This is the Judo blog of Lance Wicks. In this blog I cover mainly Judo and related topics. My Personal blog is over at where I cover more geeky topics. Please do leave comments on what you read or use the Contact Me form to send me an email with your thoughts and ideas.

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Preparation training for Judo referees. 

Recently, I had a great Twitter based conversation with @mewcenary about how Judo referees are trained for what is a pretty rough gig. This got me thinking about refereeing generally and about how we might innovate in the area of refereeing in Judo.

XV Jogos Pan-AmericanosSo, the average Judoka does what two sessions a week, maybe an hour long? So 2 hours Judo a week? Elite players do much more. How many hours of Refereeing practise does the average referee do per week? Note, the question is how many hours of refereeing does a referee do per week. If an elite Judo athlete is training everyday, how much Judo refereeing is a elite level referee doing per week?

I do/did take the point that many (most?) referees are in Judo clubs every week.
But, is this relevant to the task of refereeing? A comment I have heard from a high level referee in the past is that elite level referees need to be involved in elite level athlete training. I wonder also how much actual practising of refereeing is taking place week on week?

So the thought is this; if even your average Judoka (kids etc.) is doing about 2 hours a week preparation for competing, should the referees not be doing the same?

If you read this blog regularly, then you'll know that periodisation is (basically) planning your training out in blocks, to build up to the goal. As a player, you'll be doing base training, then moving to harder training closer and closer to competitions.

As a referee could/should the same theory be applied?

Should our referees be planning out all their preparation over the long-term and working week on week towards goals? So perhaps like the Olympic Players, the Olympic Referees should be planning to a four year cycle?

Should referees be creating training cycles with specific refereeing goals? For example, cycle 1 focus on developing their knowledge of the new interpretations on kumi kata (gripping)? Perhaps this broken down into weekly training (micro-cycles) which might include watching video footage from world cup and observing how referees at that level refereed the grips. Week 2, head down to a club and observe the gripping in randori. Week three, referee randori sessions. Week 4, attend elite training, observe gripping. Week 5, referee randori at elite training. Week 6, referee at randori whilst observed by high level referee. Week 7 referee a big tournament. Week 8 chillout.

Perhaps this is a dumb idea, I don't know. Perhaps referees already do this sort of thing, again, I don't know. My concern and perhaps ignorant belief is that the main practise for refereeing is refereeing at competitions. So, what we end up with is players who are doing many hours of preparation per week having the outcome of their fights altered by referees who are doing no specific preparation for refereeing.

I don't think I am being overly harsh here. I am not “bad mouthing: referees, I have tried it myself and decided it's too hard for me. It's all high pressure (even at kids events) and it all happens too fast for my brain! But, on the other hand, I get annoyed watching Judo and seeing errors being made by referees.

I'd like to learn more about the formal preparation for referees, someone want to drop me an email and tell me about it?

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