British Judo to Implement Recommendations following Performance Review

Following the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the British Judo Association Board of Directors appointed a panel of high level performance experts to complete an independent review of the association’s elite performance programme.

The intention of the review was to highlight opportunities for improvement and as such a high-calibre, independent panel was established to take an in-depth look at the association’s performance operations.

The panel which included Clive Woodward, Mark Palios and Dave Reddin, were asked to undertake an in-depth review of a range of key areas including staffing and people, performance centres, coaching, pathways, support services, support bodies and the organisation, as well as the impact of British Judo’s performance programme. The review was presented to the board on Monday 17th December and set out a number of key recommendations. 

The Board of Directors unanimously agreed the recommendations, which included the establishment of a Performance Management Group (PMG), recruitment to key leadership positions, a review of the performance strategy and action plan and the establishment of an English based centre of excellence.

British Judo Chairman, Kerrith Brown commented: “It was important post-games to take stock of our position and to understand that there is always room to improve.

“The review has given us valuable insight from a broad range of stakeholders and I’m sure that these recommendations will put our performance programme in a strong position.

“What also pleases me is the speed at which the board and staff have acted to begin implementing these recommendations with the formation of the Performance Management Group, which will be key to the success of our performance programme.” 

Below is a summary of the key recommendations for implementation over the next three months:

1) The establishment of Performance Management Group (PMG) as the key decision making body for performance in the BJA

The review recommends that a PMG including a range of key stakeholders be established to become the key performance strategy and policy making group. The PMG will comprise judo’s UK Sport Performance Advisor, senior performance staff, a UK Sport nominated performance expert, three board members and CEO of British Judo. In addition the PMG will create a mechanism to ensure that the athletes are engaged to support the decision making of the group.

Responsibilities for the group include the implementation of performance strategy and action plans and the recruitment of key performance personnel.

The board acted quickly to form the group which will be chaired by Dave Clark and also include Rowena Birch and Mac Abbotts.

2) Recruitment of key leadership positions 

The review recommends the recruitment of the following key positions by the PMG, to be appointed as early as possible in 2013:

Director of Performance – responsible for the System Aspect

Director of Coaching – responsible for technical and coach development


The recruitment panel will be formed from within the PMG and it is recommended that these key leadership positions are filled by personnel sensitive to UK and BJA cultural issues.

Other performance positions such as Talent Pathway Manager and Programme Manager should be appointed by the individuals appointed to the leadership roles.

3) Reviewing and Refining Strategy and Create Detailed Action Plans

The review recommends that the PMG review current strategy and transform the strategic intent to detailed action plans, taking into account the full performance landscape, with further recommendations in specific areas including:

  • Centralisation
    • Taking a pragmatic, staged approach to the long-term objective of  centralisation of elite training, national squads, coach education and administration
    • Establishing a centre of excellence in England – a tender specification is being drafted and will be issued week commencing 7th Jan.
    • Maintaining current centres
  • Coaching
    • Appoint a Director of Coaching with responsibility for all elite technical judo matters and an evidence based tactical and technical judo framework
    • Re-writing and implementing a new system of elite coach qualification and certification at all elite levels with the aim of creating a system and process that can be recognised as the best in the world
    • Developing detailed programmes for individual development
  • Selection
    • Develop clear selection policies for all events based on clear technical, tactical and development criteria
    • Ensure all selection decisions are comprehensively documented
  • Talent ID
    • Continue analysis into trends in judo performance to map current talent against Rio
  • Training Partners
    • Establish national squad training camps as part of the annual elite and junior judo performance plan
    • Re-engage with areas to ensure on-going availability and engagement of high quality training partners
  • Pathways
    • Employ a Pathway Manager to ensure a consistent approach to technical, tactical and physical judo development exists
    • Ensure this is reflected by gradins
    • Champion technical achievement at age group levels
    • Develop a flexible competition model appropriate to the developmental needs of an individual athlete
    • Celebrate and incentivise clubs developing players to nation programme
  • Coaching Support Services
    • Strategy to ensure a consistent level of and philosophy of coaching is experienced across the country
    • Re-engage with Institute-based system in England to give access to a broader range of expertise in key areas

Work will begin on this strategy in early January.