Greater Manchester, UK

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Sophie Cox Lead Coach:

4th Dan, 2 times Olympian,
7 times British Champion,
6 time European Champion and
Commonwealth Bronze

Judo More Than Sport: Part 1

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  • A report from the Budo-Nord/Lugi Judo Club Training Camp

What is it?

A judo competition and training camp for all ages.

Where is it?

Lund, Sweden.

I was surprised when I got a call from Mike asking if I was availible to coach at the Lugi camp this year.

Apparently, one of our mutual judo pals Conny Peterson had re

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Me and Mike, Head coach at Kendal Judo Performance Centre

commended to the organisers tat I be on the coaching team this year. Mike has been going to the camp for years and a young group from Kendal Judo club (plus extras!) were already booked to go to the competition and camp so I was delighted to be able to join the group. I also knew that it would be a great opportunity for me to add to my coaching experience in a new setting and surrounded by expert coaches. So, after rearranging a few things, including my son’s first birthday (!) I was all set to go.

 

The structure of the comp and camp is this; competition for all age groups up to 21 years old on Thursday, followed by 4 training sessions per day on Friday and Saturday (2 for the youth and 2 for the Juniors), a ‘Kid’s Cup’ on Saturday for the younger children, and a training session altogether on the Sunday. My job as one of the instructors on the camp was to lead the technical part of the training for a different group each time. I was able to do any type of coaching I wanted and I tried to adapt the techniques and style I used to match each group based on their age/ability. I also watched what the other coached were doing so I didn’t repeat something they had already been shown.

The players on the camp were from a few different countries; Sweden, Britain, Norway, Denmark, Germany and Finland. It’s a brilliant opportunity for them to meet and mingle and obviously chance to get some quality training of the right level. It’s very difficult to get this level of training all the time so the players were encouraged to make the most of it.  The youngest from Kendal was 10, with most of the kids being 12-13. This was the age when I started travelling abroad for competitions and camps and started to gain that

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Danny and Danny giving the team talk

holistic experience so important for my later professional judo career. The two coaches travelling with the Kendal team, Danny (big) and Danny (bald) were always there looking out for the players, having a firm word if they stepped out of line but making sure they were have a good time as well. They took them out for a BBQ in the park after the comp, gave them team talks before and after each session and generally helped them conduct themselves in the right manner. This is exactly what Mike, and my coach Brian Moore, have done for many years – mentoring the next generation. You can see the knowledge and experience being passed down through the generations and is one of the many reasons why judo is more than a sport.

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Me and Danny mentoring the Bacup Judo youngsters

What was most striking about this camp was the genuinely friendly atmosphere in which everything was conducted. The host and the organisers worked extremely hard to make sure everyone was accommodated and the session ran smoothly. A few of the travelling teams stayed in the sports hall on blow up mattresses which helps to bring the costs down. I’ve definitely done my fair share of ‘jungle’ trips like this and was happy to take the hotel option this time around! It can get pretty hectic at times and you have to deal with being in this environment but it’s also great fun for a couple of days!

 

  • Some of the other coaches -Me and Hortense Diédhiou, current player from Senegal and heading to the Games in Rio; organiser and Gabbi; Me and Neil Eckersley, former Olympic Bronze medallist, Kendal boy and now coaching in Norway

I learnt a lot from this trip, from other coaches and also from reflecting on my own coaching practice. I got to try out a few new things in a different environment. I hope others were able to learn from me too! And that’s another way that judo is more than a sport; at this level it is often about community and sharing, with a healthy level of competition thrown in.

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Team looking good!