This is the Judo blog of Lance Wicks. In this blog I cover mainly Judo and related topics. My Personal blog is over at where I cover more geeky topics. Please do leave comments on what you read or use the Contact Me form to send me an email with your thoughts and ideas.

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Playing Smart.... 

Ura Nage
Tristan wrote a great post this weekend ( ... -stronger/ ) that I just had to comment on and extend on the part of it that grabbed my attention. In the post Tristan talks about teaching people good sutemi waza as opposed to just telling people not to do it.

Which is a great idea and I applaud the effort.

The problem is this, too often we see Judo players doing techniques that will end up getting them into trouble. Bad technique is one reason, and this is what Tris was addressing I think. However, the problem is bigger than that and an area I see that I do not see coaches doing is addressing the fact that some techniques no matter how well done are risky. Statistically they are a bad idea, and if you are coaching players to win matches you might need to consider just plain banning some techniques.

So here is the problem, some techniques are just risky to try in competition and the classic example of this is Ura Nage, or as most people do it the drag-back counter. If you get it or do it wrong, your back hits the floor and there is a damn good chance the referee is going to score against you.

The same is true of Tomoe Nage, and to be frank most sutemi waza. If your back his going on the floor then you run a risk of getting pinged for it. You need to be aware of this as a coach and if you are coaching Judo as a sport, you need to decide if you let your players do these sorts of techniques.

Whilst we are at it, you may want to take a good long look at O Soto Gari, it is quite risky. As are all foots executed on one foot. I am not saying that they are bad waza nor are they techniques that should be avoided. What I am suggesting is that as a coach (or player) you need to make a risk assessment.

You need to look at what you are teaching/coaching and consider if it is to risky for the player. Sutemi waza are pretty darn risky, you need to assess if the players probability of executing the technique successfully is higher than the probability that they do it wrong and they get penalised or scored against.

What are your players' safest throws? The ones that score regularly and do not put them at much risk? Is it perhaps a drop seoi? Ashi waza? It may not be a throw that results in a high score, perhaps it only gets kokas... sorry yuko now. But does it score regularly and safely?

Day 5 - Lay-up
In other sports they do this all the time, in Judo we do it poorly if at all. In basketball for example the “lay up” is considered a high percentage shot and favoured over the higher scoring 3-pointer. It is an easier shot, safer and it increases the chance of a defensive foul. The “lay up” keeps the scoreboard ticking over. What throws keep your players scoreboard ticking over?

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