With my PhD completed, I thought it would be a good idea to have somewhere where all the research can be accessed so please see the links below if you’re interested in lightweight women’s judo.
With my PhD completed, I thought it would be a good idea to have somewhere where all the research can be accessed so please see the links below if you’re interested in lightweight women’s judo.
A recent research paper by Ritchie et al., (2017) entitled “Where science meets practice: Olympic coaches’ crafting of the taper process” has supported a long held belief of mine that performance coaching is about science being applied artistically; in other words we apply scientific principles and knowledge to situations that are complex and human in nature. Ritchie et al., (2017) discuss the taper process and acknowledge previous research in this area that considers different models such a linear, stepped etc. The basic concept is to maintain performance by lowering volume and maintaining intensity and frequency. Ritchie et al., interviewed seven performance coaches in track and field, one of the key findings was that these experienced coaches had developed the scientific principles to deliver a taper but there was much more to the taper than just applying the science. Adapting the plan constantly, monitoring the process and collaborating with the athletes were almost more important in the taper.
For this years British championships I worked closely with two athletes. These athletes had a three week overload period prior to a two week taper. The overload period was hard and included two competitions, one of which was international, a week long training camp and a weekend of national squad training embedded within their normal training programme. Coaches normally plan the taper prior and manage a linear, exponential or stepped type of decrease in performance. Based upon the work cited above I decided to choose a different approach.
We use a programme called athlete analyser to monitor the athletes training load. Athlete Analyser uses the work of Gabbett (2016) to monitor training load and the software produces a live graph. The aim of my taper was to increase performance by lowering fatigue without diminishing fitness, this means decreasing volume whilst maintaining intensity. Using the live graph and collaborating daily (sometimes twice daily) with the athletes I manipulated the taper. One of the graphs are shown below.
Both athletes reported feeling very well prepared for the competition and were confident going into the event.
This method is very time consuming, as a volunteer coach I would struggle to do this with more than 3-4 athletes. There is also the consideration of the athletes mental state in the overload period and the taper, coaches have to remember how the athletes are feeling and whilst listening to them sometimes be prepared to move on and complete the sessions you wanted to. Lastly, if you have set technical elements you want to cover in the taper, you may have to accept you cannot.
We should also remember there are some factors not recorded by the software yet, illness, fatigue from work, fatigue from travel etc
This is something I am going to be looking at in a lot more detail, any feedback is welcome! I think working closely with the athletes to apply this kind of science is the key to successful performance coaching.
A new research project I am embarking on is considering the use of training load in judo. I am working with one of Comberton judo clubs coaches/athletes who is a student at Anglia Ruskin University where I lecture.
What is training load?
In it’s most simple form training load is the amount (volume) and the intensity (how hard you work) of training in a given period, often a day, week, or month. It has been suggested that training load monitored well can help predict injury (Gabbett, 2016; Gabbett & Domrow, 2007) but other reasons include appropriate planning and ‘peaking’ for an event.
For a few years now I have monitored athletes training load and in recent years I have considered training load in terms of fatigue (chronic/28days) and fitness (acute/current daily load). I started doing this using dropbox and excel, then moved to google docs and I am currently using Athlete Analyser. The numbers we get from the athlete are basic, number of hours training and intensity (RPE), this worked in google docs and excel pretty well but now that we’re collaborating with Athlete Analyser it is much easier and we can collect a lot more data.
Reading the data…
The numbers produce a graph and this allows us to consider training status and likelihood of injury. Once we have collected more data I will write a blog post showing how we use the graphs to predict injury and plan a taper.
What is our research looking at?
Myself and Holly have been working with the team at Athlete Analyser to develop these training insights because one of the issues we faced with dropbox and google docs was athlete adherence, they’d constantly need chasing up to fill in the documents whereas now the Athlete Analyser app alerts them on any smart phone and reminds them to record their data.
Our research project, which is part of Holly’s final year project at Anglia Ruskin university, is considering training load as a predictor of injury and a variety of other assessments that might help us predict or avoid injury such as strength, functional movement, percentage body fat, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness. We also work closely with our club physio Ben Whybrow in terms of injury prevention, I am closely monitoring the taper to see if we can develop research on this and I am working with a masters student on some periodisation research that I will write about in another post. Our participants in the study are full-time athletes and AASE athletes at Comberton Judo Club.
