The Western Area training day was an idea born after watching an interview with Tour De France winner Geraint Thomas, and his charity Come Ride With Me event.
So, with some planning and help behind the scenes everything started to come together for Simon Ward and the Western Area . The Zoom platform gave them an opportunity to deliver a virtual online training day, which they headlined as “Stay in and Stay a Judoka Day”.
They also created a link to support and raise money for the NHS Heroes charity and launched a Just Giving page for the training day.
Once they started to talk about how they could deliver a creative and memorable experience to the Judoka, many coaches offered some amazing time and ideas to help the day, give a return to some form of regular familiarity for the Judoka, a chance to put on your Judogi once again and get moving.
They welcomed some amazing coaches who volunteered their time to help out with Neil Adams, Sally Conway and Ben Fletcher all adding a very special visit to the Virtual Training Opportunity.
Neil Adams 9th Dan 1981 World Champion and twice Olympic Silver Medallist, Neil Won 7 European Championship titles and was British Champion on 21 occasions. Neil now also plays a leading role in the IJF Coaching and Referee commissions as well as being the leading commentator on all major IJF events. Neil was joined with his daughter Brooke as his Uke and Nikki who was able to provide some great filming to share all the points Neil was demonstrating and explaining, as he talked about the importance of quality Uchi Komi rather than quantity and how to safely continue to practice with a supportive Uke at home.
Bristol born Sally Conway, the 2016 Olympic Bronze Medallist and 2019 World Championship Bronze Medallist, with her first club being Thornbury JC, and Ben Fletcher 2016 Olympian and multiple IJF World Tour Medallist including Gold at the 2019 Baku Grand Slam. Ben now represents Ireland and is based full time at Bath University High Performance Centre and is originally from Pinewood judo club. Both joined in to talk about their lockdown training and how the Olympics date changing has had an effect on their focus and timeframes. Both Sally and Ben answered many questions from the Judoka on a variety of judo related questions.
Back in the many self-built home dojos, they continued working the judoka with a few creative training principles.
Western Area Head Coach Simon Ward kicked the day off with a few interactive games as a warmup, before running through a Shadow Uchi Komi circuit linking in five techniques with a range of direction and movement patterns.
Tom Reed, 2014 Commonwealth Games Silver medallist, introduced an excellent Uchi Komi Judo Bands training fundamental drills and progression circuits Tom also used this session to set out the NHS 2.6 Challenge as we all completed 26 sets of 26 Uchi Komi.
England Program Coach Jason Parsons took the judoka through a series of Ne-Waza mobility exercises fundamental skills with progression to further skill development to challenge everyone.
Chris Sherrington 2012 London Olympian, 2019 British Senior Champion and 2014 Commonwealth Champion led in his words a crazy Olympian Judo Circuit. Chris worked everyone hard with a Judo Specific Workout combining judo movements and fitness combination exercises in a true Royal Marine Commando style.
Western Area Judoka and GB Athlete Lele Nairne who competed at 2019 Senior World Championships and was 2018 European Under 23 Silver Medallist ran an excellent “Gripping” Kumi Kata techniques and drill strategies for competitive situations with her brother Ethan being her uke, while all the kids went running to persuade parents to be their Uke with gripping practice with Lele.
Western Area Female Coach Eva Minarikova, then explained and ran a Tai Sabaki program for home training. She allowed the judoka to practice and created a few ideas everyone can follow at home to development continued practice.
Francis Sanderson Strength & Conditioning Coach & 2018 Western Area Senior Men’s Team National Teams put together specific body weight fitness circuits linking using key muscle groups and movements to demonstrate the link to specific judo techniques.
Western Area support coach Charlie Bond brought the day to a close with a fantastic series of Coordination and Mobility exercises based around a cool down and stretch including a tough 99 Challenge shape.
Ward was thrilled with uptake from judoka of all ages across the Western Area. “It has been a totally unbelievable event; I believe we successfully created a lifelong memory along our personal Judo Journeys with of a Lockdown Judo Virtual Reality Stay in and Stay a Judoka day.”
“The Just Giving Page is still open please continue to donate at present we have raised £385.”
“A massive thank you all everyone who took part, we welcomed Judoka from many parts of the Western Area and further afield. At one point we had just under 100 Judoka and parents all training together practicing alongside our Olympians and Superstar coaches.”