Judo training for kids

Kids trainingMost children and most clubs provide two sessions per week, this is a good level for beginners and children at low to mid level. More sessions per week should be carefully considered as the negative impacts can out weigh the positive.

Children are very different to adults and this should be considered when looking at the number and type of Judo sessions and also when considering supplemental training such as running. Children’s bodies are still growing and developing, so “hard” training needs to be a minority of training. Similarly running and weight training should be restricted as it can cause injury very easily.

For children, the best training for Judo is Judo skill work.

Judo needs to be fun, yet educational. It needs to be good exercise, but not lead to overexertion. Supplementary training such as running should primarily be used to give the psychological impression of putting in extra effort rather than actually making the child work harder.

Allowing and encouraging your child to do more learning of the complex skills of Judo will help them in both the short term and in the long-term. Much like building a house, solid foundations are essential.

The key to long-term Judo success is enthusiasm and regular Judo lessons over time. So

Weight Control

Judo competitions are fought in weight divisions, which leads to the common practise of players working hard to stay under the maximum weight for the division.

This should never be encouraged, it should be actively discouragd by both parents and clubs.

Weight control is generally achieved in Judo through food and fluid restriction over a should period leading up to the competition. This is not healthy and can cause great harm to your childs health. It can also promote serious long term eating disorders, which again can be very damaging for your childs health.

It is also detrimental to performance. Food restriction leaves you without energy, fluid restriction causes dehydration. Dehydration has been rpoven to lower performance.

If a player has dehydrated themselves to “make their weight” in the morning, they will not be rehydrated that morning,nor in most cases that afternoon. So performance is affected for the whole day.

No club or instructor should encourage your child to lose or control their weight, ever!

(Photo by Nick Cariss)

This entry was posted by lancew on Thursday, April 10th, 2008 at 9:19 pm and is filed under Judo . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


  1. Elisia says:

    My 6 year old trains judo with 20 year old men. She seems to do a lot of sitting around. 10 minutes, preceded by her 1 minute turn, and this continues.
    Is it normal to train with 20 year old yellow-belt men?
    Is it normal to have to sit around so much during a session?

  2. LanceW says:

    Hi Elisia,
    that does not sound very good to me. We would not normally want to have young children with young men.

    I would strongly suggest looking around for another club that has a session that is more suitable for your daughter.

    http://dojolist.org has several thousand Judo clubs listed, you can type in your address and see what clubs are listed near you. If one does not appear (it does not have every club), I suggest contacting the national governing body for your country and asking them to help you find a club.

    I Hope that helps, please let me know how you get on or if I can help in anyway.


  3. Wendy says:

    Hi, my boys are both teenagers and at a high level of judo. They train 3 times a week. However in the school holidays they train from 10 until 4pm obviously with breaks and there is alot of technical stuff and not just randori. However the coach then expects the kids to go back in the evening and do a further 1-2 hour session. I feel this is ridiculously unnecessary however I am sporty but not a judo player. Is this amount of training necessary – I want my children to enjoy their summer holidays and their judo without having it rammed down their throats. However I have been told that at their level, this is what is expected 🙁

  4. LanceW says:

    Its hard to comment without all the details but let me make a couple of uninformed comments.

    10am-4pm is a lot of Judo. Is it everyday/every weekday?

    I’d suggest its not worth going back in the evening. Especially if the boys don’t fancy it.

    You I think you are on the right path, your sons are young and have a long way to go in their Judo lives and their lives generally. I’d be with you in thinking they should tone it down and enjoy the summer break.

    If British, they are not going to be high level till their mid to late 20s. So plenty of time to develop, time now to enjoy and grow and once teens are over see where they are at.

    I would be careful if they are hitting 16 or more hours training a week. The injury risk increases substantially. If they are in a growing phase its especially risky also.

    For me, again without all the facts; let the boys take the summer for fun and rest. There is I doubt much to gain in the longterm from ruining the holidays. In fact far more likely more to lose. Injury, loss of passion for Judo.

    Hope that helps.


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