GOOOOOOOOAL(s) - That Which Gets Measured Gets Improved

As a coach, one of the things that frustrates me is that many... possibly even most of my students aren't dedicated to their practice. And by dedicated, I mean, they show up to every class, and work to make improvement. Now, I don't necessarily look down on folks who aren't dedicated... jobs, family, school, etc., can (and sometimes should) get in the way of coming to class. And if you are just doing Judo to have occasional fun, then that's cool, and I am happy to have you. But the problem for me comes when *most* of my students don't show this kind of dedicated... It comes down to motivation.

The short version of my thinking on motivation is that the folks with goals tend to be more motivated, and those who make progress towards those goals are more motivated.  So step one is understanding what the motivation is.  The good news for us, as coaches, is that almost everyone will have some sort of motivation - we just need to find out what it is.

Step two, then, is figuring out how to measure progress towards that goal.  "That which gets measured gets improved" is an adage in industry.  Basically, once you start tracking the data on something, that makes it easier to see when and how progress (or failure) is made.  So you figure out how to track it, and then you track it.  Want to improve your physical fitness?  Well, 2 weeks ago, you couldn't go more than 2 minutes in randori before you were tapping from exaustion, and now you can go 4 minutes strong...  Want to win tournaments?  Well, in the last tourney, you didn't execute any offensive techniques, and this time you scored 2 yukos!

And once you have the goal and a way to track progress, you can then start recognizing gaps, devising strategies to improve, and, most importantly, creating the opportunities for that improvement.  Once your fitness-seeker gets to where she can handle a round of randori, start with endurance drills and multiple sessions of randori.  Take your victory-seeker to tournaments, and watch his performance... Etc.

Theoretically, this should be a good way to boost the dedication of your students.  And as they get more dedicated, they show up to class more regularly, and that improves the general esprit-de-corps of the whole dojo, and you have your virtuous cycle.  I say theoretically because... well... I haven't really done this.  Yet.  But I'll give it a try, and will let you know if it works.  Any tips from you more seasoned coaches are always appreciated.



kodokanjudo said...

Yoshiaki Yamashita (10th dan) was asked by a student what the secret to judo was. His answer was "Don't miss class".

kodokanjudo said...

Attendance is the key to learning judo. By attending class one gets saturated with the basics of judo to the point where it becomes second nature and then the real learning and progress begins. Last class we had a brief touch on sen-no-sen and go-no-sen. Go-no-sen can be picked up with time but sen-no-sen can only be picked up after very serious and consistent judo attendence and practice.