Using a training diary

‘There are three very good reasons for keeping a daily record of your training’, says Neil Adams (Adams & Soames, 1986, p. 34).

‘Firstly, you are constantly learning new techniques and training methods and it is impossible to keep such knowledge at instant recall, whereas writing down everything you learn and experience gives you something to refer back to. It also helps you sort out the good practices from the bad. Secondly, when you have learnt and adopted some kind of structure schedule, the diary provides feed-back in terms of the successful and the unsuccessful elements. Lastly, a training diary can help to prevent the sportsman from becoming ‘coach dependent’, because it helps to provide the necessary information for the player to set out his own short-term goals and to formulate long-term aims and objectives.

‘I used to write down everything in my training diary. I wrote down how I felt during the day, including whether I felt mental pressure one day, and physical pressure the next. I wrote down which throws worked in randori, why and on whom, and why others didn’t. I made a note of exactly what I did, how far I ran, which weights I pushed, what I didn’t do and why. And I tried not to cheat.

‘I also described what I observed, particularly about other judo players who were in my weight or above, and through that I became accustomed to watching and analysing, instead of just getting on the mat and getting up a good old sweat. And after contests, I would fill pages and pages with my reports so that I knew the strengths and weaknesses of every player I was likely to come across. Although I have never been very good at mathematics or thinking logically, I can now retrieve and use information about opponents very quickly. But at the start I had to write my thoughts down. So, for instance, about Chris Bowles I wrote: ‘Main throw, ouchi-gari (not very strong tai-otoshi). Seoi-nage under pressure. Gripping good. Doesn’t like left-handers. Left-hand grip with right foot forward.’ Then I would would note the last time I fought him: ‘Three minutes fighting for grips, attacked him with seoi-nage. Nothing. Tai-otoshi, scored koka. Ouchi-gari, scored koka. Let him attack with ouchi-gari, countered, scored waza-ari.’ Or I would put in reasons why he made it difficult for me, what I did, why I changed my tactics half way through. I made the same kind of entry for all my opponents.’

Works Cited
Adams, N., & Soames, N. (1986). A Life in Judo. London: Willow Books.

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