I’ve been absent for the last three weeks for a good reason. Last weekend, I celebrated my club’s 40th anniversary, and by extension my 40 years as a Judo coach. We held a bash at our club for the occasion. Past and present members showed up for a great reunion that featured a nostalgic slideshow, empowering speeches, renewed friendships, and lots of food.
Although I’ve been coaching for over 38 years, this year was the first time I decided to run a week-long summer day camp. We ran not one, but two week-long day camps from 9am-3pm within our own facility. I came away physically drained, but feeling good about our decision to run these camps- so good, in fact, that I’d like to share our experience with you.
I believe that each community in America could support a Judo club if only we had enough coaches. Since we don’t have enough coaches maybe we should take a page from the American Youth Soccer Association (AYSO) when it set up shop almost fifty years ago. The AYSO recruited volunteer parents, mostly with little knowledge of soccer or coaching, provided them with a manual, a brief coaching clinic, a few balls and cones, and then cut them loose to coach their child’s soccer team. Many of these neophyte volunteers actually developed into relatively good soccer coaches after several years, in spite of knowing little initially or never having played the game themselves.