Bradley Stoke Special Needs judo training day a huge success

Bradley Stoke Judo Club in Gloucestershire held a British Inclusion Special Needs Training Day aimed at players, coaches, referees and table officials on Saturday 24 August.

The event took place at the Bradley Stokes Leisure Centre in Fiddlers Woods Lane, Bradley Stoke, Gloucestershire and was deemed by organisers as a huge success with almost 50 people attending.

Event Organiser and President and founder of the club, Steve Westlake said that the aim of the day was to empower coaches with the knowledge and skills to open up their own special needs clubs around the country.

Such clubs will cater for a wide range of clients some of whom may have cerebral palsy, downs syndrome or visual impairments.

The aim of the day was to provide one-stop shop for coaches to learn about the different methods available to teach children and adults with special needs and it worked really well, according to Westlake.

“It was an interaction day between the club and coaches, with the view to share best practices and teaching styles,” explained Westlake. “We gave our coaches an insight into the special needs programme currently in practice by the BJA. We also shared the best practices developed by the club throughout the years.” Bradley Stoke Special Needs Club have been working with Kodachi Special Needs Club over the last 14 years.

GB Coach Ken Thorne is a member GB Special Needs programme which has nurtured GB players such as David Woodland who will attended on the day.

“We provide services for a range of abilities, from complete beginner to professional. Our overall aim is to get the best special needs players through from beginners to fighting for GB,” added Steve.

As well as being a classroom based exercise mat sessions were attended by a range of age groups in the special needs classes from tots to seniors and some mainstream players too.

The day included 22 Players from the GB Special Needs Squad and nine visiting clubs and representatives who came from as far as the Isle of Man!

A good mix of coaches attended on the day and the course was delivered by Nick Brace, three times British Masters Champion and Peter Douglas who at the age of 50 won silver in the recent IJF Veterans competition.

Westlake started the Special Needs Programme at the same time as the mainstream club some 14 years ago, after visiting a daycare centre in South Gloucestershire.

He said: “I really enjoy teaching judo to special needs. Originally I started the mainstream club 14-years ago but then Pete Douglas took that side so I could concentrate on the special needs programme.

It was great to share our experiences and best practices with others on this day.

“All in all it was a huge success as people didn’t know that there was all this support out there. We will help these coaches to establish clubs across the country, in Sheffield and event the Isle of Man!”

To find out more information about the club, call Steve Westlake on 01454 615474 or 07976286686 or email him on:

Words by Donna Richardson, photos supplied by the club.