7 tips for handling yourself on training camps.

Session 1

A post shared by Carl Finney (@judoc2) on

Before you start reading, this article is mostly focussed towards judoka as it seems to be the only sport where these big technical and randori (sparring) camps occur. So if you don’t practice judo you don’t need to read this, it doesn’t really apply to what you do (even though I believe sports like mixed martial arts or BJJ should have similar setups). You may find it interesting or even useful and I’ll write without any judo specific jargon so its easy to read, but you aren’t specifically who I’m directing this towards so don’t feel you need to read it.

1. Kit

You arrive at the camp with a suitcase, maybe a holdall as well and this is what you are surviving off for the next few days. Keep it in order. Make a mental list of what you’ve brought so you don’t lose stuff. Make sure it’s packed away, the dirty clothes separate from the clean and your gi is out to dry for the next session. Keep on top of this admin and it’s another stress off your mind while you’re training and keeps the neat freaks sleeping in your vacinity happy.

2. Moral

Keep good group moral. A good positive mental attitude on camp improves your training and makes the whole thing more enjoyable. Make sure you’re looking after your group keeping their moral high and avoiding conflict. Health issues and injuries can come from conflict and bullying issues in the group and can even result in victims faking injury to sit out sessions (I’ve seen this occur). There are several factors to managing your personal moral: nutrition, sleep, injury management and your practice habits which I’ll discuss as other points.

3. Have good practice habits.

Spend your time in an effective way. This doesn’t include stuff like warming up and cooling down but I’m talking about who you train with. Try to spend 1/3 of your practices with people worse than you. This allows you to successfully try new techniques, gives you some room for error and allows you to hone your best techniques, all the while giving you a small moral boost from victory. Next spend 1/3 of your practices with someone on your level. This ups the difficulty and forces you to be more precise with your techniques as well as givning you some challenging defensive work. Then spend the last 1/3 of your time with people markedly better than you. This gives you something to aspire to, to analyse their game as well as improve your defensive game as well as seeing if anything you can do will work on them. This is a business idea by a guy called Tai Lopez and it works well in martial arts too. This is his full talk about the idea if you’re interested.

4. Have good injury management

Good habits around training can stave off unneccesary injuries. This means warming up and cooling down properly and using a foam roller to help your body recover. Knowing or learning a bit about taping joints can help if you pick up a minor strain which you can train on with a bit of added suppot. Taping fingers early on rather than waiting for them to get all bashed up also helps as well as bringing a good stock of tape (climbing tape is best) ibuprofen tablets and gel as well as a good number of those poping ice packs. Recognising when you’re injured beyond basic recovery is important too as training on that injury could seriously impact on your future training.

5. Eat lots

You’ll be training more than usual so it’s going to be a good idea to eat more than usual too. Most camps provide 3 meals per day which usually isn’t enough. For those of you who don’t have a dieticion or know how to manage your diet properly (and aren’t going straight from camp to competition). I would recomend eating as much as possible at meal times as well as having another meal in the day too. This prevents you from losing weight and muscle which you will need to put back on before you fight and any fat you gain (you probably won’t make much by way of muscle gains) you can cut down properly under a structured regime when you’re home again. If you’re not eating enough your body won’t recover as well and you won’t be making the most of the training camp.

6. Stay hydrated

You’ll be sweating out a lot so a good habit I used was to keep one water bottle filled with electrolyte drink and one with water. Ideally you’ll be hitting 2-3L per day and more if you’re in a hot country. This is so important as you can get some serious health complications if you’re not hydrated properly or your electrolyte balance is out which can take you out of training as well as improving your cognative function and keeping you more alert when working.

7. Sleep

For proper body recovery, you need sleep. You’ll need more than usual as you’re working much harder than usual. People often end up going out when away in a foreign country for a drink or even out clubbing. Its a mistake and reduces your performance and practice quality. Think to yourself – why am I on this camp? You’re there to get new practices and learn new techniques. With less sleep you don’t learn as well and you can’t concentrate as hard so your learning will be reduced, and your practice will suffer as your attention and physical recovery are impacted. You’ve travelled and paid for a training camp, you can go out and party when you’re at home. On that note don’t sleep during the day either, rest and recover but stay awake, otherwise you’ll just feel more tired come the afternoon/evening session.

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What’s the best training camp you’ve been on? Comment below and like our facebook page. If you’re interested in a big international judo camp with people of all competetive abilities, check out C2 international camp, Tonbridge here http://www.c2judoevents.co.uk/

Photo credits to @judoc2 on instagram

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