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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Big vs. Little. How coaching players of different sizes changes what you must coach. 

Projection 2I am, or should I saw “was” a lightweight Judoka, I trained with a variety of coaches some dealt well with my size, some less so. Part of this had/has to do with coaches not changing what they taught to match me as a player. If you are coaching any group, you will have players of different sizes and will need to change the way you teach techniques.

A study published in 2007 identified the speed differences between heavy and light weight players (R. Almansba, 2007) and is a good example of how the dynamics of throwing alter based on size.
You might be not be surprised to find that they found that the light weights had more speed than the heavier players when using Seoi-nage, while the heavier Judoka have more speed when doing Uchi-mata. Basically they showed that throwing speed is related to the type of technique used and not weight category.

As a coach you need to be able to adjust the way you teach to match the player AND the techniques.

A common error is to adjust techniques to match big against small or vice versa. This is a bad idea as a heavyweight player is not going to meet a lightweight in competition. Ditto for coaching lightweights how to big the big boys. In running you sessions you will need to keep the weights apart, so that the players do not start adjusting/practising their techniques incorrectly for actual application against people of the right weight.

Size is also a key factor in deciding techniques your players should develop. As a young man I loved Uchi-Mata (and I still do), but sensible coaches made me focus on developing my Seoi Nage as I was very light and very short.

You must develop players carefully as a coach. Players may not wish to work on the throws that suite them according to the statistics and common sense. Players may wish to try different throws, especially if they are purely recreational players.

If you are coaching young people, you need to consider their eventual size and weight. You will want to meet Mum and Dad,brothers and sisters, etc. This will give you an idea of what size the child in your care is likely to become over time. You want to develop throws for this player for their future, not just for their short-term size and weight.

A comparative study of speed expressed by the number of throws between heavier and lighter categories in judo
Science & Sports, Volume 23, Issues 3-4, June-August 2008, Pages 186-188
R. Almansba, E. Franchini, S. Sterkowicz, R.T. Imamura, M. Calmet, S. Ahmaidi⁠
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