I’ll be posting more about this research and other work we’re doing in due course! Please ask any questions int he comments below.
It feels like ages ago now but on the 18th September 2017 I finally submitted my PhD thesis – “A Time-Motion, Technical and Tactical Analysis of Lightweight Women’s Judo”. This is a journey I started on in 2010 and to be honest it’s felt longer lol
I am in the process of editing three new papers from the experimental chapters (one already published). One will be on techniques and tactics, another on penalties and another one on time-motion analysis.
I have a mock viva on the 21st November and the actual viva on the 24th. Hopefully just minor amendments after that.
Lots of people have asked me what is going on with “my job” at Anglia Ruskin so I thought it best to clarify my current position. I am a senior lecturer at Anglia Ruskin and was not employed for the judo at all, this was all something I did “as extra”.
In 2009 I started a judo club at Anglia Ruskin University, I remember telling the SU staff that I wanted it to be the best university judo team in the country and being laughed at. In 2010 the European judo union moved the performance coach awards to Anglia Ruskin with me as the course leader and this was the start of a “judo programme” that consisted of a high performance coach education pathway, full-time athletes, a community programme, the Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence, recreational judo and a judo research group. I am quite proud of what was achieved here, predominately in my own time and with no extra pay. As much as I enjoy research and coach education my real passion is in athlete development and ironically it was this part of the judo programme that would prove its eventual downfall.
I set the target of providing 20hrs of training a week and we managed this with the same support as other clubs had (often less) for a sustained period of time but eventually things change. In my time managing and coaching the athletes at Anglia Ruskin they have performed very well in the British University and Colleges Championships, the results are shown below for this –
Over the years thats is 288 BUCS points for Anglia Ruskin University. Add to that around 15 peer reviewed journal articles specific to judo, three judo PhD students, countless students who have attended the university because of judo, income generated and the marketing i’d say it’s not a bad job. Still the head of sport decided he didn’t want me involved in the judo anymore, this is his choice to make and I accept that decision.
So I move on! I will stay at Anglia Ruskin as a senior lecturer, a job I have enjoyed very much over the years to be honest and the one I am actually paid for. I think it is fair to say that my club that I have run for 18 years, Comberton Judo club, has suffered over the past 5-6 years with my main focus being on the Anglia Ruskin Judo Programme and the good news is that is changing and it is changing fast! Very fast! Comberton Judo club will now provide full-time training and many of the students who previously trained within the Anglia Ruskin Judo programme have moved to train with us.
I am now more positive and more confident in the judo I can deliver than I have been for a very long time, this might be a forced change but in many ways I feel it will be for the best. I would really like to thank the coaches and athletes who have stood by me throughout this two year period – Natasha Collins, Alex Hemming, Holly Newton, Ben Caldwell and Tara Fitzjohn have been particularly affected by all of this and have been strong throughout.
I will follow this post with another one about all the changes coming on board at Comberton Judo Club in the very near future (to be honest it might take more than one post!). In the mean time I wish the Head of Active Anglia and his new Head Coach, Michael Stewart, all the best for their venture into running a full-time training programme and we’ll see you on the mat!
It’s a long time since I have posted about our judo research at Anglia Ruskin. Here is a brief overview of what we’ve done in the last year or so and what we’re working on at the moment.
Firstly who is doing the research….
Bob Challis – My PhD research focusses on the temporal, technical and tactical components of lightweight women’s judo and how these differ from men’s judo and heavy weight judo. I believe lightweight women require different technical/tactical training to men and heavyweights as well as different strength and conditioning because their contests are different. Outside of my PhD research i am interested in talent development, structures around talent development, talent ID, periodisation and monitoring training load. Managing the full-time athletes here means I can consider these from a much more applied perspective than most researchers.
Glenn Miller – Glenn is a PhD student and is looking at Nage-waza across the Olympic qualification period for the Rio Olympic games. He has coded/is coding 8 competitions in this period, the two world championships and six Grand slams. This is over 200hrs of video.
