Ibrahim Al Hosani, centre, coach of the Under-18 UAE National Jiu-Jitsu team. Image Credit: Organisers

Abu Dhabi: Ibrahim Al Hosani, coach of the Under-18 UAE National Jiu-Jitsu team, is hoping to use his vast experience in the sport and the team’s performance at the recent World Youth Championship in Bucharest to guide his Young Falcons to glory at the upcoming World Championship Jiu-Jitsu in Abu Dhabi.

Al Hosani knows all too well the mental strength and agility needed to compete on the mats having represented Ajman Jiu-Jitsu Club.

The 33-year-old believes his knowledge acquired over the years as a player will help prepare his players in their pursuit of medals when the world championship, hosted by the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF) and organised under the umbrella of the Jiu-Jitsu International Federation, comes home to the Mubadala Arena, Abu Dhabi, from November 16-24.

“I adopt an integrated approach to coaching which involves understanding the fighters’ concerns and feedback to come up with a solid solution.

Having played the sport myself, I understand how a fighter’s mind functions, and that helps me in refining my coaching style,” said the 33-year-old.

“It’s about understanding each fighter’s mental make-up, their particular strengths and weaknesses, and trying to understand them off the mat. These techniques allow me to come up with the best-rounded plan possible, one that allows them to take the next step in their journey as jiu-jitsu athletes.”

While working closely with each of his athletes, the coach will also be engaging the group as collective, using the UAE U18s fine showing at the recent World Youth Championship where they topped the table with 13 medals, including seven golds, as motivation to take on the world’s best in the UAE.

“In Bucharest my fighters displayed the right awareness, strength, and sharpness. I have tried to use the performances in Bucharest as a motivating tool for my fighters to do much better in Abu Dhabi, and hopefully stand on the top step of the podium, a feat that would make the country immensely proud,” Al Hosani added.

“The team has worked single-mindedly towards putting up their best performance at the world championship. We have been working very hard on identifying our weaknesses, focusing attention on rectifying the mistakes we made in previous tournaments.”

Al Hosani added that while victory is the primary goal for his team in Abu Dhabi, it is important to remember that the Young Falcons are still learning the sport and developing as players in line with the UAEJJF’s core values.

“When you are working with young players, it is important to understand what goes on in their minds. You constantly try and talk to them, build strong relationships, and develop trust which is the most integral aspect. Your fighters must trust you completely for them to implement your suggestions, and I have made it a point to understand my fighters’ backgrounds and what drives them, in order to make this connection,” he added.

The UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation’s support has been crucial to making Al Hosani’s coaching programme popular and the coach says that the Federation has allowed him enough space to define the direction of the programme.

“I keep telling my fighters that the most important thing in jiu-jitsu is to not get disheartened by a loss,” he said. “The sport is intensely competitive and every time my fighters step on to the mat, they have the chance to pick up great lessons, irrespective of the result. Yes, we analyse our losses, but we don’t obsess over them, we focus on not repeating the mistakes that led to the loss the next time we are on the mat,” said Al Hosani.

The World Championship Jiu-Jitsu 2019 will bring together athletes from more than 50 countries for eight days of action on the mats at Mubadala Arena from 16-24 November.