Here are some pics from last weekends BUCS, more to follow soon….
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.
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 …
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.
I said I would blog about our pre-training and I wanted to do it before BUCS because I feel reflecting upon the training once you know the result sometimes affects you opinion but I can only do what time allows.
I would say I am very experienced in short term preparation for specific competitions. When I competed for the army it was common to have a 2-3 week intense preparation period for a specific competition and since these competitive days I have coached the army and combined services in a similar scenario, often for the combined services championships or the national team championships.
This year was slightly different in terms of our BUCS preparation. Firstly I now work with a group of full-time athletes, the train around 20hrs per week so their level of preparation is very different. Secondly BUCS was brought forward by two weeks to the end of Feb, whilst this doesn’t sound like much students generally do not return to campus until the end of Jan so that only really left about 4 weeks to prepare for some students. Most of the full-time players did return earlier though in order to prepare for the British trials and some local players train with us regularly.
When I designed the original plan it was very much around the full-time players so there was around 6 weeks of training prior to BUCS and I figured if the kyu grades dipped in and out of the training as much as they could then this would be more training than most kyu grades.
Inevitably things change though and the number of injuries meant I had to include the kyu grades more and more. To be honest I am surprised how much the managed.
Here is the overview of the training:
To be honest there is no real secret, for me it is about mat time and volume of randori. I get as many dojo sessions as possible and just increase the volume of randori each each microcycle. I use both 7 day and 14 day microcycles in order to achieve volume, intensity and rest. The preparation ended in an overload week – the aim was for athletes to achieve 60-72 randori’s in the week. The most we did in one session was 13 x 5mins, I nearly always use 2 minute rest periods for hard randori, this is something I have experimented with a lot and I find after about 90 sec players are ready to go again and facing their partner, this leave 30 sec with them thinking ‘come on, i’m ready’ and this means they seem to always feel like they can do more.
Here is an example of a microcycle:
I am fortunate enough to now be surrounded by some coaches and athletes who can challenge my thinking and during the overload week I was challenged by a few coaches who thought we were doing too much and people were too tired. I like to be challenged like this, it forces me to really reflect, a very deep and questioning reflection. I decided to persist, I expected more players to be struggling than were and although there was some emotion it just felt right to me. I have already thought about how I will change things for next year based on a conversation with Yasuke Hayashi (a Japanese judoka visiting us).
Anyway, this post is getting far too long! Next post i’ll talk about the competition itself 🙂