Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Coaching, Then and Now

Like many competitors, when I retired from competition, I was very excited about coaching, and particularly about coaching players like me - that is, national and international level competitors. Even though I had just come off of winning a world championships, not too many people were interested in hearing anything I had to say. Part of it was sexism - thirty years ago, not many men or women gave much respect to female coaches. I can only remember two female judo coaches in the U.S. - Rusty Kanokogi and Diane Pierce. If women black belts were "allowed" to teach at all, they taught kata.

Part of it, though, was although I was a great competitor (come on, if you won a world gold medal you get to say you were a great competitor), I certainly was not a great coach, I was just a beginning coach. I didn't totally suck - I knew a lot of judo, especially matwork, I was in good physical shape to demonstrate, and I honestly wanted to help athletes learn the techniques that I was good at. I had a GREAT time at every practice and I couldn't understand why everyone else didn't, too.

Several things are different now. I'm certainly not in the same physical shape. I want to help everyone learn the techniques that will benefit them. Not everyone wants to be an international athlete. Some people just want to get in shape, have a good time, maybe compete in a tournament now and then. Even the people who are athletes are not all best suited doing the techniques I did as a competitor.

On Sunday, I was watching Bradley work out and it occurred to me that a particular entry to an arm bar would work really well with the way he does judo. It's not something I ever did personally, but Ronda does it. So, we spent some time working on that and he did it really well. I thought Marcello was not advanced enough to do the same technique, but he came over to watch us, and it was obvious he wanted to try it, so I invited him to join in. I was wrong, he actually did the technique better than I expected.

My point here is that when I was younger, I focused on what *I* wanted to do, what *I* was good at, what *I* thought a player should do. Now that I am older, I've learned to focus more on each person as an individual. So, you could say I have gone from being "coach-centric" to "player-centric".

I didn't show that armbar here for the same reason that I did not include it in Winning on the Ground and that I asked Bradley's mom not to post any video of it. Tune in to the fight December 28th and maybe you will see it then.


Anonymous said...

Ronda has a very foul mouth! She is no lady. Ronda (you included) will have to give an account to God in the immediate future for all your sins ( including every profane word that you utter.

Ronda needs to grow up.

Dr. AnnMaria said...

Oh, really? And have you heard this from God personally? Ronda raised money for the Didi Hirsch Mental Health Clinic, 7 Stars Foundation (which sends children of soldiers killed in Iraq to camp), Gompers Middle School and for an injured boxer. What did you do to help your fellow man or woman this year?

Recce Rifleman said...

Anon up there clearly has not read the Bible. What words are listed as sin in the Bible? Only prohibitions on speech are blasphemy and bearing false witness. But I digress...

Great observation, Dr. AnnMaria, on the differences in coaching and competing. Coaching is a difficult art form, in that suggesting a technique or method for a student / athlete has way more variables than learning the same for yourself.