Choosing an Award winner

Following on from the announcement of our Award winners, we thought it would be useful to reiterate the process that we go through to decide our nominees and eventual winners.

Firstly, we are only considering the year just gone. Prior awards are not taken into account, as a rule. However if one player is plainly monopolising an award over several years, as would in the past have been the case for perhaps Brett Caswell, Andy Gould, then they will be excluded from the selection. This will be explained to that player.

Secondly, we are very much guided by The Judo Code:
Fairplay – be a good sport, encourage equality, don’t stand for bullying.
Respect – show good manners to your Coach and each other, always be polite, follow judo etiquette in the dojo – bow when you go onto and leave the mat, bow to your Coach at the beginning and the end of the session, bow to your partner at the start and end of each practice.
Hygiene – pay attention to personal cleanliness, keep fingernails short and clean, wear clean clothing, no footwear on the mat, wear zori (flip flops) off the mat.
Self-discipline – work hard, listen to instructions, be punctual, don’t miss lessons.
Friendship – be a good friend, welcome newcomers, be helpful and kind.

Looking back, it is useful to note that in previous years, some players who you may have thought would have been a shoe-in for an awards perhaps because of judo prowess or competition success, have failed to win, because they have fallen down in other areas – usually Respect or Self-discipline. General behaviour and attitude on the mat is just as – if not more – important than being able to score a perfect Ippon every time. Competitiveness is good; so is the ability to lose gracefully. Consideration for your training partners means that you will still have training partners next week. Some of the afore mentioned players have fallen in this category!

Competition success and general judo development is obviously taken into account however, but it is not the be-all and end-all of everything.

For this year, the club coaches reviewed each name on the register in January and nominated their choices. Each nomination had to be backed up with a justification by the nominating coach to the other panel members as to why they felt that person was a suitable recipient.

This year, players were also invited to nominate candidates for consideration in certain categories, again with an explanation as to why they felt that person was worthy. Both the nominations received in this way in fact made it through to the final decision making process, one in fact ending up as a trophy winner.

Some categories were quite oversubscribed – Most Improved for instance had 8 nominations, which we whittled down to 4 names. The final decision in each case was then made on a one person one vote basis.

We are aware that we can not please everyone; indeed, sometimes we are not pleased ourselves when our nominations are rejected. We have sometimes found ourselves advocating for or against our own children, thsoe of fellow coaches, committee members or friends.

The Kiss of Death effect
We have also noticed a bizarre and unexpected side effect of awarding trophies.

There have been many cases over the years when our trophy winners have then promptly quit! Or displayed a marked deterioration in the very elements that originally made them a trophy winner… Why? Is it perhaps because they think they have peaked, cannot achieve any higher things? Do they struggle to maintain that standard, mentally? It is interesting to notice that many top competitors across all sports often expereince this post World or Olympic success.

It does sometimes make us very nervous about awarding a trophy!

Conversely, some of our longest serving and most dedicated players have received very little silverware in recognition of their hard work, but still turn up and support the club and their fellow judoka. Craig Jones and Andy Read would be two perfect examples.

Tony was lucky enough to be nominated for a British Judo Association coach of the year award by our regional development officer last year, partly in recognition of twenty years service to the Club. Whilst it was an unexpected surprise, it is not why Tony gives up a minimum of 7 hours every week – sometimes a lot more – to Judo. In fact, Tony found it quite embarrassing and would not have attended the Awards evening if he had been successful. Jill Brown also found the same when nominated for a Portsmouth News Coach of the Year Award. It’s not why we do it…

Awards then are a double-edged sword. If players do have concerns as to why they were unsuccessful, they are quite welcome to ask any of the club coaches areas where they think development is needed to improve.

Some players, a month into 2014, are already emerging as strong contenders for future awards if they can maintain progress they have made during January. Some 2013 winners are already showing signs of slipping back… we are watching…

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