Tag Archives: technical

Figuring out your opponent – How the experts do it !

Today we looked at how elite Judoka can figure out their opponents quite quickly and identify the main strength of their opponent. Look at the 2nd video below and you will see how Takamatsu (JAP) is able to quickly gauge that Burton (GBR) is trying to dominate him with a strong over the shoulder grip and he is trying to wrap up his arm as this is one of Burtons favorite tactics as you can see in the first video of Burton V’s Perrault (CAN).

1st Video Link – copy and paste into your browser


2nd Video Link – copy and paste into your browser



Takamatsu is happy to flop a couple of times so he can work out a strategy to stop this strong grip. He constantly keeps moving, he blocks Burtons arm from coming over his shoulder, he bats away Burton’s grip, he maintains an upright posture and uses his shoulder to shrug of the grip. The contest slowly changes for Takamatsu from being dominated by his opponents grip, to being in control and Burton getting a Shido. More importantly he has stopped Burtons offensive tactics. When he feels in control he is then able to unleash a massive ippon-seoi nage, which was probably his first meaningful attack in the contest. Note how tight the arm is locked in to Burtons shoulder, note the big pull with the left collar grip creating the Kuzushi and when he completes the throw he throws off the side of his body by rotating his shoulders and not throwing over his shoulder.

Excellent work Mr Takamatsu !!!


My reflection on the session – Flavio Canto Shime-waza

This is the 4th post for my assignment on the EJU L4 performance coach award.

When I reflected on the session I wanted to try and move away from it being a total, internally focused process i.e. looking inwards at my own practical application and decided to look at the session on a technical, practical and critical basis.


Questions I asked myself: Did I ensure all the players heard me? Could I have used any other resources to assist me in delivering the session? Did I achieve the goals of the session? If not how can i rectify this? Was there anything wrong with the athletes, did they not engage with the drill? Could i do the drill better?

I ensured that all the students could hear and see me when I demonstrated the technique, but I felt I could have maybe utilised other resources to help me, a good example would have been the 2 videos of the technique in my previous post showing both the practical video and competition video example. I felt that I achieved the goals of the session as all of the students managed to perform a version of the technique by the end of the session. I also looked at the expressions on the faces of the students, they all seemed to be engaged and were talking amongst their partners about the application of the strangle.


Questions I asked myself: Was there anything I did in the session that did not suit the group? What other ways could I have done things? Am i demonstrating the technique properly, Is there something I do that is negative? Are my own experiences of coaching influencing the way I coach? What does the effect of my feedback to the players have on them?

I thought that the session was commensurate  with the group I was demonstrating the technique to. they were all experienced Judoka with a good technical base and all capable of accomplishing the task I set. There was one instance where I felt that I could have changed the way I demonstrated the technique. At the point where Tori hooks Uke’s arm with his foot, because of an injury to mygroin I could not sufficiently reach Uke’s armpit as I was not flexible enough. If I had shown the group a video of the technique it would have shown a better example of how to do the technique correctly. I could have then asked the group to practice the technique, hopefully one of the players would get it right technically and I could then use them to demonstrate the technique again in the correct manner. I also felt my own experience as a player and of being coached myself also influenced how I coached. My old coach only demonstrated techniques and then left us to practice and come up with our own solutions to any problems we had, (laissez-faire type approach), and I was maybe guilty of the same coaching style, maybe the group needed a bit more input from myself. I did however feel that I gave positive feedback at every opportunity and encouraged the players to impose their own style to the technique and encouraged them to ask lots of questions. I did not want to criticise anyone as this was maybe the first time that they had actually practiced the technique so it was not too important if they made mistakes.


Questions I asked myself: Who’s knowledge is being represented or reproduced in the technical session? Will it actually work? Is there anyone in the group that is not capable of completing the technique?

I felt that the technique itself was used by a World and Olympic medalist, he would obviously have practiced this technique in training, Uchi-komi, randori and Shia and was obviously successful with the technique in these high level type of events. This was important for me to have belief in a technique that I was going to demonstrate and be able to prove that it works at the highest level in the sport. I felt that although the group of students could reproduce the technical aspects of the technique without the Uke resisting, I was not 100% sure that they could duplicate it in a competitive environment. Judo is done with serious resistance and we can practise near and at 100% of our level of  ability to actually apply techniques, but is this simply beyond what some of the group are able to do?

I have decided that I will repeat this technical session again but this time have the Uke resisting at say 80% and also get the players to work the technique from Tachi-waza to see what sort of technique will help with the transition from Tachi-Waza to Ne-waza. It will also mean lots and lots more practice.

Athlete profiles – For the EJU L4 Performance Coach Award & Foundation Degree in Sports Coaching (European Judo Union)

This is the second post for my assignment on the EJU L4 performance coach award. I will Introduce the group of players that I work with on a daily basis.

There are 10 of them in total and the age range is between 16 to 18 years of age, female and male judoka, with the lightest being 48Kg and the heaviest 110Kg. There is a wide range of ability within the group from Junior Great Britain squad players, England squad players and regional players. The group have an excellent work ethic and will to train hard and they all have a good understanding of the technical and tactical skills needed to perform at this Junior level. In following posts  I will blog about some of the coaching sessions conducted recently and include how as a coach I choose to present the material, ask questions, and to correct misconceptions, and to encourage the athletes to explore.