Though fencing is an individual sport, at the heart of successful fencers is this incredible support system that blooms from the rich and knowledgeable environment of a great fencing club. Unfortunately many fencers don’t take advantage of everything that their fencing club has to offer.
- Get online
Since you’re reading this post, we can easily conclude that you’ve got internet access. That means that you’ve got some great opportunities to participate with your club online! Most clubs today have a Facebook page or an Instagram account, and joining in that online conversation is a great way to make even more connections with your club and to become invested, not to mention you’re likely to find lots of great information and even events online that you could miss out on. Be an active presence instead of a wallflower online – like, comment on and share information that you find to be pertinent! Read all of the news feed, and find out whatever is appropriate for your club – blogs, newsletter, FB or whatever might be available. Jump in and take part!
- Watch classes
Don’t just stick around for your class – observe other classes when you can and see what great fencing tips you can get from seeing how coaches other than your own get it done. Think of it as an inside window into the workings of the club! This can also help you to realize just how much is going on at your club, which is likely a lot more than you realize. The better you’re able to understand the depth and breadth of the fencing experience at your school, the better you’ll be able to envision your own path.
- Dress the part
Invest in a club t-shirt, jacket or bumper sticker to show your club pride! The more you integrate yourself into the culture of your fencing club, the more connected you’re going to feel and the more you’ll be excited to come into class. What’s on the outside isn’t the only thing that’s important, but it is important to realize that it matters!
- Go to events
Is your club having and end of season picnic? A holiday party? Are they marching in a parade? Don’t miss it! Though these are often not official fencing events in the sense that fencers aren’t actively fencing, you’ll be able to get access to the rich and wonderful experiences of coaches, owners and advanced students that you just can’t get in class alone. When you participate in club events, you’re becoming part of the fencing community on a whole another level. While we’re not suggesting that you should spend every waking hour at the club, do realize that if you’re not participating in club events, you’re missing out.
- Ask about improvement
One of the absolute simplest and most effective things that you can do is to ask your coach or club owner about what you could be doing to get more out of their club. Just ask! You might be taking regular classes and private lessons, but are there other offerings that you’re missing out on? Keep in mind that fencers are constantly growing in their skill, constantly changing. What worked for you six months ago to keep you on that road to improvement probably won’t work so well today – so make it a regular habit of reaching out to people within your club.
This doesn’t just go for coaches and owners, but mentors and advanced students as well. Is there a superstar competitor that you admire within your school? Reach out to them! Ask them how they got there, what they wish they’d known along the way, and what supports were essential on their path.
- Go and volunteer
Some clubs require all members to volunteer for a certain amount of hours, while others don’t have any such requirement. There are some great benefits for volunteering at events like competitions, holidays, parties or Clinique. Not only are you helping out – you’re also learning more. Not to mention your help will be always appreciated. Volunteering is a bonding experience, one that brings you closer to your clubmates and takes you onto the next level. Take some time to volunteer with your club and you’ll feel much more a part of of the fencing community! Check with your fencing club, particularly during tournament season.
- Suggest improvements
Do you have some ideas about making things better around the club? Don’t be ashamed of them – share them! Coaches and managers would love to hear the ideas that you have to make your club even more efficient, professional and great. Two heads are better than one! When you work together, you’ll be able to bring about some fantastic improvements. Once you personally do something for the place you care about, you feel a better connection with everything that’s going on. You’ve got a lot to offer, and your fencing club will definitely benefit!
- Networking is everything
In fencing, just as in life, networking is everything. Reach out to and meet other parents and fencers every chance you get. Connect, ask question, build a network for urgent help, form friendships, carpool and hangout. You never know which people in your life are going to be the ones who’ll have the lasting impact, who you’ll need in a moment of crisis or who might need you. This is true for competitions as well – talk to other fencers, coaches and families when you’re traveling to form those widespread connections. Networking makes the experience so much richer and is also a great way to improve your fencing!
- Help you club to grow
Attract new fencers, spread the world. <ore fencers in the club is better for everyone because if offers the chance for there to be more stability and more growth, and of course for there to be more sparring partners. Fencers welcome competition, and in fact one of the best things about fencing is the way that fencers have a great affection for these people that they swing swords at. More people to swing swords at is more fun! Bring beginners to camps, tell your friends, share it on your social media. Get more out of your club by promoting your club and being your club’s advocate.
- Enjoy yourself
Hands down the most important advice is to feel it in your heart – the happiness, connection, and good vibes. Being out there in your club is something positive, so allow yourself to feel that! See those good vibes and do whatever you can to make improvements. If you don’t feel that happiness, that joy that surrounds this great sport, consider changing clubs so that you can find the best place. Getting the most out of your club means having fun, because this sport is so incredibly just fun!
The fencing club is where almost all of it happens for fencers. Getting more out of your club is the best way to get more out of your fencing!