A SPORTS coach is spreading the benefits of judo as a way to teach children confidence and respect.

Stockton Heath Judo Club is on the lookout for more children to join its ranks.

Coach, Carl Finney, has been involved with the Olympic sport for more than 45 years and took his first class as a child to burn off some energy.

After years of dedication, he now has two gold medals from the Commonwealth Games under his belt, won in 1986 and 1990.

He explained: "Judo is a fun sport for children because it increases their confidence, their self esteem and respect for themselves and others.

"It seems to help children who have been bullied at school.

"I get many reports from other parents saying how their child is showing improvement at school and how their concentration has gone up.

"The health and fitness side is great too.

"There's so many benefits to judo which team sports just don't have.

"It teaches resilience and accountability for everything you do.

"It's part of the game- the respect you show to others."

The gold medalist works with schools across the district, giving children the chance to try out the sport before becoming part of the club.

Carl added: "A lot of kids also come straight to us.

"We can take children from the age of five and we can offer a free first lesson.

"Judo suits can also be provided so parents don't have to buy them.

"Children can progress through the grading system and then progress into competition.

"We have a real cross section- some do it for fun and some take it more seriously.

"We have even had some children come through the school scheme and go on to compete in the Commonwealth Games."

Classes take place each Thursday at the Scout Hall in Parkgate Road.

For more information, call Carl on 07801 816629 or email carl@judoeducation.co.uk.