Sunday, August 18, 2013

Drills to push a little harder

Every competitor, every coach, at sometimes has the dilemma of how to push a little harder than usual to step up training. Especially if you have a group that trains together regularly, there is a tendency to get too comfortable. Bob has accepted that he always gets thrown in practice by José and has just come to accept it. Meghan knows that Francesca's armbars aren't that good and she doesn't have to worry about getting armbarred. Everyone knows that Eric is the best in the dojo.

One simple way to upset that comfort zone is to have Eric tired out when everyone else is fresh. Here is a drill we did today that does just that.

  1. Put the class in groups of three people approximately the same size and skill level. Just get as close as you can, it doesn't have to be perfectly equal.
  2. Designate one person in each group to be out in the middle of the mat. If the groups are not equal, pick the strongest or most experienced person in the group. This person STAYS OUT THE ENTIRE TIME.
  3. Start randori with the person who is out and a second member of the group.
  4. After ten seconds, call "Switch", and have the third member of the group go out.
  5. After ten seconds, call "Switch" again and have the second member go out again.
  6. Keep doing this for five minutes.

Depending on the conditioning of your class, you may want to take a break and do it again for another five minutes, and maybe take another break and go for another five minutes after that.

I'm going to say this again - the first person stays out the ENTIRE TIME. So if you do it three times, the first person should be in the center every time.

The point is, after five minutes (or 10 or 15), that person is going to be a lot more tired than the other two. Even if he or she normally dominates in practice, it is going to be a lot harder. As for your other players, if they are the teeniest bit competitive, they are going to see their chance to get even and go harder than usual.

Coaches ask,
Shouldn't we rotate the person in the middle so everyone gets a fair chance?

The answer is,


The entire purpose of this drill is that everyone DOESN'T get a fair chance so some people have to work harder than others. If you feel that the two members who were not in the center got left out, let them be in the center another day, two weeks from now. Practice shouldn't be like Groundhog Day, where you always do the same thing.

If you just can't accept that one person got more practice, at the end of this drill, do a second one where you do the exact same format with the same groups but this time do matwork. Have a second group member in the middle this time.

Seriously, though, it's okay that not everyone gets the same amount of practice every day. Sometimes the focus can be on Meghan and other times it can be on José . Everyone should get their fair share of your focus overall, but it doesn't have to be an equal share every day.

Practice shouldn't be like Groundhog Day, where you always do the same thing. I said that twice because it was important.


Fritz said...

Nice idea, we use sometimes a randori setup like this: Initial there are some randori pairs at the tatami, and a bunch of free pupils lined up at the side. As soon one takes a fall, he/she is replaced by the first of the line and goes to the end of line... After some minutes the ones which are a little bit "better" will stay all the time and after some minutes more they begin to be exhausted and then the weaker ones get their chance :-)

Loren said...

You always have a very interesting idea! I like keeping the "best" person in the middle to wear them out. I have a few I could do that to!

Thanks AM! I hope all is well with you.

Unknown said...

In the dojo I belong on occasion one judoka will get more attention than others. It has happened to all of us there. This is one of the things about judo that I like. And I do believe it is when sensei see's something in particular that day and its not at random.