Natasha Collins – Natasha was working as a research assistant, within this role she helped publish research that mainly considered British judo from a technical perspective. Since then Natasha is mainly coaching but is looking at some research and will probably publish in the areas of temporal analysis and shido’s in judo in the next year or so. Natasha is also involved in the application of our research into the training group.
Katrina McDonald – Also a senior lecturer at the university Kat focusses on athlete education as her PhD and has recently published with Maki Tsukada on the coach athlete relationship in judo.
Tara Fitzjohn – Tara is an MSc student. Her work is considering the use of performance analysis in judo. She has interviewed several high performance judo coaches to ask them what they thought would be useful in coaching and then created a code window based on this information. She has now coded around 200 fights of the athletes in our full-time training group and we will use this in our coaching. In the Final stage she will interview the athletes and coaches about how useful it was having this objective information to coach the athletes.
Paul Robertson – Another PhD student, Paul is looking at where coaches look during a judo contest and what they pay attention too. Around 20 coaches have watched judo contests as if they were mastoid whilst wearing eye tracking glasses.
We also have some other judo projects that may lead to publications in a variety of areas including biomechanics, training load management, decision making and the psychological impact of injuries on judoka.
Some of our outputs to date include:
Challis, D., Scruton, A., Cole, M., & Callan, M. (2015). A Time-Motion Analysis of Lightweight Women’s Judo in the 2010 World Championships. International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching, 10(2-3), 479-486.
Miller, G. A., Collins, N. A., Stewart, M. J., & Challis, D. G. (2015). Throwing Technique and Efficiency in the 2013 British Judo Championships. International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport, 15(1), 53-68.
Next post I will look at how we are using this in day to day coaching and judo education. In the mean time if you’re interested in doing a judo specific research project then please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have been involved in a few conversations recently about the worthiness of the GB ranking system so I thought I would put my thoughts into a blog post. As some who lectures in talent develop and identification this is an area I know a little about.
Firstly what is the GB ranking system? Well figure 1 below shows the current GB system as it stands for 2015 for seniors. Basically you accumulate points for placing or winning a medal at a variety of events and those points vary depending upon the level of the competition.
Its a very simple system in my opinion and to be honest I think it works pretty well, below I have outlined what I feel are the advantages and disadvantages. We have to remember that the ranking system is ultimately about two things – Talent Identification and Talent Selection.
Why are people not attending?
Some ideas for improving the ranking events/system…
To be honest this little rant has gone on much longer than I thought and I need to get to training so i’ll call soremade!
Here’s the real question though, get rid of it and what do we replace it with? Please comment below!
An interesting blog post on the need to allow athletes to fail in order to learn…..
This post is about the observations myself and Glenn made during our trip to the world championships in Chelyabinsk. On the last day we sat in a cafe and discussed our observation and what we feel needs to be worked on within our training group (obviously some of these have not been included). Later that day we saw a blog post by Oon Yeoh that basically said pretty much exactly the same as what we had said, non-the-less here are our observations.
Without a doubt there were a lot of shido’s given out by players not understanding the edge rule or not being able to use the edge to their advantage. I think years ago players could hugely use the edge to their advantage and eventually this will start happening again. There has been cries by coaches and officials to “fight int he middle” and i personally think this is a little naive, what athletes should do is understand the rule and use it to gain advantages, this doesn’t necessarily mean by forcing shido, the edge is a powerful tool for gaining the correct reaction to throw your opponent.
There were a lot of ura-nage variations, this happened across both genders and all weight groups. There is no evidence as to why this is happening more frequently but my guess would be that because of the new rules players are turning in for an attack when slightly more compromised than before because it is hard to dominate with the kumi-kata but this is just a guess. Obviously there is also the removal of leg grabs and maybe techniques such as te-gurma might have been used before.
This was a very common technique, not really sure why but personally i think it is because of the new rules around kumi-kata and not being able to break the grip with two hands thus athletes are breaking the grip by turning in or have the sleeve already pinned.
A lot of the tradition kind of uchimata sukashi where the opponent avoids the uchimata and then steps across for a harai-goshi or tai-otoshi type technique. There was also a lot of what might be described as the “ride and roll” technique. I would argue this is possibly due tot he reasons outlined above.
