What to expect at a competition
If you are interested in going along to a competition outside the club, then please speak to one of the coaches to find out which ones will be suitable for you. There are some good events for inexperienced players such as those run by the local area at Thetford. If you are entering, then make sure that your license is up to date – you will not be permitted to take part without it.
What to take with you
You will need to take your license with you, and a Judo suit that fits you. If your suit is too small, you may not be allowed to take part. Make sure you take Zoris (sandals) so that you have footwear when you are not on the mat, and be sure to take a non-fizzy drink as it is important to keep hydrated.
What to expect
When you arrive the first thing you will normally do is weigh-in. This is where the organisers will weigh you and ensure you are in the appropriate group. They will also check that your license is up to date. Sometimes you will be allowed onto the mat to warm up. It is a good idea to take advantage of this, especially if you have been sat in a car for a long time on the way there. Once the organisers are ready to start they will call out the groups. Make sure you know what category and weight group you are in so that you don’t miss being called. If you are not sure, ask the competition controller (usually where you weighed in). When your group is called, go to the mat and give your name to the person at the table so that they know you are there. Don’t worry if you are nervous – everybody is!
Once you have been called and have reported to your mat, the people running the contests will call out players two at a time. Listen out for your name being called. When you are called, make sure the people at the table know that you have heard them and you are ready. You will normally be asked to wear a white belt or a red/blue belt, depending upon which side of the mat you are called to. These are usually provided. Be sure not to lose your own belt! Once ready, the referee will signal for you to come onto the mat and the contest will begin. At the end of the contest, if you have won make sure you give your name to the people at the table so that they can confirm that they have written down the correct winner – mistakes do happen! Make sure that you stay at your mat until all the contests are finished and you are told by the table that you can leave. At some point the organisers will conduct the medal ceremony. Sometimes this might be at the end of the event, but more usually it is done at various points during the day so that competitors that have finished can go home.
One final point about going to competitions
There is usually a lot of waiting around! Don’t be worried if your name/group isn’t called immediately that the event starts. Make sure you have plenty food and drink to keep you going. Most of all, enjoy it – you are the star of the show. It takes courage to step up and take part.