Get the Most Out of Fencing stick to fencingTwenty-three tips for parents to get the most out of fencing and foster a positive relationship with fencing for their child:

  1. Give them unconditional love.
  2. Support their coaches.
  3. Don’t do everything for your child – allow them to stand on their own, successfully or not.
  4. Know that they will not win every time they compete, and accept it.
  5. Don’t steer EVERY conversation toward fencing (though certainly talk about it often!), look for rounded family discussions at the dinner table and beyond.
  6. Make time for them to just have fun! To be a kid.
  7. Stay calm, dignified, relaxed and happy at competitions – your mood sets the tone for your child’s mood!
  8. Encourage them to develop their personal character and value.
  9. Avoid introducing your child as “This is my daughter – the fencer.” While fencing is incredibly important, it’s also essential that your child have an identity as themselves.
  10. Reward your child’s success often, but don’t do it with material things only. An afternoon with you enjoying an activity is often the best reward!
  11. Foster the same passion for school work and intellectual endeavors as you do for fencing. They go hand in hand!
  12. There are no shortcuts to success. The latest equipment and most expensive gear are no substitute for practice and focus.
  13. Let your child take care of the day to day maintenance of their equipment – packing their bag, folding their uniform, hanging things up. Your child will rise to the level of responsibility that you give them, and they’ll also be more invested in their fencing as they’ll feel connected through taking care of their gear.
  14. Don’t reward great performances with junk food! This sends the message that healthy eating is punishment and that unhealthy eating is reward.
  15. Don’t look for special sports drinks, supplements, foods or herbs to help your child’s skills.
  16. Help your child find positive fencing role models who live the sport through honesty and integrity. There are usually some great role models right in the club you’re fencing at!
  17. Don’t compare achievements between children – siblings or teammates or rivals. Allow kids to learn that their worth comes from their ability to improve over their past skills, and that success isn’t about who won which match.
  18. NEVER use training as punishment.
  19. Your child will plateau – and that’s ok! There will be times when your child doesn’t improve their skill dramatically for a period of time, but that doesn’t mean that they’re failing. Be there for them when they stay flat and don’t worry about it yourself. Progress will come.
  20. Connect with other families! Carpooling, going to competitions together, participating in club activities, hanging out outside of their fencing training – these are all ways to encourage your child to make connections with other fencers and will really help them to get the most out of fencing. (You too!)
  21. Accept that mastery is a years long process, and encourage your child to enjoy that journey.
  22. Fencing teaches life lessons like leadership, responsibility, selflessness and confidence. Remind your child that these are your goals for them.
  23. Again, love your child unconditionally. No matter how hard they practice, how many matches they win, they are always deserving of your love. Repeat this to them often.