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2019-2020 CEO Letter to USA Judo Members

Jan. 29, 2020, 6:12 p.m. (ET)

Dear USA Judo Members,

Happy New Year and thank you for your continued support by being a member of USA Judo. 

Two years ago, USA Judo created a very simple, but clear three-part strategic plan for USA Judo: 1) Grow the sport of judo, 2) Better promote the sport of judo and 3) Create infrastructure to help support these two initiatives, especially at the local club level.  In 2019, we stayed on-course with this strategic plan and produced the following key results:

  • Membership increased 16% over the last three years (peak of 10,757 in 2019; most in 15 years).
  • 28 Group B (State) Members (40% growth over 2018) 418 registered clubs (3% growth over 2018) in 2019.
  • Participation at USA Judo National Events is up 50% over the last three years.
  • Created American Judo Development Model with USJA & USJF for athletes, coaches, referees and club owners.
  • Los Angeles Recreation & Parks Partnership launched “Homegrown” Program – 4 rec centers teaching 80 youth.
  • Video streamed all four 2019 National Events online for the first time ever, watched by nearly 11,000 viewers.
  • USA Judo Hall of Fame was reinstated; inducted nine individuals during Senior Nationals Weekend in Vegas.
  • USA Judo’s High Performance Division managed more than 70 international events for senior and junior elite athletes, veterans and kata competitions.

In 2020, we will continue to execute on our strategy of growing, promoting and building infrastructure.  Our goal is to provide “best in class” customer service to our individual, club and group members.  Judo will only grow through strengthening and supporting the efforts of the local clubs and dojos.  As such, our vision for the future will be to invest in tools and resources that support clubs, dojos and event organizers.  Much of this will be done through digital services such as an improved membership database, video streaming and mobile phone apps. Also, existing and new USA Judo Sponsor Partnerships will bring value to clubs at the local level in the next 3-12 months.  Our roadmap for deploying services in 2020 includes:

  • A new, fully featured USA Judo Database system that will simplify club administration at the local level.This system will include many exciting new features that will increase a club’s ability to use and view club data, simplify payments, reduce paperwork and communicate with their members.
  • USA Judo will provide website templates and tutorials for to simplify clubs’ marketing and on-line efforts.
  • USA Judo Annual Club Manual providing operational and marketing best practices as well as new analytical tools to help clubs find the right marketing strategy for their region.
  • Launch online competition management systems for the local or regional event organizers that will be tied to the central membership database, competitor records and national point roster.
  • Expansion of sponsor and partner programs, including apparel, uniforms, banners/signage, revenue generation opportunities, discounts and more.

Keeping with the strategy of growing and promoting the sport better through new and improved programs and overall infrastructure, some additional key areas of focus in 2020 will include the following:

  • Continued growth of Judo in Schools/Communities Program through discounted youth memberships, start-up resources, best practices and support to sustain these programs nationwide.  We will strive to eventually connect the dots of participating schools to build local, regional and national interscholastic training and competition opportunities.  Currently, micro-sites for participating Judo in Schools Program exist on the USA Judo Website. As these programs grow and develop, we will continue to work with the NCJA and USOPC/NCAA to grow collegiate judo programs, allowing judoka to continue their judo careers while also pursuing their education.
  • Building and expanding training programs for Police Judo to eventually grow nationwide among law enforcement agencies and potentially additional youth programs through PAL and the like.
  • In 2020, grow to 11,000 individual members; something that hasn’t been done in more than 20 years.

The future focus of USA Judo National Events is to improve the overall customer experience utilizing today’s technology.  Imagine the ability to do everything USA Judo National Event-Related on your hand-held device....

  • Register on your phone, connecting to your member data and registration to save you time.
  • Check-into weigh-ins/registration with a QR code, similar to an e-boarding pass when flying.
  • Draws will be uploaded to an event app rather than waiting to see the draw posted on a wall.
  • Receive notifications of event information and monitor number and time of your match.
  • Preview your competition by clicking on their name in the bracketing system and access video footage of their prior matches to strategize based on strengths, weaknesses and tendencies.
  • A USA Judo App will help you find area host hotels, restaurants and other pertinent information.
  • After competition, you can access your member record to see updated results and rosters.

I hope that you are as excited as I am about the future of USA Judo.  Positive change is in the air which we believe will propel our sport forward.  However, in the near term, we will continue to be resource- challenged.  We need everyone’s help with creating and implementing these strategies to grow, build and improve judo. There is a role for everyone.  Like most non-profits, USA Judo relies on its volunteers and front-line ambassadors.  A staff of 7.5 people in Colorado Springs cannot and will not grow judo.  It’s the 10,600+ USA Judo members, board members, committee members, volunteers and leaders throughout the United States that will need to join the campaign to grow judo in America.  This can be done with time, talent and treasure.  YOUR time, talent and treasure. If you want to be part of USA Judo’s future, believe in the plans I’ve outlined here, or have suggestions to support and/or improve these initiatives (or new ones we may not have thought of), please contact me.  I can be reached at keith.bryant@usajudo.org or my direct office line: 719-866-3681. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this!  I wish you all a safe, healthy and prosperous year ahead!

Respectfully,

Keith Bryant
Executive Director/CEO