Category Archives: Coach Education

Big changes……

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 –

  • 4 x mens team champions at BUCS (the only Anglia Ruskin University team to win BUCS) plus one bronze
  • Women’s team bronze
  • 10 individual dan grade gold medals
  • 3 individual dan grade silvers medals
  • 10 individual dan grade bronzes medals

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!

Soremade!

 

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Filed under AASE, Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence, Anglia Ruskin Judo club, Anglia Ruskin Judo programme, Anglia Ruskin Sports Coaching & Physical Education degree, British Judo, Coach Education, EJU level 4 & 5 coaching awards, Judo, Uncategorized

Our current research

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 Coaching10(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 Sport15(1), 53-68.

McDonald, K., Tsukada, M., & Chung, H. (2016). Understanding the female judoka’s” coach-athlete” relationship: a British perspective. ARCHIVES OF BUDO12.

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 judo@anglia.ac.uk.

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To have rankings or not to have rankings that is the question?

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.

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 14.09.34Its 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.

Advantages

  • It means selection in not based on a single event – single event are well known for “missing talented athletes” often because they miss an event, have one poor day performing or a ill and sometime because of relative age affect
  • If we consider it from a domestic perspective it can be argued that travel is split around the country with each area represented evenly and all four home country represented
  • The system is tiered, what I mean by this is a younger or less experienced athlete can gain ranking points at area event; more experience athletes can decided to only look at home country events to secure points (because you get more points) while taking chances at European cups. Furthermore international athletes can focus on international events and still remain top of the domestic rankings. They do not need to attend these events although they may decided to do one or two home country one. What this means in effect is that athletes 8-10yrs from podium can focus on area events and home country events, athletes who are 8-5 year from podium can focus on home country and European cups whilst those likely to hit podium in this Olympic cycle can focus on world ranking events (these years boundaries a rough and off the top of my head! I appreciate many athletes need long at world ranking level and appreciate many have already come through the cadet and junior system)
  • It is great for marketing and promoting judo. If someone is 10th in the +78kg in GB for example we might not think about it but going to that athletes college, university and local press they see this as a big thing and that really helps promote judo and support the athlete
  • It allows athletes and coaches to start appreciating a ranking system and how to “work it” and this is very helpful when athletes progress through to world ranking events
  • You’re still testing an athletes ability to “perform on the day” because of the weighting of points in relation to the British champs

Disadvantages

  • Arguably it can be expensive, especially if “chasing points” or you’re injured when the ones nearer to you are running. My personal opinion is if you’re “chasing points” you’re better off spending the money on some training camps or an extra nights randori a week and think about ranking the following year. of course everyones situation is different though
  • A ranking system needs depth to work and unfortunately many, if not all, of our ranking events are lacking depth at the moment, below I have outlined why I think this might be. without depth the wrong players can end up ranked, in theory this should sort itself out at the British champs but not always
  • You can end up with too many events if you’re not careful, I think in GB at the moment the issue is more around the somewhat horrendous calendar control though and this is quite frankly because of some areas poor understanding of the affect they’re having with the petty, mindless, bullshit politics
  • I will talk more about quality control below but lets be honest, the way many of these are run is nothing short of appalling. People have to understand that this is our talent identification system and talent selection system, it does matter how good our centralised programme is if this system is wrong. We have a £7.4m budget for producing medals but we cannot do this is the wrong players are being selected or if the real talent is leaving the sport

Why are people not attending?

  • Quality of the events – No care system, poor mats, manual score boards, awful venues, rood staff/officials, no warm up area… the list goes on. If we want a decent ranking system we need to change how we think about it.
  • Quality of refereeing – of course referees make mistakes, no problem. With the CARE system there should be very few though. The level of referees at these events often need to be considered more closely and some areas are going to have to invest in paying for referees to travel and stay over because you haven’t got enough decent ones in your area – this is the price of neglecting referee education and training over the years i’m afraid. I love the comment we always get when we complain about refereeing… we’re all volunteers! Yes we know that but your travel and food is paid! Most of the coaches are volunteers to and their travel and food isn’t paid. And guess what? The athletes are paying customers and they don’t give a shit if you’re a volunteer or not, they have paid for a service. Like I said at the start, of course referees make mistakes, everyone does, no problem but for referees to not be using the CARE system properly or to have two kids sat there who don’t dare to overrule the IJF in the middle is not right and you know it!
  • Calendar control – This weekend we have the Great North and the Southern area – how? Who let this happen? One was a cadet ranking and now isn’t…. come on!
  • Centralisation – lets be honest, it has an affect and we all know it
  • Online calendar – OMG!! Seriously no entry form the Welsh on the BJA site yet! BJA site still say no date for the Easter area ranking event that was in August. We cannot generate depth with such awful communication!!

