IMMAF unveils online grading scheme for youth

Photo: IMMAF.

The IMMAF Youth Development Commission has announced new guidelines to allow assessment of the technical competency of young athletes. 

In the challenging times of restricted practice and the need of the social distancing, the IMMAF Youth Development Commission recommended that IMMAF national federations, clubs and coaches begin to conduct grading online, when it is not possible to manage examination in the conventional way, in a class in front of peers and parents.

Following a thorough review of the pilot trials in Hong Kong, the Commission found that an online method was feasible and should be valid, particularly for the first grades, Yellow and Orange. 

Grading is seen as an important part of a young athlete’s journey within the sport and is a common practice in all mixed martial arts, and therefore coaches should encourage young athletes to continue improving their skills.

"I would like to thank the IMMAF President Kerrith Brown for empowering the Director of Development Andrew Moshanov and all my colleagues of the Youth Development Commission to develop new pathways for youth MMA athletes," says the Chairman of the Youth Development Commission, former MMA pro standout Stanislav Nedkov of Bulgaria.

"We have done an enormous work during the last few months to create a tool which works, and which is fair and safe. With this tool, we will be able to motivate athletes in their development, so they have the chance to compete internationally and, with God’s grace, one day at Olympic level too."

Vice Chairman of the Commission, Danny Corr, who is also chair of the  Peace Through MMA Commission and driving force behind youth-centric social welfare sport projects in his native Ulster says this is a fantastic opportunity to engage young people, especially during these difficult times.

"IMMAF is leading the way and ensuring our young athletes have the best outcomes and are provided with safe and effective online training and that they are able to grow and develop happily and healthily without the risk of abuse or neglect.”

“In the last year we have successfully achieved approximately 30 graduations, a number that will increase in the coming months, as due to restrictions imposed to combat Covid-19, Mexico has had to slow down assessments," says resident Raul Salas Navarro of IMMAF’s National Federation in Mexico, FAMMEJL.

"We believe that the IMMAF grading system is definitely the right way forward for the development of our athletes and provides another key milestone in the journey to achieve recognition of the sport at Olympic level.”

See Online Youth Grading Policy here

The Youth Development Commission, which was created by IMMAF at the end of 2019, also discussed the process of managing the mandatory grading process for competitors at the Youth World Championships starting in 2021.