Strategic, not Tactical

I was recently coaching a friend and training partner while they were competing, and what struck me was the difference in the coaching styles.

The general coaching style seems to be tactical. Yelling about going for a specific technique, which both fighters can hear. Yelling at the referee about points not allocated, real or imaginary. Yelling watch out for the whatever technique, again that both fighters can hear.

My approach is different. The person in the fight has a fair idea of what theire opponent is up to. They can feel their movement, their intention. They probably know something you don’t from the sidelines, such as I could go for the sweep but my hand is trapped, which you can’t see. I try to give the fighter information they don’t have, things like:

  • How many minutes left in the round
  • How many points they are up or down
  • When they achieve a scoring position to wait for their points
  • To let them know when they have been given their points
  • If it doesn’t look like they are going to be allocated points for the position, to move on with their game
  • If the referee starts a 20 second countdown for stalling, to let them know they have to move

It means I’m not endlessly shouting. Just letting them know the time and score every minute or two, and letting them know when there is an opportunity to get points.

If you are a lower belt, maybe reconsider shouting tactical advice at a black belt match, and respect the time and skills it took to become a black belt.

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