How can we avoid this? Certainly you cannot hope to win all the matches, your relationship cannot be built on only winning.

If we think about a judo competition, in each round, half the players win their matches, and half the players lose their matches. That’s the sobering thing about judo. You either win or lose. If you keep a record of the matches of all your judoka, if the win record is better than 50% you are doing better than average.

If your judoka can see that you are constantly trying to improve your knowledge, they will see that you are investing your time to help them. They will see that you are studying for mutual welfare and benefit. They will have greater confidence that the suggestions that you make are based on reflection, on evidence, on research.

Research, evidence and reflection can help the judo coach to make better decisions, to offer better advice, to have access to a wider range of ideas. Study into communication methods and techniques can help the decisions, advice and ideas be understood and applied more effectively and more efficiently. Maximum efficiency with minimum effort.

Study hard, don’t expect it to be easy, and your players will benefit. They may even win more matches. The harder you work, the luckier they get.

Good luck to all your judoka.

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