Saturday, August 21, 2010

Maximum Efficiency Drills: Ideas I stole from Steve Scott & Other people

My friend Steve Scott, of Welcome Mat Judo  has written several books, so I can't be expected to memorize all of them. My favorite is his book Coaching on the Mat, and I _think_ this idea was in that book. Or, it might have been from one of those times we were eating at that Italian restaurant in Kansas City and drinking beer. Whatever. It's still a good idea and Coaching on the Mat is still a good book.

Oh, my point, yeah, that. Steve had two, related ideas, actually.

  1. We don't have a lot of partners in the U.S. to hone our skills through randori and good drill training can help overcome that disadvantage. If we did, we would regularly get in trouble in a variety of situations and figure out how to get out of them. We would have that guy who always gets us with seoi nage and have to figure out how to block that. We'd have the woman who always does sankaku and we'd learn to see it coming. And so on for 50 different scenarios. But we DON'T have that so instead we need to use drills to create those situations. We need to have a drill for counters and have our partner come in to a seoi nage and repeatedly practice countering that. We need another drill to practice stopping sankaku before we get stuck. And so on. This requires our coaches and players to be more analytical about their judo, to look at what all the different angles are from which we could get caught and how to defeat each one of them. From the other perspective, we also have to use drills to simulate the situations in which we intend to practice our own techniques. Certainly, Steve didn't invent this idea. Back in the day, Jimmy Martin, Steve Seck, Richard (Blinky) Elizalde and the rest of the old Tenri Dojo crowd did the exact same thing. "Hey, step forward like this with your left foot." "Get a high grip on my and go into o uchi gari" . However, since there have been a LOT of years since this days, I think Steve Scott has been thinking about this a lot, developing a wide variety of drills and I think he articulated it better than we did. His main point was that a really good coach will have considered a huge number of possible situations on the mat and had his or her athletes drill extensively for those long before they get caught in that situation in a tournament. As Jim Hrbek once said, "There are no stupid champions."  (There are some pretty f^^^ing annoying champions, but that's a different subject.)
  2. Since we don't have a lot of time in the U.S. to practice judo, compared to the opportunities available in many other countries, we need to maximize the payoff from the time we do have. Every drill we do should hit at least two or three out of four purposes. These are to improve our judo technical skills, to improve conditioning, to build competitive spirit and to have fun. So, you might do a drill where players do as many of a matwork combination as they can in one minute. Then, they stand up and do one minute of combination drills, again, as many as they can in a minute. They repeat this three times without a break, each time using a different mat technique or combination. Now you have players who have worked for six minutes straight (conditioning), worked on six different techniques (technical skill) and tried to do as many as they could to beat the other people in the room (competitive spirit). Also, notice in this drill that the smallest person in the room can win by being fastest, so it pushes that bigger kid who would always win in randori. It also gives that smallest kid more of an incentive to push him or herself knowing that this is a chance to beat that bigger kid. 
I've actually thought about his ideas (and those of other people) on drill training a lot lately but haven't had a chance to write things down .  The way business has been, I have barely had time to breathe, much less get to practice as often as I would like or run down and watch people compete. (By the way,  congrats to Crystal and Erin on first place today. As for the rest of you people, would it be TOO MUCH TO ASK for you to send me a text message telling me how you did while I am stuck here slaving over a hot computer all day, huh?)


Anonymous said...

All these myriad drills would make great material for a judo book. Too many books spend so much time on the basics that all the other books already cover. These drills are probably so numerous they could fill 50 books. If there were 50 I'd look for the ones by You , Mike, Jimmy, Kayla, Ronda, and Jason and probably buy them all.

Don Griffin, Shodan, CCSF Judo.

Dr. AnnMaria said...

You know, Jim Pedro, Sr. has written a bunch of articles. When he gets back from Japan and when I get five minutes of spare time again, I think I am going to talk to him about putting those into a book.

Anonymous said...

If I had my druthers, I would like to see this type of material in DVD form accompanying the book. I'm sure the DVD would point to issues, problems that would take way too long to explain in a book form. BTW, I do think Judo under sells itself with the lack of material outside the basic throws.

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