Do you necessarily have to train “the hard way” to perform well in a combat sport? The question has been agitating the judo community since the questioning of three national coaches who officiated in several hopeful poles. “Their methods, admired yesterday, are today singled out”, summarized The Team in a survey published on June 14. The three men are accused of physical and psychological violence, as well as behavior that could be considered moral harment. Criminally reprehensible practices. The first is covered by a prefectoral order temporarily prohibiting teaching sport to minors, for a period of two years; the second lost, at the beginning of the year, the responsibility of the French cadet team; as for the last, it is the subject of a preliminary investigation by the Marseille public prosecutor’s office.
Judo is a combat sport that draws heavily on physical resources, but also psychological ones: the athlete must be able to keep his lucidity during an intense effort, remain aggressive but also reflective in order to continue to be tactical, be able to falling, getting up… And, for some coaches, the border between requirement and excessive harshness is sometimes tenuous. So much so that judokas can find themselves, from an early age, “mentally and physically exhausted, even before the serious things of their career had started”explain to World Patrick Roux, former international and author of the book The reverse of our medals (Dunod, 208 pages, 18.90 euros).
“Bringing a psychopedagogical dimension”
Convinced that the high level can be reached without going through blood and tears, many technicians have however developed training methods combining total respect for athletes and learning the requirements of excellence. One way to avoid this early wear mentioned by Patrick Roux.
“The role of a coach is to bring a psychopedagogical dimension during training”, argues Pierre Carry, professor of sports psychology in Lyon. The coach must “knowing your athlete, his preferences in terms of communication, offering breathing and relaxation exercises, being attentive to the management of emotions, always looking for his motivational levers”he develops.
Recommendations followed by Clémence Eme, 26, judo teacher in Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis). “I listen to my students, I encourage them to tell me when they are tired or when they are in pain somewhere. This allows me to adapt the training and avoid the risk of injury or overtraining”explains the current French number 4 in the − 70 kg category.
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