British Judo’s highly-regarded beginners course has attracted newcomers from across the country to the Olympic and Paralympic sport.
Judo is one of the world’s most widely participated sports and the beginners course is designed to provide a fun-fuelled, exciting experience while you receive expert tuition and become familiar with judo’s highly-motivating and rewarding non-competitive grading scheme.
The course enables you to develop your fitness levels, balance, coordination and flexibility develop in a no-pressure environment amd provides the opportunity to start a new sport at a resonsable price with like minded beginners.
What are Beginner Courses?
Beginners courses are exactly that, an introduction to the sport of judo for those with no or little experience of judo.
Who can take part in a Beginners Course?
You have to be at least 5 years old, other than that, anyone can!
What is an ABC & a JBC & what is the difference?
An ABC is an abbreviation of Adult Beginners Course & only targets senior players (16+). A JBC is a Junior Beginners Course & only targets juniors (5-U16). You can run either an ABC or a JBC or alternatively there's nothing stopping a club running them both simultaneously; providing they have the mat space, venue availability & coaching capacity to do so.
Note: there may be some instances where you include 14 & 15 year olds in an ABC as from 14 they can hold a senior licence.
How do we run a course?
Looking here is a great start! These pages & documents & advice will provide a club with all the tools to set up a ABC &/or a JBC.
First of all discuss as a club committee. Ensure that you have the capacity to deliver a Beginners Course with available coaches & mat space. Also start thinking about how you are going to attract new people to your sessions.
Ideally a Beginners course would be run as an additional stand alone session or, if the club has enough mat space & qualified coaches, separate from the regular class as a split mat.
Secondly utilise all of the information & documents here - there's no need to reinvent the wheel, we call it sharing best practice ;-) !
How long should a Beginners Course last?
Our experience & feedback from beginners tells us that they tended to prefer the longer introduction before being integrated into the regular club session, therefore we recommend a 10 week course. Generally, for Juniors an hour long session will be more than sufficient but with adult beginners you may want to increase this to 1hr 30 however we wouldn't suggest any longer at this point.
What should a Beginners Course entail?
Joyce Heron has devised the (downloadable) template session plans specific to junior or senior age groups. This document contains some guidelines around the structure & content of the Beginners Course with their experience at the heart of it. Keep it fun & active so beginners will want to come back. We also recommend including a grading on the final session. This gives beginners a target to work towards & gives the club an opportunity to take some photographs & use it to publicise the good work you have done. The grading scheme being a fantastic retention tool
Remember everyone started as a beginner at some point! We want to ensure a beginners experience is as positive as possible so they want to come back.
What are the benefits of running a Beginners course?
Walking in to a Dojo for the first time with no experience can be daunting - seeing lots of players in judo suits with different coloured belts & without having a suit yourself & not knowing anyone it can take some guts!
Knowing that there are other people newly starting at the same time as you is reassuring & you feel less out of place. Having a group of beginners all starting at once at a club also makes it much easier for your club to accommodate beginners. It requires less coaching resources as opposed to having to take an experienced player or coach over to a new beginner every month to teach them the basics. By running a specific Beginner Course you can teach the basics once to the group & you are more likely to retain higher numbers as you have a critical mass.
Ultimately, a Beginners Course will hopefully help you grow your club membership; improving your club for your existing members whilst increasing your mat fee revenue. Also, these beginners may bring new skills, ideas & energy into your club.
What should the Beginner Course include?
It should include everything that you need to get yourself underway in judo:
- Club membership if applicable
- BJA membership, it could be a Pay As You Throw membership initially: http://www.britishjudo.org.uk/applyrenew-online
- Judo Suit. Many clubs will have their own stock alternatively please find some competitive options at: http://www.judostore.co.uk/judo-suits.html/
- BJA Grading
What will it cost The Beginner?
It's up to you as the club to work out your overheads & charge Beginners accordingly. Our advice would be to try & make the package as attractive as possible, perhaps offering a discount from the usual price if items were purchased individually but don't sell yourselves, or the sport short.
We also recommend asking for a deposit from beginners before you start giving out suits etc.
What support from the BJA is available?
- Hopefully you have found these pages useful & informative. Please also find the links to Useful Documents which should lessen the amount of work required from volunteers. This also includes FREE flyers & posters templates which can be personalised to your club.
- Advice & advertising support from your local BJA Service Manager. They will be able to inform your local County Sports Partnership & , where applicable, your local sports development officers (http://www.britishjudo.org.uk/development-staff).
- Technical & Beginner Course Programme guidance from your local BJA Regional Technical Officer (http://www.britishjudo.org.uk/technical-staff).
How can we advertise our Beginners Course?
Contact your local Service Manager & Regional Technical Officer. They in turn will pass on contacts for the County Sports Partnerships & local Sports Development Officers where applicable. We will also use the BJA website & social media profiles to support this.
However please note these courses are only successful if the club & its members buy in to it to & champion it. Use the free flyers & posters & start spreading the word! Good places to put up posters could be: the local leisure centre, youth centre, library, shops, use social media such as Twitter & Facebook,
- Task a couple of juniors or seniors (depending which Beginners course you are looking to run) to be the people who welcome the beginners into the club & talk to them & welcome them to your club. That person you're thinking of will sell the club well & give them a warm welcome. Perhaps buddy the beginners up with someone in the club whose responsibility it is to get in touch with them after the session & see how they found it, asking them if they have any questions. If a beginner misses a session it could be their buddy's responsibility to get in touch with them again & follow it up.
- If you are Clubmark accredited use this as a great tool to sell your club. Use it on the flyers & posters & have the file to show any new beginners or their parents.
Useful Documents Include:
- Flyer & Poster Templates
- Press Release Template
Please note there is no prescribed or imposed format that you have to follow, these are just guidelines. If you have a successful system in place that is different but works well for your club then great!