It has often been said that the problem with judo in America is definitely NOT a lack of money. If the same people were given $10 million they would have the same lack of results.
If that is true, and I personally happen to believe it is, and what we lack is something money can't buy, what exactly IS it? On a more positive note, what would make a difference?
Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes... but no plans.
-- Peter Drucker
In judo, I have met many people with wishes. They wish that an American could win an Olympic gold medal. They wish that they could coach a winning team at an international tournament. There is an enormous gap between wishes and plans and the bridge between that gap is commitment.
Our athletes, coaches, parents and administrators need the will to make life better. They need the commitment to change and the faith that they can.
The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.
-- Vince Lombardi
Finding the unwavering will to be excellent is not easy and most people never accomplish it.
Let's assume for a moment that you really, truly have the will to create an excellent program. What would you do?
- You would establish judo programs all around the country, in all types of areas, urban, rural, suburban, affluent, low-income. You would do this by implementing an effective coach/instructor certification program that would allow the reasonably intelligent teenager or adult to teach a basic course after three or four months of well-designed training.
- You would create an informational program aimed at getting your certified instructors in community centers, YMCAs and other facilities around the country. The easiest way to do this in many cases would be to train their existing staff.
- You would develop a coach program for black belts that would allow them to work with the beginning instructors as mentors and also to take a group of yellow belts and move them up to the brown or black belt level.
- These programs would include QUALITY audio, video, print and web-based information that instructors could afford.
- You would write for grant-funded programs to provide uniforms, entry fees and travel expenses for low-income programs and for children at risk. Judo has a great deal to offer these children.
- For youth who show promise, defined as exceptional performance and motivation, you would provide individualized development plans. These would include an assessment of the person's strengths and weaknesses and matching them with the coaches who could best meet their needs. Coaching would be a team approach. Those who are experts in matwork would work with youth who need further development in that area. If an athlete needed help with harai goshi or seoi nage or fighting left-handed players, the coach who could best help would be asked to step in. And guess what, that is not always the same person!
These are just a few steps to start. We can do this. Guess what? We are doing it. Hayward Nishioka has developed an assistant instructor program. Jim Pedro, Sr. has developed a coach education program. We have a USJA/USJF West Coast Judo Training Center. Gary Goltz and I have solicited grants from non-profits, corporations and donations from individuals.
Do you have the will to work to make things better? Email me at DrAnnmaria@fractaldomains.com . We'll put you to work. Don't have any time? Send your donation to USJA Development Fund, 21 North Union Blvd., Colorado Springs, CO USA 80909. We'll put your money to work - intelligently.