Tag Archives: Anglia Ruskin Judo

Autonomy supportive coaching in judo…..

I haven’t posted for a while so I thought I would write a quick post about a topic I have been teaching at university this week, autonomy supportive coaching, and relate this to judo.

What is Autonomy supportive coaching?

Autonomy supportive coaching has been described by many authors including Gillet et al., 2010; Alvarez et al. 2009; Conroy & Coatsworth 2007; Amorose & Anderson-Butcher, 2007. A lighter yet informative read can be found here written by Australian Sports Commission. I would describe it as “a coaching pedagogy that is underpinned by a desire to develop athletes as self-thinking, personally motivated and innovative individuals” (Something like that anyway!)

Why is this important?

I think it is important for athletes to be autonomous for several reasons, at the end of the day when they go out to compete they’re by themselves. Their task is to win medals and if they can operate autonomously then our support is enhancing an individual who is far more advanced and therefore you can dedicate time to higher level support. Consider it this way, as coaches we have all worked with athletes who constantly need support with really basic things on competition day – nutrition, warm up, they lose their kit (especially belts), they’re always the one who has a kit that doesn’t fit etc etc Then you look across the hall and there is this uber organised athlete, he/she knows where everything is in their bag, they have appropriate food and fluids for immediately after the weigh in, they’re taped up and ready to warm up early, they have kit to stay warm after the warm up, they check the draw themselves, they know what colour  kit to where, it always passes judogi control, the back patch is always sewn on properly – you get my drift! The point is you can be checking they have their belt etc or you can be focussing on higher level support.

What can judo coaches do to make their athletes more autonomous?

I think it is important within coaching sessions to empower athletes and allow them to make mistakes and reflect upon what they’re doing. It is also important to not intervene too much and when they need support in learning or planning to turn the help into a discussion rather than a straight forward answer. This takes patients and often means they do not progress as quickly as others initially but eventually they develop a much deeper understanding. Here are some examples of the strategies I use to try and develop more autonomous athletes:

  • After competition we watch the videos, this is either done with me and the athlete so we can discuss the contest or (more often than not) the whole group. We sit as a group, watch each persons fights, the players and coaches make notes and then the player in the video is asked to make any comments, then the other athletes are asked for their opinions and then the coaches. This is very time consuming but very effective. One important point to note though is that this can be quite daunting for new players in the group so I normally do theirs one on one.
  • Have you ever been to a judo session, its coach led, he does whatever technique he wants that week, then maybe some randori and you think “I really want to practice x” We do a lot of this, I just pair the players off and let them work on whatever they want, I just walk round observing, asking questions and making suggestions. This is a kind of experimental learning and is much better for developing a deeper understanding.
  • When giving feedback `i also try to use questions….. this is not easy to begin with. So a simple example might be that you notice someone is not pulling high enough with their hike-te  grip and thus not breaking balance correctly. Rather than dive in and tell them it is wrong just ask them how it feels, they’ll probably say not strong enough or something like that and then you ask “what could you do differently?” if they don’t know ask the partner… try to always get them to find solutions rather than give them too them. It will make them much more reflective and critical in their understanding.

I think judo is a sport full of tradition and this is a good thing but equally we shouldn’t be scared to progress and develop. I often see very regimented classes, coach demonstrates, athletes copy, coach corrects etc etc and this kind of coach centred approach to developing athletes can be vastly improved.

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BUCS pre-training

So, it is nearly upon us! The British University and Colleges Championships 2014. Our men’s team are hoping to defend their three year reign and we’re also hoping our women’s team will medal for the first time ever. The good thing about judo is you just never know! Even through we’ve trained pretty hard we could go out in the first round. Anyway, below is the five weeks of training we have done in preparation. We’ve been pretty busy and just have to hope the hard work pays off 🙂 Unfortunately some of our key players are injured and won’t be able to fight but that’s just something we’ll have to get on with.

We have around 12 full-time athletes currently and we’re hoping this will raise to around 20. We feel 20 will give us enough to run strong sessions but few enough to be able to focus on individuals. Our full-time players are boosted over this period but he stronger kyu grades who will fight in BUCS, this year we’re taking our biggest team ever – 20 athletes and all have trained hard.

Here are some pictures of our training programme. Obviously we don’t just train like this for BUCS, our full-time athletes train throughout the year.

Microcycle 20 Jan - 3 feb 2014 Microcycle 3-9 Feb 2014

Microcycle 10-23 Feb 2014

Here are some pics of our training sessions throughout the five weeks 🙂

And here are some pics from the NHC open, one of our preparation events …

If you would like more information on the Anglia Ruskin Judo Programme please visit http://www.anglia.ac.uk or email judo@anglia.ac.uk.

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Open National Squad Training (ONST)

This weekend was open national squad training. This is the GB squad training that is open to anyone who is at a suitable level and there were about 130 on the mat. The format is quite simple, predominantly randori. There is a picture bellow of the programme and this is pretty standard.

Who we took 7 players although unfortunately not all of them could be there all weekend –  Michal Stewart, Glenn Miller, Matt Kavanagh, Natasha Collins, Tara Fitzjohn, Natasha Gregory-Waterhouse, Alex Hemming.

