I have been practising judo boy and man for over 30 years. Surprisingly that’s longer than some of our seniors have been born! Although I did enjoy competing as a junior and as a senior, the last 10 years I have been concentrating on my coaching.
I qualified as a Senior Club Coach in 2002 and was the youngest Senior Club Coach in the county at that time and I believe I still am! I have been extremely lucky to coach some very talented players and have coached numerous players from novice the 1st Dan as well as encouraged returning players to step up to the mark and complete their 1st Dan, some of them after more lengthy absences than others.
Although I do coach 2 senior classes my main focus has been the juniors. Career highlights as coach to date include: - coaching 5 different players to win a National medal; coaching junior teams to win medals in all four divisions of the Bev Price Team Championships, including a lightweight boys team which took Bronze Gold and Silver in successive years; coaching 2 British Schools Champions (within 5 minutes of each other) and finally this year having 2 of my junior players being picked for the English Pre Cadet Squad.
2012 was one of my best years as a coach as 4 of my players were promoted to 1st Dan, the most we have had promoted in one year, in recent times. The juniors also won 2 Gold medals and picked up a 5th place at the British School Championships at the first time of asking. The juniors also medalled at every major tournament they entered except the Kent International which we hope to improve on this year. In addition to this I nominated 2 of our players for the Young Sports Personality of the Year at the Kettering Borough Council Sports Awards to see both of them win, one of them was also voted the overall sports personality of the year by the general public.
While the juniors are my main focus I am also proud of the senior classes I coach. They are both very different in nature but equally well attended. I inherited a traditional randori/technique class which is still going strong and 4 years ago was encouraged by my assistant coach Kevin Simons to start a technique only class. I was sceptical at first but this has proved to be a roaring success, 4 years in this is our best attended senior class.
My philosophy as a coach is quite simple; you have to work as hard as the players are during the session. This includes encouraging them, correcting their errors, giving them tips and most importantly, keeping them safe and making sure they are enjoying themselves. I always try to speak to every player who is in attendance and try and make them feel welcome. Also despite being an amateur coach, I always maintain a professional approach.