The annual USJA Coach Certification clinic, run in conjunction with the USJA/USJF Winter Nationals, was hosted at Goltz Judo and presented by Mark Lonsdale. As with all too many judo clinics, poor pre-registration was not a good indicator of the actual numbers that would attend this year’s clinic. The final count was thirty in the class with 26 participants and 6 auditing the program, to include: 1 x Rokudan; 2 x Godan; 5 x Yodan; 4 x Sandan; 2 x Nidan; 9 x Shodan; 2 x Ikkyu; and 1 x Sankyu.

This was also the roll-out for the newly formatted Level 1 & 2 (E & D) courseware for Assistant Coach and Coach Certification. On hand to introduce the program and contribute to the discussions were Bill Montgomery, Chair of the Coaching Committee, and Joan Love, USJA VP & editor of Growing Judo.

The class kicked off at 9:00 AM with individual introductions and a PowerPoint presentation covering the qualities of a coach, an introduction to long term athlete development (LTAD), coaching style, and talent development in young people. This was followed by a PPT lecture on the principles of learning, modern teaching methods, the importance of age-appropriate training, and the value of setting attainable goals for both recreational judoka and competitive athletes.  

The third presentation for the morning covered traditional methods of teaching Kodokan Judo, but then delved into how to best integrate more modern methods of coaching and student development. Again, age-appropriate training methods were emphasized, along with the importance of fun and judo-related games for the younger students.

After lunch there was a brief review of risk management and risk mitigation before moving onto the mat area. The mat session walked the participants through a few judo-specific warm-up exercises, Ukemi, and then moved directly into an analysis of “demonstration quality skills.” One of the key requirements for a dojo instructor or Sensei is the ability to demonstrate fundamental judo techniques correctly but, as several discovered, this is not as easy as it sounds. It is one thing to teach in the comfort of your own dojo, but quite another to demonstrate in front of a peer group and several high-grade examiners. This exercise also highlighted the importance of practicing tachi-waza regularly and having a good Uke who can float for your demonstrations.      

This was followed by discussions and demonstrations of teaching methods such as whole-part-whole and guided discovery. For these drills the participants focused on newaza, osaekomi-waza, escapes, and basic arm-bars such as juji-gatame, from the throw and from the guard. Throughout the mat session the importance of dynamic judo was reinforced with moving uchi-komi, combinations (renraku-waza), linking techniques, and direct transitions into newaza.  

As with the National Level programs run last summer, feedback from the participants on the new format and academically comprehensive course was very positive and encouraging. So moving forward, it is hoped that anyone with a vested interest in U.S. judo coaching will be able to attend the future coaching development and certification programs. Clubs in Seattle, Washington, and Yuma, Arizona, have already expressed an interest in hosting coach certification programs, as have clubs in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas.   

Note: We have begun taking sign-ups for the next Coach and National Coach Certification courses in 2013. The exact dates have not yet been determined, but courses will be scheduled as soon as we have a minimum of eight individuals signed up, or any dojo offers to host one of these programs. Email Mark Lonsdale for more information or to get your name on the coaching development email list: JUDO93561@aol.com 


About Mark V

Dedicated shooter, seeker, traveler, teacher, trainer, educator
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