During 2014 British Judo took part in a pilot project based on Sport England’s Sport Participation Model programme.
The objective was to create a behaviour change programme targeted at retaining young people (aged 12-16) in judo.
After an intensive programme of insight, consultation and development ‘Prime 4 Judo’ was piloted with 11 clubs in autumn 2014. Each aspect of the programme – coach education, club development and inter-club training – was well received by club coaches and young players, and delivered a 20% improvement in retention rates in contrast to the national average.
The pilot identified several areas for retention: developing the structure of the club, personal development and achievement pathways for those who do not wish to compete, and effective coaching across all ages and abilities.
The findings of the report summarising the effects of the initiative, concluded that tackling any one of the areas mentioned above may have a positive effect. However, when all are in place retention of young players is much more likely.
The insights, both from the research and from the experience of delivering the pilot, have provided British Judo with a strong vision of what is needed to develop the judo experience for young people in the future.
British Judo Technical Officer Keith Merrick was pleased with how the pilot went: “We got off to a flying start as the sessions chosen were full of students with the profile we wanted and they were very willing to participate using different ideas of training”.
“The behaviour change program was a fantastic idea and allowed coaches to share ideas and coaching philosophies”, said Wayne McDonald, Judo Development Officer at University of Wolverhampton, Walsall Campus, who were one of the clubs who took part in the pilot.
“We had great support from the British Judo staff ranging from organising and advertising the sessions to coach education courses. This helped all coaches involved in the program”, Wayne added.
James Radford, Strategic Lead for Insight at Sport England was delighted to have supported the pilot: “Behaviour change sits at the heart of our participation objectives. Right from the start, the BJA bought into the importance of setting really clear behavioural goals and then being driven in all their planning and actions by much richer insight into the target audience, even when it challenged existing thinking.
“This report demonstrates how the BJA are striving to put the customer (judo participants and the judo workforce) at the heart of what they do”.
The final report will be formally presented to the British Judo board at the next board meeting on 23rd June.
Click here to view the full report.