We had a lot of players on the mat on Wednesday.

Last night, we had 17 players on the mat. That's considered a big group. Some days, it's really small. We once had just three players on the mat (four, if you include the coach). Rarely does it get that small though. On average we have about six to eight players on the mat at any one time.

In general, judo players prefer a big group. The more the merrier, and it's true in that when you have a big group, it's more cheerful, joyful and fun. For randori and shiai it's definitely better to have more people on the mat. You want to have more partners to fight with.

But when you don't have a big group, it's not necessarily a bad thing. In some ways, it can be a good thing. When the group is small, it's easier for the instructor to give more individual attention to the players present. It might be a less fun session but for technical development, the players can definitely learn more and learn better in a small group.

Big group, small group... it doesn't really matter. You can still have a good sessions regardless of the size. Big groups have their advantages but so do small groups.