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Etiquette and Coach education. 

People have been talking about etiquette in Judo quite a bit lately. The British national coach has been publicly talking about it ( ). And there was the quite energetic discussion around this topic on and the BJA forum (and elsewhere) when the ruling to ban coaches from matside was announced.

So I wanted to add my two cents worth to the topic and see what people say.

At all levels in Judo there is discussion about behavior, specifically about behavior at competitions.

People bring up kids behavior, coaches behavior, parents behavior, elite coach behavior and elite players behavior.

Here is the thing, I personally think it is unfair to demand better behavior from any of these groups of people if they are not educated in what behavior is expected.

I have kids, and I can't tell them off for leaving the cap of the toothpaste (for example) if I have never told them to put the cap on the toothpaste. So when were these groups of Judo people told what was/wasn't acceptable behavior?

Never right?

Are their etiquette sessions for players? Are their etiquette sessions for coaches (so they can teach etiquette to players). Do you have sessions with parents to teach them what is or isn't acceptable in a Judo competition?

Does your national governing body, or the international governing body for that matter, provide you with guidelines on appropriate behavior? Do they hold training days? Do they have a booklet you can read?

So... assuming that the answer to the above question is "No", then how can they expect anyone to know how to behave?

If we reflect on the international "no coaches matside" decision. Made the IJF states because of the bad behavior of some coaches, can the IJF show what guidance/training was in place for the coaches to let them know what was acceptable?

If we look at parents at competitions with their kids, is their guidance on what is and is not acceptable? I don't think it is fair to say parents behave badly if you have not specified what good (or bad) behavior is properly and done everything you can to ensure that the parents have been educated on it.

The same is true of coaches. The common complaint is that they shout, wave their arms, call scores and generally give the referee grief. Often this is true, I've done it myself on occasion. Again I have to ask, where is the education to tell me what is the right way to behave towards a referee? Or am I expected to learn by osmosis or luck? We don't expect players to learn throws without instruction and practice so why should behavior be any different?

In a slightly different view, I would like some guidance on what acceptable referee behavior is also. Is ignoring an experienced and knowledgeable coach acceptable behavior? Just because you happen to be wearing a blazer? Just because you are the referee? Is it acceptable behavior for a referee to not speak to the athletes? Why is it okay for the referee to give penalties without giving input before, during and after the offence? If I raised my kids the way that referees referee a fight social services would come a knockin.

For me, I would like to see the behavior of all people at Judo competitions improve. I'd like the coaches to coach the players from matside, maturely and intelligently. Maintaining respect for their player, the opponent, the referee and for the sport. I would like to see the players behave appropriately, and confidently know what is expected of them. I'd like to see referees behave better and with more respect for the players. I'd like mums and dads to support their kids, without being a negative.

But none of this can happen through "hope" or "wishing". What it takes is definitions and education.

It would be a good project to look at the competition behavior of all parties and document what happens, then define what is good and what is bad. Then write up a training programme for each of the groups of people.

Anyone want to volunteer?


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