by Joshua Hagen
The fitness industry has a long history of private or personal training. There is very good reason for this: IT WORKS! People lose weight, reduce their chances of injury and see gains normally unattainable to someone trying to go about it on their own. Now I may be incredibly biased, but I believe that it is fair to say that becoming a competitive judoka at the International or even national stage is infinitely more difficult than just getting in better shape. So why is it so rare to see personal training in judo?
I believe the main reason that private training in judo is so rare is a bit of a “chicken and the egg” argument. Due to the fact that it is rarely done, coaches are not that familiar with it and don’t have an understanding of the gains that can be made with it. It is so uncommon in fact, that I literally had coaches laughing at the idea of me even having the service displayed on my website!
There are a great deal of benefits to going this route, even if it is only an hour long session a month.
ATHLETES GET THE 1 ON 1 TIME THEY SO DESPERATELY DESIRE! Maybe require is a better word than desire here. Every athlete is different, and trying to build them all in the same manner is a mistake. Of course some athletes will succeed if they “fit” the particular mold, but this will leave many athletes out in the cold. Gripping, which techniques to use, as well as fixing bad habits is dependent on, age, weight, height, level of competition, experience in tournaments and total mat time over the years. You just won't have two athletes that check all the same boxes.
HOW DO YOU RUN A PRIVATE SESSION? Obviously all coaches work differently but there are a number of different things that can be addressed during private training. Here is my hit list.
VIDEO REVIEW. Many coaches and athletes perform this task already, lots of the time it is independent of the other. Watching a matches, clips of matches, or multiple matches with your athlete can be extremely beneficial. Finding out why they performed some tasks and not others, pointing out mistakes (not just when they are thrown) or when they did something very well (not just the application of a technique) can really help an athlete understand how they can better perform.
ADDING A NEW TECHNIQUE. This is a large undertaking, so spending the time to really ensure that they have attained mastery of a given new technique can be a huge benefit. Actively watching and providing feedback for only that athlete on every application of the technique can really speed up the entire process.
PREPARING FOR A SPECIFIC OPPONENT. If your student is having a really difficult time with a particular opponent, working withthem on a key strategy can lead to great success. This is a practice that has been adopted by all professional sporting bodies as well.
ISOLATE PARTICULAR PROBLEMS AND FIX THEM. Maybe your athlete has great difficulty fighting lefties or someone that comes over the back, setting aside this time to work out this problem with them can lead to huge benefits.
Once you get a few sessions under your belt you start to quickly see how much of an affect a few hours here or there can be.
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