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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Over coaching in Judo 

This week at the club I was speaking with the students about how sometimes in Judo we coaches over coach.

What I meant was the idea that as a Judo coach, we spend a lot of time teaching people specific techniques. Where as maybe we should be spending more time helping people learn how to do Judo.

Specifically on Thursday we were doing ne-waza and turnovers from when your partner is defending in a facedown flat on the ground position. Rather than teach specific turnovers into specific osaekomi, kansetsu or shime waza; we talked about principles and strategies; then the group went off and practiced.

To give context, one example was simply to say that if you can get your opponents elbow away from their side you have a lever to work with. And then "Off you go....".

As coaches we can easily just show a specific turnover into a osae komi. Then get the participants to repeat. Then the coach can walk around and correct mistakes; then teach another waza and repeat the process.

However, this means that the participants learn only what I show. And I had better be teaching waza that works for everyone in the session. WHich is hugely unlikely given the physical differences and experience and ability levels.

The alternative is that we reduce our input and allow the participants to discover their own methods that work. This is something that is interesting as some will learn faster this way and may learn techniques better and techniques best suited to themselves.
Or... they may not if they don't discover methods that work for them. Equally, they may learn better, but it might start slower.

More generally, I feel like most of us Judo coaches are over doing the teaching and talking (I know I talk way too much). I suspect that we run the sessions two tightly. Perhaps a side effect of the very structured coaching methodologies taught by national federations?

Perhaps as coaches we need to start measuring the amount of time we spend coaching, teaching and talking. Then perhaps we can have an insight into if we have the balance right.

I say balance as I do think in Judo coaching we do need not just the open "learn by doing" with the instructing specifics. But what I am not so confident about is the percentages of how much of each we should be doing as coaches.

I'd be interested to hear your opinion, either as a player or coach. Do you think coaches are providing a balance? Have you noticed sessions that are open learning and others that are more instructor lead technique learning?

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