Dr Stanislaw Sterkowicz,
Head of Department of the Combat Sports,
Professor of Cracow Academy of Physical Education, Poland


Personnel training is an essential component in the prevention of breakdowns in the training system for the competitive sports (1, 4). The results of tests carried out on trainers have led to the premise that the focus of the synthesis of the training syllabus taught in the specialist instruction for trainers at Polish physical education academies should be on the trainer’s professional activities (2). The author believes that if specialist syllabi are to be updated, it will be necessary to find out what the training personnel and the competitors think is the order of importance in the trainer’s professional duties. The aim of this project was to establish the importance of the trainer’s professional activities for success in judo.


22 trainers, 22 senior competitors, and 38 junior competitors were asked for their opinions, which were later analysed. The trainers were sub-divided into a master’s group and an average group. A trainer was put into the master’s group if his students’ sporting achievements were high enough, that is if at least one of them had reached the black belt level. In the tested population, ten of the trainers qualified for the masters’ group, and the remaining trainers were ranked in the average group. The competitors were divided into a senior group (22 persons), and a junior group (38 persons), in compliance with the rules of the Polish Judo Association.

The method used for data collection was a questionnaire concerning 19 types of trainers’ professional activities (3).(1)


Figure 1 illustrates the results of the cluster analysis of the trainers’ and competitors’ opinions, in which trainer’s activities were classified together in groups sharing a similar feature.(2)

The individual activities were also ranked.(3)

There were five distinct groups of naturally interrelated trainer’s professional activities.

The first group consisted of a combination of the four most important activities, which the respondents thought were planning the training process (ranked No. 1) coaching the competitor in technical and tactical skills (No. 2), coaching the competitor in physical skills (No. 3), and supervising the training process and condition of the competitor’s body (No. 4).

The second group comprised three activities: the organisation of specialist training camps (ranked No. 5), recruitment and selection (No. 6), and the organisation of the recovery process and recreation (No. 7).

The third group consisted of the following five activities: for the enhancement of competitors’ personal culture and manners (ranked No. 8), coaching student competitors during competitions (No. 10), training a competitor’s volitional (motivational) powers (No. 12), the organisation of team instruction (No. 13), the resolution of problems associated with training (No. 9).

The fourth group included three activities: the administration of first aid before the arrival of medical staff (No. 11), coaching the competitors in the theory (No. 14), and supervision of the students’ progress in their academic subjects at school (No. 16).

The fifth group consisted of those activities which both the trainers and the competitors thought less important: organising and judging competitions (ranked No. 15), training assistant trainers and judges (No. 17), conducting research for academic projects and investigations in methods of training (No. 18, the penultimate position), and the collection of documentation and drawing up of reports (in the last position).

Those interested in the subject will find it particularly significant that supervising the training process and condition of the competitor’s body was ranked in the group of trainer’s activities which both trainers and competitors thought decisive for the achievement of first-rate sporting results. At the same time the fact that there was no correlation between the importance attributed to the supervision of the training process and condition of the competitor’s body, and the low position given to the conducting of research for academic projects and investigations in methods of training may be considered somewhat paradoxical.

This observation leads to the problem of co-operation between the theoreticians and the practitioners, in view of a host of still not fully answered questions. How are trainers to perform the supervision and solve the practical problems that crop up if they have no knowledge of the methodology of the research carried out in the sport sciences? What is the value for trainers working in individual clubs of data collected by the theoreticians relating to the top competitors? In what way are the practitioners to implement the research results obtained by the theoreticians if these results are derived from not very accurate descriptions of the competitor population? What should their attitude be to cohort tests and to studies of random occurrence? What is the value of research which ignores the relationship between stimulus and reaction? How should training be planned for a competitor centrally grouped in the club if not much is known about the work-loads he has performed outside the team?


A variety of interactions develop between the trainer and the competitors in the course of a long process of training. It is only the trainer’s mastery of his professional activities that will trigger the feedback mechanisms necessary to integrate his individual activities into the general groups that are decisive in overall accomplishment effected in a complex performance. For students at academies of physical education specialising in training, practical instruction under the guidance of outstanding club trainers is an essential. It is under the good practitioner’s eye that the trainee generally reaches the conclusion that there can be no practical work of any value without a solid theoretical grounding; and that any of the trainer’s particular activities or duties – e.g. promotion carried out during a recruitment campaign, or the administration of first aid immediately after an accident, or the vetting of a new test for special motoric efficiency to enhance the reliability and prognostic value of this new instrument in training supervision etc. – may prove of crucial relevance given particular circumstances. Effective work in this profession cannot be schematic, when many different roles have to be reconciled at the same time.(4)

Although this ranking arrangement of the judo trainer’s tasks is chiefly of a theoretical value, in the practice of the instruction given to students in their specialisation courses it has enabled me to arrive at a synthesis of certain academic conclusions and some educational experimentation in our sports discipline. In view of this, my next aim will be to compile an effective syllabus for the education of judo trainers by carrying out an analysis of the current situation. The information collected and processed will be updated and made accessible to future generations of judoists, thus assisting in a rational educational process for Class 2 trainers in this sport. According to Gleeson (1), the path they will be following from competitor to trainer may be compared to the road from conceited ignorance to a state of mistrustful reflection.


1. Gleeson, G., 1984. The Coach in Action. The National Coaching Foundation, Leeds: White Line Press.

2. Góralski, A., 1976. Metody opisu i wnioskowania statystycznego w psychologii [Methods for Description and the Drawing of Conclusions in Psychology]. Warszawa: Pañstwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe.

3. Sterkowicz, S., & J.Januszewski, 1988. “Czynnoci zawodowe trenerów a program ich ksztacenia” [Trainers’ Professional Activities and Syllabi for Their Education], Materials from the International Conference entitled “Ksztacenie kadr kultury fizycznej” [The Training of Physical Culture Personnel]. Kraków: Zeszyty Naukowe AWF w Krakowie, No. 58.

4. Tumanian, G.S., 1985. “O novom kompleksie uchebnykh distsiplin dla kafeidr FK vypuskayushchikh trenenov-prepodavateley po vidu sporta.” Teoriya i Praktika Fizicheskoy Kultury, No. 12.

5. Wany, Z., 1981. Wspóczesny system szkolenia w sporcie wyczynowym [The Contemporary Training System in Competitive Sport]. Warszawa: Sport i Turystyka. research7.gif


1. Those professionally involved with the training of trainers see the following as important aspects of the profession: coaching in the sense of efficient communication of knowledge and skills; training, that is enhancement of students’ fitness; the motivational function which generates favourable and resolute attitudes; the disciplining function; the promotion function which monitors social acceptance; the advisory and information function; the assisting and supportive function; the scientific function, characterised by analysis, assessment, and synthesis; and the student function, demonstrated in their willingness to listen and learn (1).

2. The method referred to in the STATGRAPHICS programme as Cluster Analysis, Complete Linkage, and Euclidean Distance was used.

3. Rank was determined on the basis of the weighted mean value.

4. For instance a trainer has to adequately motivate the competitors in order to shape their attitudes, and at the same time he must act as a teacher, scientific observer, and manager etc.


“Before and after practicing Judo or engaging in a match, opponents bow to each other. Bowing is an expression of gratitude and respect. In effect, you are thanking your opponent for giving you the opportunity to improve your technique.”
…..Dr. Jigoro Kano