I have a friend from overseas who told me he was so uninspired by his judo club. I asked him why and he told me that his coaches don't come prepared with a lesson plan. Instead, they gather together at the start of class and discuss what they want to teach for that day. They end up wasting a lot of time and everything is just so ad hoc.

That approach is so different from mine. I believe in preparing for a class. I look at some many things when I design a program for the day. For example, I try to determine who is coming to class and I take that into consideration when preparing the lesson.

Who is coming matters. If the class will consist mainly of beginners, I will prepare a program that is suited for that. And if the class will consist mainly of experienced players, again I will prepare a program that is suited for that.

Another factor I take into consideration are the players' sizes. It does make a difference if your class for the day has more heavyweights and fewer lightweights than normal. Looking at that, I will design my program for that profile.

There are actually many more factors I look at but suffice to say, I don't just wing it and I don't design a program in a vacuum. The composition of the class really matters.

Preparing for a class also means researching, compiling and editing competition clips to show the players that what they are learning has practical applications. There's nothing like showing them the real thing to convince them that the technique works.

What I hope to achieve by the end of each class are these three key objectives:
a) That the players learned something useful
b) That they had a good workout
c) That they had fun and enjoyed the session

I consider these three objectives to be very important. The players give up several hours of their time to come for training. This is precious time that could have been spent doing something else. But they chose to spend it in the dojo, training. It is my obligation to make it worth their while.

If I can teach them something useful, give them a good workout and let them have a fun time in the process, I feel I have done a good job. In contrast, if I don't manage to achieve these three things, I consider the session to be a failure. Fortunately, this seldom happens, because I actually plan for the classes.