The Northern Area is going through a massive transitional period at present, a new executive committee with Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer is now in place, the main focus is to increase the profile of the area, from new beginners at grass roots judo to top level senior competitive players.
We aim to bring clubs closer by working together, supporting each other, promoting events, ensuring Northern Area Judo continues to grow our clubs, coaches and judoka to develop their full potential and encourage more people to take up and enjoy the sport.
A coaching team has been appointed and a plan has been devised with events for all levels of judoka has been put together. We now have a coaching team of minors coach, pre-cadet and cadet girls coach, pre-cadet and cadet boys coach, junior and senior squad coach and with a squad manager overseeing progress of them all.
The committee is further boosted with the positions of Examiner, Area Technical Director, Referees Co-ordinator and Competitions Co-ordinator now all being filled, giving us a strong team in place as we move forward.
Communication has been a major issue that we have focussed strongly on. We approached this with a re-vamped website and increased use of social media to highlight news and events both locally and nationally. Internal communication between the committee and clubs has also increased with the aim to promote engagement from all clubs within our area.
Technology was another area which was identified as in need of attention, we have invested in new equipment to enable us to run and mange events more efficiently and effectively, this included new cameras, laptops, PA system, radio mics and ear pieces.
We organised our first Regional Schools Competition in January this year and followed this up with the Pre-Cadet & Cadet Open Competition in June and the Senior Closed Competition in July, ending the year with the 2019 British Judo Schools Regional Competition in September.
We ran the popular Multi-Event days at The Parks Judo Club are giving our players from minors through to seniors of all grades and levels the opportunity to get together and take part in Training, Randori and Kata sessions. One of the events also included a Q&A session where parents and coaches could have any questions and concerns answered directly from the Chairman, future Multi-Day events will be run to make this an ongoing event.
We continue develop our younger judoka via the ETDC programme, with weekly sessions now being held at Middlesbrough Judo. This is addition REDS events means there is an exciting development path in place for our current and future England and GB players. We have also supported some of our elite players financially with grants being given to assist with attending international competitions.
The area squad has also been the focus of investment and development, with the area coaches and management working hard to pull together a full squad for the 2018 teams competition, entering a team in every category at the event. We have also identified several younger players from across the area who we hope will join the area coaching set up in years to come, future plans for overall area development include officials courses plus events and support for our SN and VI players.
We celebrated Afshin Shahverdi in his promotion to 6th Dan and invited Joe Glynn as guest of honour to present the medals at the Northern Area Open in June.
The remainder of 2018 leaves us with lots to do in continuing the hard work and effort that has been put in place already, these are our foundations, ambitions and targets being set, this work will run on long in to 2019 and beyond.