The first competition for new fencers and new fencing parents can be both thrilling and very challenging. What do I need to bring? How will I manage the schedule? What protocols will impact my day? There are so many different variables that go into a large fencing tournament, and they all have the potential to derail a fencer’s focus and cause stress. It’s good to know that you can minimize all of that with some advice from experienced fencing parents.
Depending on who you are and what kind of youth sports experience you have, you might find that you’re comfortable with some aspects of the process, but this guide is truly a primer – it’s written with the assumption that you don’t have any experience with large youth sports competitions.
It’s important to note here that large competitions are different from local competitions and inter-club tournaments. RYCs, NACs, RJCCs, etc. are on a bigger scale with more moving pieces. What’s more, fencers and their families are often traveling a considerable distance to go to regional and national fencing tournaments. Those layers add up to a broader scope and a greater level of intensity that warrants more preparation.
Once you get the hang of it, that level of intensity is both satisfying and familiar. The fencing community is a warm and supportive space for young people to grow, and the connections forged at these large fencing tournaments are both comforting and deeply satisfying. Friendships between fencing families as well as individual fencers are forged on the road and in the tournament halls during regional and national fencing tournaments, all while fencers challenge themselves to become better people in a holistic way.
Starting off is not always easy. That’s why we’ve put together this thorough primer for fencers and fencing parents who are going into their first competition. We’ve broken it down into sections that are easy to follow and straightforward. It’s comprehensive enough to give you everything you need to know about your first fencing tournament, while at the same time being short enough that you can read it in the few minutes you have as you dash between school and fencing practice. If you don’t have time to dig through all of it, that’s ok! Scan the headlines and focus on the areas that you have the most questions about. Hopefully, you’ll find the answers here! If you don’t, please drop us an email or comment at the bottom of this list to let us know what we’re missing.