The teenager who coaches 70 year olds

Whilst many teenagers spend their time sitting in front of a console. Some are busy training 70 year olds.

Meet Ben Wesson, a young 17 year old lad studying electrical installation at Bromley College, but what makes him different from your average teenager?

Well to start off with, he is far from a typical teenage boy. Ben’s represented Bromley in the London youth games in Judo, winning multiple awards in the process. Not only has he taken part in the youth games, but he’s managed to begin coaching Judo classes.

Whilst drinking his hot chocolate on a Sunday morning, he caught me off guard with the age of one of his students he has coached: “The oldest student I have had was a 70 year old man. He still comes to train.”

He began to criticise the thought process of a modern day coach by highlighting their lack of experience in competition: “The problem with some coaches, is that they have never competed and they will go based on their word. They will stick by it as if it is gospel.”

So where did the interest for Judo begin? Sitting back, slouching in the chair he began to share his personal anecdote: “Originally, I started off with Karate. My mum got me into it. We was looking through a booklet and we just decided I should go and give it a try. I’ve been doing it for about ten years. I got one off a black belt, then I decided to transfer into Judo.”

After his Karate coach recommended that he should transition into Judo, it was inevitable he would find success. Ben managed to complete three gradings in the space of four months: “After I got introduced to Judo, there was a point where I took it more seriously than Karate.”

After discovering Ben has won bronze all the way up to gold in the youth games, which is a great achievement in itself. I began to wonder, how does someone at a young age prepare for a huge event? For most people his age and many older than him, music seems to be the key: “On my way to a competition, I listen to my music which is metal, different for some but works for me. When I’m warming up I listen to fast sort of metal, so the drum beat is going to be fast and I will do my exercises to that.”

Despite winning multiple medals and having such a huge number of achievements at a young age, what is the ideal future plan for this particular teenager? Not many of us, at his age had a clear plan, but Ben is considering to become an official rather than a competitor in Judo: “If I was going for the Olympics I would look to be a referee and not a competitor.  The competitive aspect, especially in judo means you will never have a long competitive career. So it makes more sense for me to be an official.”

Although becoming an official is still part of his plans, he has not completely removed coaching as an alternative option for his career path: “It has a lot of commitment involved in it, there is a lot of stuff that I am required to do so I have less time for competition and whatever. At the start it is quite a balancing act with school work, judo and coaching.”

Judging by his previous success, whichever path he decides to go on. It is obvious Bromley will have a name to remember.

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