The Jordan Olympic Committee has been working closely with its federation in recent years to improve the level of coaching in the Kingdom.
Significant finances and resources have been ploughed into developing the coaching sector and the rewards are being felt with improved performance across a number of sports.
We have caught up with one of the rising stars, Judo’s Mohammad Khalaf, who has transitioned from athlete to coach with remarkable ease and growing success.
When did you start coaching and what are the certificates you have?
I started coaching in 2013 with Jordan’s men national team. I took a personal trainer qualification from the Hashemite University as well as the JOC’s National Coaching Certification Programme (NCCP). I also obtained the Coach International Certificate from the Kodokan Centre in Japan.
Did you think about becoming a coach when you were an athlete?
I started playing Judo in 1996 for Ahli Club and under the supervision of Coach, Muneir Smeek, I had the chance to represent Jordan one year after starting my career.
At that time, I realized the importance of having a good coach. Talent is everywhere, but you need a coach with special skills to pick you up and improve you. So I started thinking about this role and I was determined to be a coach one day to help others be what they want to be. What is the difference between being an Athlete and Coach?
Athletes always think of winning, while coaches are thinking of how to make their athletes win.
How would you describe your style of coaching?
I focus on all aspects - fitness, skills and psychological preparation of my athletes. In order to improve my athletes’ performance, I need to study their situation and work on their methodology to make him/her clever. The more clever he or she is, the more closer to the win they will be.
As a Coach, what are your ambitions?
My ambitions are to build a huge base of young Judo players who can compete for Jordan in the future. I also want to win medals with the team.
What is the best moment in your career as a coach?
Working with the training staff who won the first Judo medal for Jordan in the Asian Championships in 2016. It was a bronze medal for my brother Ibrahim Khalaf who went on to qualify to the Olympic Games Rio 2016.