Travis Stevens’ Advice to Parents and Coaches
If you’re a parent or coach of an upcoming Judo athlete, who better to look to for advice than the one, the only, Travis Stevens.
If you’re not familiar with Stevens, know that he was only the third American Judoka to win an Olympic Silver Medal, and has established himself as one of the top forces in Judo and -- more recently, Jiu-Jitsu, in which he received his black belt from legendary coach John Danaher.
In the video below, Stevens shares some of the things he thinks are important to pass on to a budding Judoka.
Stevens shares two main pieces of advice.
Outwardly, the advice Stevens gives applies to kids who have a lot of talent in Judo early on, and who look like they may take the sport to the professional level, and this is how Stevens presents it.
Fine Tune Your Fundamentals with Travis Stevens!
However, both of the things Stevens mentions are crucial in order for children to be highly successful in any area, and are two things that Judo is great at helping to teach.
First, we’ll discuss Stevens’ advice as he presents it -- as applied to kids who look like they could go professional eventually.
The first piece of advice Stevens gives is to teach prioritization. To be a professional athlete, they have to value their time.
That means allocating time to the things related to your training (workouts, recovery, nutrition, mental preparation, etc.), but also to those things outside of your sport that allow you to keep doing it.
So, being practical and looking for opportunities to support yourself is a necessity.
For example, Kayla Harrison -- who was the only American Judoka ever to win Olympic Gold, then topped herself with another -- does a lot of promotional events and other business-like things.
Even though Judo is what she loves and has dedicated herself to (and even though she’s currently training for and fighting in MMA matches), she still sets aside time to do the things she has to do outside of her athletics.
This all falls under the theme that you always have to do things you don’t necessarily want to do, but you have to do them in order to continue doing whatever you want to do.
And this, of course, is a part of life for anyone starting at an early age and that becomes more relevant with age.
What Judo does, though, is teach the importance of -- and merit in -- sacrifice.
That’s because getting good at Judo requires sacrifice. A child who rises through the ranks in Judo has had to sacrifice time they could have spent doing other things, has spent energy that they didn’t have to spend, and has gotten a few bumps and bruises.
But throughout all of it, that child will see their abilities develop -- along with their confidence and understanding of their abilities. So, early on, a child will see that their sacrifice yields positive, tangible results -- even when they may not have thought it would in the moment.
So, it will be a lot easier for that child to understand the value of doing things they don’t necessarily want to do -- because they know the payoff of the right sacrifices.
The second insight Stevens’ shares is that coaches and parents shouldn’t give their fears to their children.
If your child is champing at the bit to compete, even if they don’t have a lot of experience, let them.
As Stevens’ says, yes, they’ll probably come back banged and bruised. But experiences like that are part of learning. And, for a child keen on competing, that’s an important experience to have and come back from.
Parents’ and coaches’ jobs are to take the child that just lost the competition, and to encourage them to keep training so they can try again.
So, the point here is not to hold your child back from taking chances, but to encourage it.
Because, as wise hockey player Wayne Gretzky tells us, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
Travis Stevens is on of the hardest working athletes in the game. He has become one of the most sought after minds in Judo thanks to his fundamentals. For more game changing fundamentals and concepts from Olympian Travis Stevens check out his course here!