Completing the armlock when the opponent stands up
Despite the rule changes allowing the application of a ne-waza technique once the defender has got to their feet and ippon rarely happened once they did. I feel this is generally because athletes hadn’t really figured out yet how to maintain the ne-waza or how to get the opponent back to the floor once they got to their feet rather than the referees not giving enough time. This was most obvious in kansetstu-waza and in particular juji-gatame.
Shido has pretty much always been the highest scoring technique in modern competitive judo and the rule changes do not seem to have changed this. Obviously there are now a lot more reasons to be given shido and some players have a great understanding of the “shido game’ and can really manipulate the contest. I would say possible the best player at this is Pavia (FRA) and this is not to say she doesn’t throw big, because she does! In fact i would argue she uses the shido game to make sure she can achieve the big throws.
Referees not as strict?
I am going to get some videos to highlight this point because i think it is very important. Although the referees are strict they are nowhere as strict as many of the referees in the UK, maybe somethings are simply missed but actually a lot of the time they basing their decisions on the philosophy of the rules rather than a black and white statement in the rule book. This is a big problem for us, we do not have referees operating at this higher level and therefore the manner in which the rules are being applied is not being filtered down to the national refereeing structure. This failure by British judo to get referees at this level is affecting the entire performance of judo in the UK and our international players often end up fighting a completely different type of contest here in the UK. The rules are about creating better judo not just using shido’s and hansoku-make all the time.
A while ago I copy and pasted a news article about the Anglia Ruskin Judo team winning the Living sports Sports team of the year award and I started by suggesting I planned to blog with more details soon, so here are the details, a little later than expected but here they are!
The way the sports awards work is that anyone can nominate in any of the categories (athletes of year, team of the year etc) and then a panel sit and decide who should win and be runner up in each category. Living sports is multi sport and covers Cambridge and Peterborough.
The reason Living sport chose Anglia Ruskin was because of the structure of our judo programme, you see it is more than just a club, it is a judo programme that is so much more than just a club. The programme consists of six intwined elements:
So how does this win us an award? Well you could put it down to medals, we have won the men’s team competition at the British Universities and Colleges Championships for the last three consecutive years, but actually it is much more than that. It is more about the intwined nature of these elements and how these can be used as an athlete centred approach to athlete development. I will explain…..
Imagine a child starting judo in our community programme, she could learn judo throughout her life and stay within this structure regardless of whether she wishes to be a competitive or recreational judoka. If she wanted to become a competitive player at age 16 years she could train up 15hrs per week alongside her education, at 18yo she could train 20hrs per week alongside an undergraduate degree.
Whilst doing her undergraduate course and training full-time we have plenty of ways to support her. Our full-time athletes run our community programme (if they want to be involved) and we put them on a level 1 coaching course in year 1 so they can become an assistant coach, paid £10 per session. In year 2 the do their level 2 coaching award and then lead the community sessions with an assistant coach, this is paid at £20 per session. Doing this means we can ensure quality coaching and our athletes earn more money per hour than working in tesco or somewhere so it is more economical with their time.
So far we have only considered three elements, full-time training, AASE and the community programme. The others are also closely linked though. The research programme provides something after their undergraduate course (i.e. they could do post grad study or research) and more importantly it also informs what we do. Not only our own research but also following what others are doing, for example how many British universities do you think were represented at the most recent judo research symposium in Rio? That’s correct, just one! And we presented five pieces of research there, I think more than any other single university. Our athletes all get physiological testing through the research programme.
The EJU coaching awards also help our athletes. This course has many guest lecturers including many world and Olympic champions. Our full-time athletes and AASE players get to attend these mat sessions. There is also fantastic networking on this course, we can provided training camps pretty much for free (other than the flight) in Japan, Romania, Germany, Turkey, Finland, Belgium and many more countries.
Anyway, I have waffled enough! This programme is only four years old and is growing all the time. There is more information at http://www.anglia.ac.uk/judo or you can email email@example.com for more information. If you have any ideas on how we might strengthen the programme please add them to the comments or email us.