When you see a pattern in the way your student receives penalties or shido’s it can often be associated a few different larger issues with your student. Being able to find the patterns is very important as well as finding the deeper reasoning behind these penalties.
For instance, if your student is regularly receiving penalties for passivity or defensive posture, it can often be a sign he/she is getting out-gripped and needs to improve upon their kumikata strategies. Another issue could be penalties late in matches for false attacks or passivity, may be a sign that your athlete requires better conditioning. Studying penalties is often a forgotten detail in the analysis of your judoka, but it could turn out to be of incredible importance.
Here are some things to look for when studying the penalties received by your students.
Are the penalties against lefties or righties? I know this may seem obvious to some but, competing against lefties or righties can really mess with your athlete’s ability to perform especially if they are not properly prepared for it. If your athlete has difficulty adjusting to the difference in gripping someone of the opposite side, bailing out of the exchange may be their only way to avoid being thrown and a shido is a better result than being thrown for ippon.
At what point in the match do they happen most often? Throughout the match? At the beginning? Near the end? The timing of the penalties can tell you a lot. If it is at the beginning of the match, it often points to your athlete not being focused, maybe they do not have a good warm up routine. If the penalties are occurring throughout the match this could mean that they are having issues with strategy of how to fight the opponent.
Finally and most obviously what are the warnings for? Passivity, false attacks or stepping outside of the tatami?
Knowing objectively why an athlete is receiving these penalties can have the affect of the canary in the coal mine. Addressing the particular issue can often lead to great immediate benefits.