September 9


11 top tips for teaching socially distanced Judo.

By Vince

September 9, 2020

Coaching, Judo, Judo Clubs, Judo Coach, Judo Coaching, Judo Training, Socially Distanced

Do you want to start teaching Judo again? Not sure what you can teach socially distanced? Want something other than fitness training? 

Teaching socially distanced classes might seem like your worse nightmare, knowing what to teach could be confusing, but let me assure you, it’s not as bad as you may think! 

To help I have listed my top 11 tips for teaching socially distanced Judo classes … why 11 … well, why not 11! 

  1. Create a Judo partner! – Over lockdown, we showed our juniors how to make their own Judo partner using a onesie, teddy, and towels! I would not have got through the last 6 months without it. Top tip if you use cable ties around the arms and legs it stops all of the stuffing falling out. Here’s how
  2. Don’t wear a Judogi (Controversial I know). – Some of our younger Judoka still struggle with their belt and quite simply the class is hard enough … you really don’t need the hassle! I’ve found a club T-shirt and comfy trousers work fine, when we are back to contact Judo we will obviously go back to Judogi, but for now, we are fairly relaxed. 
  3. Physical Skills – Balancing, Twisting, Turning, Lunging, Shrimping, Bridging, … the list goes on but all of these skills are so important for being able to do ‘contact’ Judo, you can easily turn these skills into fun games. 
  4. Hold Downs – Possibly the easiest thing to practice and I would guess there are so many you’ve not got around to teaching, this is a perfect time to practice! Top tip – You can easily progress this by adding physical skills, for example, two-footed side jumps over their Judo dummy when you call Hajime (or name of the hold-down) they transition into the technique as quickly as possible.
  5. Hold Down Escapes – As a coach I know I spent a lot of my time showing hold-downs and have possibly neglected the escapes. I have focused on escapes a lot over lockdown and come up with games and sequences to help them with it. 
  6. Judo turns – There are easily 6 different (there are more) Judo turns you could be practising without adding any techniques to them. Practising these without a partner is much easier and a great opportunity. These once again can be put into different sequences or games depending on the level you are working with. The Basic Turn
  7. Techniques – Using a Judo Jacket or Dummy you are still able to practice many techniques, I’ve found it offers a really different experience and you can focus on different parts of the techniques because there is no one in the way! For example, I’ve had some of our younger Judoka practising a deep squatting Morote Seoi Nage and explosive turns into Uchi Mata.
  8. Transition – Really simple, exactly the same as you would do in your normal classes. Combine your Tachi and Ne Waza skills together. Get some speed going, have races and change the techniques to create more difficulty.
  9. Timing – I’ve found that 30 minutes for younger judoka and 45 minutes for our older juniors and adults is more than enough time! This will equate to a lot more activity than you think because they are not spending any time getting partners or moving around the mat for different activities.
  10. Interactive – Engagement is key to these socially distanced classes. So having segments where people in the class can choose the next section, technique, game or demonstrate is vital for keeping them engaged and listening! 
  11. Video aids – When working with a higher level of judoka, using things like YouTube is a great tool. You can clearly show a technique, principle or idea you want to concentrate on and then replicate that with solo drills within the class. For this, I would start by showing the end goal and then layout the process of getting there – End goal: Throw with Uchi Mata. Process: Determine stance, grip, opposite or same sided opponent, gripping pattern, how they closed (or did not close) the distance, gripping pattern for the Uchi Mata, step or entry for the Uchi Mata, what style of Uchi Mata … and so on. That is just one idea I am sure you can think of plenty! 

Here are just some simple ideas that could help you create some different and interesting lesson plans for your Judo club. I have found these ideas extremely useful for keeping my younger Judoka engaged and still learning judo skills! 

I know these tips do not address some of the practicalities like hall hire, mat cleaning or having enough resources … but I know there are some coaches who have the capacity to return to Judo but not necessarily the confidence to run the class … Which is understandable

I hope these tips do help and inspire a few people to either get back to their clubs or consider running classes via zoom, you can do it and I am sure your members would love it! 

If any coaches wanted to go into more details or chat over some of the tips I mentioned please feel free to comment or send me a message! 

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