New research into young people’s motivations to participate in judo

British Judo have recently completed a research project investigating the motivations to join, stay at or leave a judo club amongst 12-16 year olds. The research canvassed opinions of current and lapsed British Judo members, their parents and coaches about how best to encourage and maintain participation in the sport. Engagement at a community level has been highlighted as a key strategic target for the association, with this research informing a new pilot programme set to roll out in selected clubs within the West Midlands, East London and the Northern Home Counties. A brief summary of key findings from the research are included below.


Investigation into what 12-16 year olds liked about judo revealed five key points:

  • Belts/grading – reward
  • Fitness and strength
  • Made a lot of friends
  • Winning
  • Self control and discipline
The research equally revealed what 12-16 year olds disliked about the sport:
  • The pain/injury caused from taking part
  • Boring sessions
  • The disappointment of losing
  • Too many rules
  • Competitions – longevity and pressure
  • The commitment of training and competitions


Throughout the research, many of those interviewed suggested ideas for improving Judo for 12-16 year olds:

  • Club awards
  • Inter-club training and competitions
  • Targeted coaching sessions and guest coaches
  • Self defence
  • Non competitive pathways such as leadership, refereeing and officiating
  • More social activities

British Judo is now taking this research forward and will be delivering a pilot programme between September 2014 and January 2015. Based on the research findings the pilot will focus on coach, player and club development and will be monitored throughout, with feedback from the clubs, coaches and players.

If you would like to add your views to the ongoing research and pilot programme, please submit them here –

If you have any questions regarding the pilot programme or the research please email