By Mark Lonsdale, Judo Training Development

 The following is a general guidance for judo clinic presenters and facilitators, with much of the material also being of equal value to judo instructors and club level coaches.   

 A good indicator of a professional educator is his or her level of preparation and organization when presenting a class or training program. Experienced presenters know exactly what they are working to achieve, the targeted training objectives, how they intend to get there, what they intend to teach, how long it will take, and how they plan to validate the course. Trainers and educators are also aware that training time is a valuable commodity, not to be squandered with long-winded war stories, lack of preparation, or poor time management. For example, turning up with a PowerPoint projector but no extension cord or screen is poor planning; as is having a whiteboard but no erasable whiteboard markers.          


 There is more to running a judo coaching development clinic than just rolling into the dojo ten minutes early with your judogi under your arm. It is not unusual to spend several hours (or even days) preparing for a one- or two-day clinic. Similarly, it may take three or four hours to create an effective 40-minute PowerPoint (PPT) presentation, and even longer to professionally edit a 20-minute training video.

 Pre-clinic tasks will include:

 After selecting a suitable location and de-conflicting with other events, ensure that the selected dates for the clinic do not clash with other major tournaments or family commitments such as Mothers Day

  1. Send out notifications of the course with dates, times, location and requirements as early as possible; usually at least 1-2 months prior to the clinic so that participants can schedule around other commitments  
  2. Notify the national office and the Chair of the relevant committee to secure approval and sanctions
  3. Write the lesson plans for each individual training module and class, even if it is just a set of bullet-points or essential talking points. This will provide the framework for the entire program.
  4. Workbooks or handouts are always a good idea, especially if there is a significant amount of academic material to be covered. If these can be mailed out or emailed prior to the class then participants will have time to read up on the required material  
  5. From the lesson plans, build the required PowerPoints and select appropriate videos and training aids (where applicable). Keep in mind that audio-visuals add impact to the presentation and mark the presenter as a professional
  6. Arrange for a PowerPoint projector and screen, or big screen TV monitor. Presentations should be stored on a personal laptop computer and backed-up on a USB port thumb-drive or external hard-drive   
  7. Arrange for large whiteboard and be sure to bring your own erasable whiteboard markers and eraser. All too often there will be no erasable makers in the classroom.    
  8. Be prepared to arrive 30-60 minutes early to setup the classroom, arrange tables and chairs, and setup the projector. It will also be necessary to allow additional time to register participants and execute liability releases and waivers prior to the class
  9. Dress and act like a professional coach. Collared Polo shirts or team track suits are always appropriate     
  10. Name tags are recommended in the classroom, especially if there is a large group  
  11. Redundancy is also the mark of a professional. Arrange for a backup computer and projector if necessary; and have a print-out of your lesson plans and PowerPoints incase it is necessary to go low tech. Anticipation of a crashed computer or blown bulb in the projector should be part of the contingency planning 


 A formal classroom setting is the ideal place to deliver academic lectures, video analysis and PowerPoint presentations. Unfortunately not all dojo or training halls have a classroom available. In that case it is still possible to bring in a portable screen and whiteboard. It is also recommended that participants be issued clipboards for taking notes, in lieu of tables or desks.     

 Notes for the classroom: 

  1. Clinicians, presenters, and facilitators are expected to have well developed communication skills and teaching ability
  2. It is important to follow the lesson plan and teach only what is required for that level of certification
  3. Gauge the knowledge and experience of the partiicpants in the class by asking questions. It is not uncommon to have several experienced competitors and coaches auditing a class
  4. Teach to the limit of your experience and know what that limit is. For example, if you are running a National Coach Certification program, you should have at least competed and coached at the national level   
  5. Use appropriate training aids and audio-visuals to enhance learning and retention in the training process
  6. Require active participation in the classroom by asking questions. This also allows the presenter to further gauge the participants’ knowledge and experience
  7. Stay on track and on schedule. This is where written lesson plans are essential and PPTs are useful
  8. Avoid war stories, profanity, and sexist or racist remarks  
  9. Allow for short breaks every 50-60 minutes. For example, allow no more than 40 minutes for a presentation, with 10 minutes for questions, followed by a 10 minute break each hour.  
  10. At the assistant instructor or assistant coach levels, the emphasis should be on how to teach not what to teach. Keep in mind that assistant club coaches are required to teach whatever the club’s head sensei specifies


 The mat sessions for coaching development and certification should not be physically demanding or hard training sessions. The purpose is to impart the required information and to assess the candidates’ coaching skills, not their fighting skills.   

  1. Presenters are expected to have demonstration quality skills, with some allowances for age and old injuries. If a presenter cannot demonstrate the required techniques, ensure that there is an assistant instructor who can
  2. Identify which judoka in the class have demonstration quality skills and use them to highlight teaching points
  3. Keep demonstrations as short as practicable, often not more than 1 or 2 minutes. Remember, 15% teaching with 85% student activity on the mat    
  4. The primary purpose of the mat session is for the participants to demonstrate their teaching and coaching skills, not for the clinician to demonstrate everything he or she knows
  5. Tap into the experience of the participants and give them an opportunity to demonstrate what they know
  6. Have the students critique each other’s demonstrations. Being able to offer a constructive and diplomatic critique is an important part of coaching 
  7. Use the participants’ mistakes, such as losing balance while executing a technique, as teaching points. “That was a good effort, but…..”
  8. Use humor in teaching but not at the expense of others. Never embarrass or belittle a student, his or her club, or a sensei
  9. Make use of video replay if available. Many coaches may not have seen themselves teaching or demonstrating techniques
  10. Remember – coaching and development clinics should be equal parts informative, challenging, and fun

 Finally, the greatest challenge for a presenter or facilitator is to cover all the required material in the allocated time. Time is precious so it is important to stay on track, follow the lesson plans, and keep the war stories to an absolute minimum.


National Judo Coach Certification Clinic, 2012

National Judo Coach Certification Clinic, 2012

About Mark V

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