Art of Fencing, Art of Life

Month: November 2020

10 Ways to Smooth the Parent/Coach Relationship in Fencing

10 Ways to Smooth the Parent/Coach Relationship in Fencing

In fencing, the fencer is the priority, but young fencers are necessarily supported by their parents and their coaches. Both of these stakeholders have an important role in facilitating the growth and development of fencers, but what happens when they don’t get along, their relationship deteriorates, or when they have different ideas about what is best? How about when a fencer pushes back against their coach?

These relationships are complex. It is challenging to keep the momentum going in a positive way, or to change course when things need to change. There are differences in opinions, and this is normal. Issues that develop here can turn into insurmountable obstacles that push fencers to quit the sport altogether, and no one wants to see that. 

The truth is that parents don’t always know what to do when conflict comes up. Our first reaction might be to step in because that feels like advocating for your child. All parents have that instinct to protect their kids. It’s a good instinct, but sometimes it can get in the way of what’s best for kids as they get older and need independence. Navigating that line is one of the toughest things for parents to figure out how to do and it is never an easy task to find the right balance. 

How can parents and coaches work together more effectively for the benefit of fencers? Here are ten ways to smooth the relationship between fencing parents and fencing coaches. 

How to Fence Unchallenging Training Bouts

How to Fence Unchallenging Training Bouts

Training bouts are fundamentally different from competitive bouts in fencing, and we know that both are important for improving performance. All training bouts are not the same, with some challenging our thinking skills, some challenging our physical skills, and some challenging our. . .  well, what happens when a training bout isn’t challenging at all?

Right now, a lot of fencers aren’t training in group lessons or in open fencing because of restrictions due to the pandemic. This often is pushing some fencers to be paired with opponents in training that are not on their level, either very far above or very far below. It’s a reality of what we are working with, and it is a problem that we are likely to see continue for the long haul as the pandemic progresses through the next few months or longer. Even in normal times, fencers can find themselves in training bouts that are not challenging, depending on their level and what kinds of fencers live nearby and can train with them regularly.

Training partners are important, especially as we progress in fencing. For many elite athletes it is often a norm to go back to their native clubs and train there. They aren’t always training in national camps or with their teams. Most of the time they go back home, where they don’t have the same level of training partners and are with younger fencers. Nick Itkin told us about this experience and also Mara Navarria shared her experience, and it was eye opening. There are ways to learn to do this effectively! 

It is always important to challenge ourselves to grow, no matter the situation. How can we maximize our ability to train effectively with partners of different levels?

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