Friday, December 5, 2008

How to SEE (not watch) judo

At the coaches' clinic today we discussed analysis of a judo match, what to look for and what to say to a player. Here is what NOT to say to your player:

"Are you left-handed? I didn't know that."
(I am a hypocrite because I have said to Erin and Crystal approximately 743 times each 'Since when have you been right-handed?')

'More pull'.

'Get your grip. No, get YOUR grip!'

'Be aggressive.'

'Play smart.'

You can't necessarily learn by listening to good coaches because sometimes they and their players have a code. For example,
"Kristin, think!"

Might mean to Kristin, who has been told this many, many times in advance by her coach, "You are ahead and you have 30 seconds left. Don't try any high risk attacks. "

Here is what I look for in a match.
Observing my own players

Who got a grip first? Did my player get a grip from which he or she could attack? Did the other player get a grip which kept my player from attacking? If my player only does ippon seoi nage, did the other player get two hands on my player right away hold on to the right arm for dear life?

Who attacked first? Did my player do most of the attacking? Did she/he try any combinations or counters?

Did my player score? If so, with what technique? Was the opponent moving forward, backward or to one side when thrown?

In matwork, did my player follow through in a transition from standing? Was my player able to reverse being thrown into a matwork technique, e.g., from being thrown with a ko uchi gari, armbarring the opponent with juji gatame.

On the mat, did my player attack or only defend? If he or she attacked, were all the attacks from one position, e.g., with the opponent on all fours? Can my player attack from the top and the bottom?

If my player is behind by a score, does he/ she fight differently? If so, how?

Observing the opponents
At the very, very least, I want to know if the other players are right-handed or left-handed, stronger on the mat or standing.

Absolutely, if they throw my player, I want to know with what throw, if it was off a combination (seldom) or straight in. I want to know what grip they had when they threw.

The next practice, I say to my player, let's call him Walrus, Wally for short,

It was good how you won your first match with o soto gari. He almost threw you with that ippon seoi nage right off the grip, but you managed to get two hands on him the rest of the match, hold his hand down and, when he tried to stand up straighter, go in to your o soto. Good job. Next time, have your hands up and be prepared to get a grip on both hands from the beginning so he can never try that seoi nage.

In your second match, against that left-handed player from Belleville, you had trouble getting your grip. You kept switching to left-handed grip and that is a bad strategy. You aren't left-handed and you are weaker from there. When you came in for left o soto, you got countered.

So... right now, let's work on grip-fighting against a left-handed player, getting your right grip and coming into right o soto gari.

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