We also took a physiologist for the weekend – Vivian Merbach,  volunteered to help us out. She tested the players lactate at rest and then after each randori. The aim is for us to collect data over a period of time (not only lactate) and then develop a better profile physiological of competition and training judo. We current have data from our players, some students and some Croatian players.

The weekend was good, a great atmosphere and some very strong randori. I would highly recommend this for all dan grades who want to improve their competitive judo, I believe the next one is in June.

2014-01-23 18.52.28

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Filed under AASE, Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence, Anglia Ruskin Judo programme, Coaching Judo, Comberton Judo Club, Judo

New Research Assistant at Anglia Ruskin

We now have a new research assistant at Anglia Ruskin, Natasha Collins, who will focus on performance analysis in judo.

Physiology during judo contest - Lactate testing and heart rate

Physiology during judo contest – Lactate testing and heart rate

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Natasha was originally an undergraduate at Leeds metropolitan university and then transferred to Anglia Ruskin for her final year to train as a full-time judo player. Her undergraduate dissertation focussed on time motion analysis and kumi-kata in British judo and compared juniors to seniors. This has subsequently be edited for publication and is currently being peer reviewed.

She will support a variety of research topics including the coach-athlete relationship, LTAD and athlete monitoring but her main focus will be performance analysis in judo. This will support my PhD work and the work of Glenn Miller.

Natasha will also continue to work as the judo programme administrator and one of our AASE coaches.

Anglia Ruskin has a thriving judo research group that collaborates with academics around the world. We currently have around 10-15 members of staff focussing on judo research including performance analysis, physiology, coaching, the history of judo, child protection in judo and many other topics as well as three PhD students currently focussing on judo topics. The number of PhD students will hopefully increase this year.

Here are some of our research pics…

If you would like more information on the judo research group or the judo programme at Anglia Ruskin University please visit http://www.anglia.ac.uk/judo or email judo@anglia.ac.uk.

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Week one in pictures…

Week one of the summer block of the EJU level 4 performance coach award is complete! Here are some pictures, the students are going down to the British Judo Performance Institute today for the test fights and overload training of the British Olympic team.

Some pictures of the Strength and Conditioning module delivered at Core-Cambridge, more photo’s of this soon. Also our biomechanics preparation lectures, physiology practical sessions and mat based sessions with world and Olympic champion Maki Tsukada.

 

Week two is just as packed!!

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The summer block has started….

Monday saw the start of the summer block of the European Judo Union Level 4 performance coach award.

As explained in my previous post there are 4 modules – year one are predominantly doing physiology, year two are doing biomechanics and Strength & Conditioning.

 

Today has seen our first years looking at EMG and our second years doing strength and conditioning. There was also a keynote session by world and Olympic champion Maki Tsukada (JPN)

Here are some photos from so far….

 

 

 

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EJU coaching session by Craig Fallon…

This week, as part of the European Judo Union level 4 performance coach award, we had Craig Fallon for three sessions and I thought it would be good to briefly outline these sessions.

Craig’s first session was in the classroom to our year 2 students who are learning about talent development models. According to Bruner et al (2009) there are two clear talent development models outlined in research, one of these is a transitional model and we had asked Craig to teach about his transitions in his career. This is particularly pertinent for him now as he is in possibly the biggest transition of all – retirement. This is a hard time for any athlete but for a world and European champion it is even harder. The aim is to teach our students, who will be (or already are in some cases) decision makers for national federations how to manage these transitional phases.

Craig’s second session was on yoko tomoe nage, I had asked Craig to teach this and to discuss how he had developed this technique over time. This is so that students can see how techniques for talented players have to be developed over a number of years. Hatsuyuki Hamada (coach of Ryoko Tani) will be showing the same technique next week so that students can compare methods and see there is no right or wrong way.

His final session was in ne waza, and he showed how he developed his famous turn over. It really is amazing to see how he understand every detail and how he has a solution to almost every problem.

When I speak to people in the UK and say Craig is coming for a session, they always say “that’s good” or “it’s great” etc but the reaction I get from foreign judoka is completely different, I told a French guy a couple of years ago Craig was coming over to coach and I thought he was going to fall over! When I told one of our German students Craig was coming on this block he just stood still and said “this is fantastic, he is an absolute genius!” My point is that Craig is one of only three male world champions this country has ever had, he is also the most recent, add to this a European gold, world silver and the fact he has never lost in a world cup at u60kg and he really is something special.

As a judo coach I have been to many workshops, coaching courses and seminars with world and Olympic medallists and for me Craig really stands out, I have been fortunate enough to see quite a few of his sessions, they are always different, he has an amazing attention to detail, he understands how to adapt techniques for heavy weight and females and he emphasises with players. For me he is one of the UKs most under used resources.

Below are some pictures of the session he did on the EJU coaching award and also some pictures from the dojo opening at Comberton Judo Club where Karina Bryant and Craig led the opening session.

I would strongly urge any coaches reading this who are looking for someone to run a session to contact Craig, regardless of what country you’re in. If you need to you can contact him through me.

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Filed under Anglia Ruskin Judo club, Coach Education, Coaching Judo, Comberton Judo Club, EJU level 4 & 5 coaching awards, Judo