Planning your training 101, for Judo athletes.

Annual Training Plan - Image from

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Proper preparation prevents poor performance, or words to that effect. To be able to perform at a competition a Judo athlete needs to prepare themselves as well as they are able. The key to good preparation is planning.

In this post we shall look at the basics of developing a training plan.

According to Wikipedia, planning consists of the following key elements:

1. Clearly define the target / goal in writing.
a. It should be set by a person having authority.
b. The goal should be realistic.
c. It should be specific.
d. Acceptability
e. Easily measurable
2. Identify all the main issues which need to be addressed.
3. Review past performance.
4. Decide budgetary requirement.
5. Focus on matters of strategic importance.
6. What are requirements and how will they be met?
7. What will be the likely length of the plan and its structure?
8. Identify shortcomings in the concept and gaps.
9. Strategies for implementation.
10.Review periodically.

Lets put that into Judo context:

1.Set your event(s). Gold at the US Open for example. You want to et the date of the event.
2.Identify the training you need to do, the events you need to enter, the selection criteria etc.
3.Review your record to date, both medals and ability to train.
4.Money… yep, you are going to need enough to make it.
5.Focus on the important areas of your training. Talk to your coaches about it.
6.Decide what needs to be achieved and how you’ll achieve them.
7.How long in the plan, is it realistic in terms of training cycles?
8.Find your the areas where you can’t achieve what you need to.
9.Decide how you are going to implement the plan
10.Review it regularly, make changes, move on.

For newcomers to planning you might want to start simple. You training plan does not need to be perfect. In fact it will never be perfect. Just remember what chess grand champion Gary Kasparov is quoted as saying

A bad plan is better than no plan

Your plan framework….

Start with your target event date, get a calendar and work backwards from that date, counting the number of weeks between today and the event. Take the total number of weeks and divide by 8. This is the number of training cycles you will have to prepare (6 weeks per cycle with two week transition between cycles). You also need to consider if your goal is “SMART“, which means  Specific, Measurable, Action Orientated, Realistic and Time constrained

Now you know how many cycles you have to prepare, you can start slotting types of training into the cycles. A typical programme will have the following elements:

  • Endurance
  • Strength
  • Speed
  • Power

On the Judo side you might have:

  • Technique Development
  • Technique Maintenance
  • Randori
  • Kumi Kata
  • Transitions
  • Competition Preparation

You may also want to look at this in terms of the following areas of Judo training:

  • Technical
  • Tactical
  • Physical
  • Mental

Speak with your coach and work out what you need to work on, decide when it needs to be done, etc. Start slotting these elements into the cycles. You will be aiming at repeating elements, so depending on how many areas you want to work on, you may soon discover that you can’t ft it all in. Until you start planning you will not know.

While planning your training, you must also be scheduling in your competitions/goals. These are often described as being of two varieties, training events and medal events. The majority (75:25% split) should be training events and these are used to ‘measure goals’, these goals should be related to the categories above and reflect the training you are doing up to that point. The medal events are the ones where you need to win for selection or other reasons.

Once all you cycles are filled, your plan is ready to go. Start tomorrow. Follow your plan for 6 weeks. In weeks 7 and 8 you are in transition. Take a few days off altogether, then sit down with coaches and the plan and go through it from start to finish again. Make sure it is still the plan you want, change it as required. Then (week 8 in particular) do a mixed week of your old training and your new training. Or perhaps do something completely different. Maybe if you have been doing endurance work and technique development and are moving to strength work and transitions then do a week of speed work and Randori just to shake things up a bit. Or skip the gym and dojo and go canoeing and play some Basketball.

Then start your next week fresh.

In the next post we will look at the microcycles (weeks) within each of your training cycles and how to plan them out as well. This will include looking at how to schedule the intensity and duration of your training sessions, coping with the inevitable injuries and also how to tailor your Judo training to match your physical training needs… and vice versa.

Till then, train hard, have fun!


Further Reading:

Comments (2)

[…] discussed here I subscribe to the SMART philosophy of goal setting.  This means that your goals should be Simple, […]

ibrahimAugust 3rd, 2011 at 4:06 pm

I want an annual training plan

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