I think I started training with the Sheffield University Judo sometime in 2004, arriving as a 1st dan. At that point Andy Miller was leading the coaching.
In time he decided to pack in the coaching and I took over.
This was a time when the Student Union would permit non-students to train at the club, given players would have their own liability cover through their BJA membership. Unfortunately we are no longer able to take on non-students at the Sheffield University Judo club.
It wasn't long before I got involved with coaching at the club, and in time the existing coach stepped back and handed over all coaching duties to me.
We currently run 2 sessions a week at the club, with most players keen to enjoy competitive Judo and I'm pleased to say players from the club are generally pretty successful at the events we enter them for. Some participants of course only want to practice for grades and have no interest in competing, there is a mixed response when I try to do a little kata in the sessions but kata practice, in my eyes anyway, is an important facet of Judo training.
I find it's best not to mention the word "kata", instead just practising the techniques. Perhaps as part of the warm up.
The university are now enforcing a policy of no non-students at the club. Which potentially slows development of players in years we don't have many senior kyu grades (one of the unfortunate aspects of university clubs - we lose a lot of players every year) for them to practice with. There is also the question of what would happen if I stepped away from coaching at the club? Would the students be able to get themselves through appropriate coaching courses to take over coaching each year? Of course that would slow their own competitive career.
More recently my partner has been getting involved with coaching at Sheffield Uni Judo club, in 2014 she has been taking on responsibility for introducing novices to the sport. It looks like we have a good crop of (2014) new faces that are sticking with it, what better testament to her coaching?
Sheffield University Judo club