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7 ways to try and keep your Judo club active during Covid-19 lockdown

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During this difficult time, it is going to be so hard for Judo clubs and it’s members and as time goes on it is going to get even harder. 

Over recent weeks we have seen Judo clubs become more active on social media (which is great). But I thought I would take a moment to write down some of the ways my wife and I are trying to keep things running as ‘normal’ for our club and it’s members. 

Judo players are mentally strong and resilient people, we need to adapt to the situation, and we need to keep reminding people of the amazing benefits of Judo. Most importantly, this is a temporary situation, remind your members that you will be back on the mat! Granted none of us have any real time frame for this, but this is not the end of Judo and we will win this fight.

Over the last few weeks at FFJudo we have moved our service online! We are very much still in operation and the response has been good so far. Of course, we have had members contacting us that are facing financial difficulties that can no longer afford their monthly membership fees. In these cases, we are suggesting suspending payments with an automatic reactivation date of 3 months away for example, rather than completely cutting ties with us. 

So the message is that we are still offering a valuable service, we are just delivering it differently, for now. We all know there are huge benefits to continuing with Judo, physically, mentally and emotionally, especially whilst we are all more or less in lockdown.

What is the service we are now providing?

We have chosen to invite all of our members to join a private Facebook group. This has been a huge success and we have had a really good engagement and interaction within the group so far. So as well as enjoying some great Judo content the group is acting as a support network and social tool for our Club members. 

The main reason we decided on a private group is so we can continue to offer value to our paying customers. If we just post all of the content on our public Facebook page, we didn’t feel we were offering value to our paying members. The private group has allowed us to market the content in a way that they feel valued (which they are) and looked after.

SO the nitty-gritty of what are we posting?

Firstly we think it’s really important to have a schedule for your posts, rather than just sticking odd random bits up now and then. We have published a weekly timetable for our members so they can factor Judo into their new daily lives.

We have categorised the content as follows:

Discovery or Educational tasks

Live Facebook

Watch & Learn

Challenge day

Creative tasks

Judo Games

Goal setting

Here are some ideas to start with for each of the categories:

Discovery or Educational tasks;

  • Competition checklist
  • History articles
  • Terminology/Judo words
  • Gradings. We plan on recording footage for at least all of the Sho grades, maybe Mon grades too so we can start working through gradings after Easter. Assessments can be done via video sent in or Facetime/Zoom
  • LTAD education
  • Word search/Crosswords (easy to create your own, just google it)
  • Interviews
  • Nutritional advice/recipes
  • Personal hygiene & Judo, what to wear on feet etc

Live Facebook/Zoom etc.;

  • We have chosen to do live classes 3 times a week
  • Judo based with or without a partner, with a training dummy or using a teddy for Newaza hold-downs you do need to be creative and mindful of limited space in people’s homes
  • Judo fitness such as circuits
  • We haven’t tried a watch party but I guess there is scope to have a group discussion about a pre-recorded clip

Watch & Learn;

  • Pre-recorded Judo tutorials
  • Judo Youtube channels such as Vince Skillcorn
  • IJF 
  • Fighting Films
  • Neil Adams
  • Travis Stevens
  • P.E. with Joe
  • Yoga online
  • International Judoka- Facts, links to clips

Challenge day;

  • Tie your belt
  • Wrap your kit like a Judo player
  • Press up challenge most in 30s
  • Sit up challenge most in 30s
  • Squat challenge most in 30s
  • Press up clap challenge
  • Teddy bear hold down, how many hold-downs in 1 minute
  • Blindfold belt challenge
  • How many Judo turns
  • Judo kit race, getting fully dressed from kit being wrapped up
  • How many Shrimping challenge most in 30s
  • Fastest time to do 10 squats, 10 press-ups, 10 sit-ups. Could have different levels (10 for bronze, 20 for silver, 30 for Gold)
  • You can add a nomination into your challenge where members can tag a club mate to do better!

Creative tasks;

  • Bake a Judo treat- Cupcakes/biscuits
  • Song/Rap/Poem
  • Draw a Judo picture (found 1 youtube clip to follow)
  • Design a Judo poster
  • Draw your Judo coach

Judo Games;

  • Press up football
  • Left stance, right stance
  • Land and sea
  • Evolution of right stance left stance inc different postures such as up on toes, sumo
  • Newaza positions (starfish, turtle etc)
  • Cut belt in back of trousers

Goal setting;

  • Scheduled for every Saturday. We have created a weekly goal setting card with categories- Judo goal, Family goal, Fitness goal, Helpful goal, Fun goal

Additional fun/motivational posts;

  • Mindset, motivational & mental health posts/quotations
  • I love Judo because….
  • Introduce yourself to the group (Name, age, something we didn’t know about you?)
  • Throwback Thursday- old photos

In addition to the above post ideas, we have scheduled every members Birthday to be acknowledged with a GIF post.

I’m sure between us all we can come up with loads more great ideas…

A few takeaways: 

  1. Your members come to Judo for you the coach, for their friends and the community, by moving things online you can still provide these things for them. 
  2. They are not expecting Fighting Films quality production, but they will be expecting value for their money in these uncertain times. 
  3. They will give you some time to develop and build your content online, but they will want you to communicate with them. 
  4. Parents have been asked to work from home and be a full-time teacher, they need some respite and you will be a welcome distraction.
  5. There will be people who don’t want to engage, don’t want to pay (or cannot afford to pay), but there will be so many who do want to be a part of your temporary online dojo! 

There is no getting away from the fact that some members will not be able to afford to pay fees at the moment, but many will! We need to be confident in the service we are still providing and help our members through this horrendous situation. We are more than just Judo teachers, the children and families have ‘bought in’ to us as individuals and as a Club, they want to still see us and engage with us.

If we play this right it could be an opportunity to interact with the members in a new way, learn new things about them, and a chance for them to build camaraderie amongst the group and actually to come out the other side a stronger entity feeling like we have conquered something together.

Don’t give up, find a way to make it work, stay in touch with your members, keep progressing. We are lucky we have so much technology available, to help us stay in touch and deliver content to everyone. We don’t need to shut down, use the time wisely, set goals and achieve them still.

Good luck and feel free to share this with anyone who you think might benefit from the information! 

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