Setting useful targets for your development as a Judo player.

BEIJING - NOVEMBER 15:  Gold medalist Caroline...
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In this post we shall cover some basic ideas in relation to setting sensible and useful targets/goals for Judo performance. the aim will be to define the parameters that you will use to decide if you performed well at a competition.

First things first, performance is not results. There is a relationship between the two, but a good result does not mean a good performance necessarily, nor does a great performance necessarily mean you win the competition. Unfortunately, too often in Judo results are considered the be all and end all of deciding if a player performed well. The IJF is cementing this attitude with the use of a final position based world ranking system (see for more on how the system works).

The target audience for this blog is Judo players just reaching a higher level of competition,  you are entering National or International competitions for the first time perhaps. As such, winning events is to be honest a unrealistic goal and can be detrimental to your development as a player. You need different criteria to medals to define if you had a good or bad day.

Below is a selection of targets you might use to make a measurement of your performance, unlike a medal these performance targets are based on things that for upcomingplayers can be more realistic.

Scoring: One target you might use is scoring on every person you fight.

Go the distance: You might aim to either win or at least go the full allotted time with your opponent if you can’t win.

Not get dumped for Ippon: You might aim to not get thrown or not get thrown for Ippon at least.

Attack more than they do: This might be good against a superior player, strive to attack more than they do.

Control the grip: You may not be able to to it consistently, but perhaps aim to control the grip at least 1 (or more) times.

When setting these sorts of targets, itis important to set them at the right level. They need to be challenging yet achieveable. You may want to average the target out across all your fights or be specific to who you are fighting and that match. It may mot be realistic for you to aim to score against every player, so you may aim to score against 75% of the players you fight.

Depending on your level you might have more difficult goals, such as “win at least half my fights by Ippon” or if you are really progressing you might set a target to “win this competition without using my favourite throw“.

It can be especially useful to set targets like the last two mentioned, if you are fighting in an event below your personal best level. These test/training events are an opportunity to test aspects of your development. So you may aim to fight 5 minutes, even if it means you don’t throw everyone for Ippon; this might test your endurance. Alternatively, aim to beat everyone in Ne-Waza to test if your Ne-Waza is developing as planned. Or throw everyone you fight with a the new technique you are working on; you get the idea I hope.

It is quite uncommon to see players and coaches fighting in such a structured way. You can help your development considerably if you use targets like those above to measure your success and plan to fight accordingly. It can also help with your motivation and mood. Nobody likes losing (least of athletes) but you may be able to divert some of the negative feelings by knowing that although you lost, you threw all your opponents for a score or you went 5 minutes with the #1 in your category, etc.

You should talk to your coaches about setting performance based targets for your competitions and try and ensure you have set them at the right level and in the right areas. Any questions let me know.


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