When you see a pattern in the way your student receives penalties or shido’s it can often be associated a few different larger issues with your student. Being able to find the patterns is very important as well as finding the deeper reasoning behind these penalties.
For instance, if your student is regularly receiving penalties for passivity or defensive posture, it can often be a sign he/she is getting out-gripped and needs to improve upon their kumikata strategies. Another issue could be penalties late in matches for false attacks or passivity, may be a sign that your athlete requires better conditioning. Studying penalties is often a forgotten detail in the analysis of your judoka, but it could turn out to be of incredible importance.
Here are some things to look for when studying the penalties received by your students.
Are the penalties against lefties or righties? I know this may seem obvious to some but, competing against lefties or righties can really mess with your athlete’s ability to perform especially if they are not properly prepared for it. If your athlete has difficulty adjusting to the difference in gripping someone of the opposite side, bailing out of the exchange may be their only way to avoid being thrown and a shido is a better result than being thrown for ippon.
At what point in the match do they happen most often? Throughout the match? At the beginning? Near the end? The timing of the penalties can tell you a lot. If it is at the beginning of the match, it often points to your athlete not being focused, maybe they do not have a good warm up routine. If the penalties are occurring throughout the match this could mean that they are having issues with strategy of how to fight the opponent.
Finally and most obviouslywhat are the warnings for? Passivity, false attacks or stepping outside of the tatami?
Knowing objectively why an athlete is receiving these penalties can have the affect of the canary in the coal mine. Addressing the particular issue can often lead to great immediate benefits.
Knowing what your judo opponent wants to do has obvious as well as huge benefits. This type of video analysis requires you to have access to your opponent’s matches on video. When the two judoka have a history you can very quickly pull up all matches that have occurred on Athlete Analyzer Judo (or if someone else of your students that use AAJ have met the opponent before). If not, you can watch matches that are available from the judobase.org or judoinside.com if your opponent competes internationally, or on any other Youtube channel available.
It is very important to know if your opponent is right or left handed. As well all matches that you watch should be against athletes that are the same side as your opponent. If the matches you watch of your opponent are against left handed fighters and your students is a right-handed fighter then you are not going to have a lot of relevant information to go on.
PATTERN: a discernible regularity in the world or in a manmade design. As such, the elements of a pattern repeat in a predictable manner.
What is your opponent’s favorite technique? Not only do we want to know which throw they use the most and are the most successful with. But also, the important details that precede the attack. The grip that your opponent attacks from. Which grip his opponent has when he attacks, and what type of movement does he force his opponent to make before attempt his technique.
Every athlete has tendencies. Finding those to prevent against their strongest attack as well recognizing opportunities to use your best techniques can quite easily be the different between winning and losing a match. Once the tendencies are found you want to create a game plan to either prevent their actions, or counter them.
Finally and maybe most importantly you have to drill the game plan in the dojo. Have another student assist, the closer their behavior matches that of the opponent the better. It will be very difficult for an athlete to perform the game plan in a tournament if they only talked about it in the dojo. The game plan must be drilled.
I have found this has helped my students not only against the specific athlete we are preparing for but in all athletes that fight in a similar manner.
As athletes fight in specific patterns, like minded athletes do as well.
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