Some ideas for improving the ranking events/system…

  • Quality control similar to that of the EJU and IJF. Areas and home countries can still run the event but these are monitored by either the BJA events team or a bespoke team that is designed to manage British ranking events (PMG maybe!?!?!)
  • Should the BJA have a set of mats, a CARE system (with two cameras per mat), score boards and TVs for the draw etc in a truck that goes around to every ranking event? Personally I think it has got to that stage or they should invest in this for each area
  • If we sort this out, banners, decent mats, online registration, good referees etc etc could we attract sponsorship? I think we could argue it is pretty much a national league, maybe we could attract prize money or maybe they just pay for some of things we need to make it all more professional? The British champs are run well so we have a model already
  • You know what I would really like to see, it would take some work but I think each home country event should be run on the first weekend of a school holiday or half term and they should all be followed by a hard training compound this camp should be part of our talent ID system
  • The calendar needs aligning, British champs first, then Home country and then are and ideally they’ll alternate what end of the country the area ones are in to help travel

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!

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The importance of failure – Underground Athletics

An interesting blog post on the need to allow athletes to fail in order to learn…..

The importance of failure – Underground Athletics.

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World championships 2014 – Technical observations

2014-08-29 11.08.35

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.

Edge play

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.

Ura-nage

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.

Sode-Tsuri-Komi-Goshi

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.

Uchimata sukashi

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 game

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.

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Living Sports Sports team of the year award….

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:

  • A Judo club (recreational for beginners, recreational players, regional level players etc)
  • Full-Time training (athletes that train for 20hrs per week, usually alongside study but not always and compete at national or international level)
  • The Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (generally 16-18yo apprentices who train around 15hrs per week alongside study)
  • Anglia Ruskin Judo research group (scholars from Anglia Ruskin and other universities who focus on judo research as well as post graduate students, this group is linked to the IAJR)
  • High Performance Coach Education (the university runs the European Judo Union level 4 and 5 coaching awards)
  • A community programme (the teaching of children from primary age to sixth form in the local area. This is soon to be expanded to include linking with clubs nationally in a type of satellite programme for mutual benefit)

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 judo@anglia.ac.uk for more information. If you have any ideas on how we might strengthen the programme please add them to the comments or email us.

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Judo stars land Team of the Year prize

Below is a simple copy and paste from the university press release, I plan to blog about this award soon 🙂

Anglia Ruskin University’s judo team won the Team of the Year prize at the LIVING SPORT Sports Awards at a ceremony in St Ives last night.

 The awards saw talented sportsmen and women, coaches, volunteers, organisations and clubs from across Cambridgeshire celebrated. Awards were presented to 10 individuals and organisations in recognition of their successes and dedication to grassroots sport in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

SportsAwardsJudo[3]

Left – right: Bob Challis, judo programme manager, Paul Banton, Managing Director at Ruddocks, Glenn Miller, judo club president.

 On presenting the Team of the Year award to Anglia Ruskin, the panel commented that the judo team’s innovative structure allows participants of all levels and ages to get involved in judo.

 Anglia Ruskin’s full-time judo athletes work within the community, coaching children in schools and sixth forms around Cambridge. They are able to pass on high-quality technical content that isn’t always available at club level.

 Bob Challis, judo programme manager, said:

“It is great to be recognised not only for performance but for all the other things we do as a team. Winning medals is great but having a structure where someone can start judo as young as five and then do judo alongside education all the way to postgraduate study is something very special. It is an amazing system and is only possible because we link with schools around Cambridge and Comberton Village College, where our large dojo is.”

 Simon Fairhall, Chief Executive of LIVING SPORT, said:

“The evening was a fantastic celebration of community sport and it was great to see so many individuals involved in sport from the entire county come together to recognise the achievements of our winners. I’d particularly like to thank all of the sponsors for their support in helping us deliver another memorable awards ceremony this year.”

Anglia Ruskin sponsored the Sports Performer with a Disability Award, which was won by triathlete Lauren Steadman.

A full list of award recipients is available on the Living Sport Website. http://www.livingsport.co.uk/our-projects/living-sport-sports-awards/2013-winners/

For more information on the judo programme at Anglia Ruskin University please visit www.anglia.ac.uk/judo or email judo@anglia.ac.uk.

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Filed under AASE, Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence, Anglia Ruskin Judo club, Anglia Ruskin Judo programme, Coach Education, Coaching Judo, Comberton Judo Club, EJU level 4 & 5 coaching awards, Judo, PhD