Art of Fencing, Art of Life

Author: Yakov Danilenko

Coach fraud

Coach Fraud

A fraud issue that we’ve heard reported at major competitions is also one that many fencers are afraid to talk about. It’s hard to call out fellow coaches on bad behavior, and it takes a brave person to do it. You might have seen some of these same things happen yourself, but either didn’t know what to do or maybe were too timid to confront the individual.

Luckily, we have a guest poster who isn’t afraid to tackle the tough issues in fencing. Read on to learn more about one of the dark sides of high level fencing competitions that no one is talking about, but that we should all be more aware of.

This opinion piece is offered to us by Coach Yakov Danilenko, head coach and owner of the Medeo Fencing Club. We think that his perspective is an important one to share!

Do I need a coach at the fencing competition?

Yakov Danilenko coaching Jessica Lin at the final strip at November 2016 NAC in MilwaukeeSome fencers and their parents feel that they may be able to make it at tournaments without the help of a coach, even at major and important ones.

Other fencers and their parents mistakenly think that coaches are there to attend competitions with only one purpose – to help fencers win that extra bout in the pools or DE, or to score a decisive touch. They look at the coach as a savior or a wizard who should tell their fencer what and how to do at the decisive moment, and sometimes the expectation is even that the coach will have the power to teach some new and universal move that works in all situations and against any opponent. At times they even look to a coach to quickly teach how to make some incredible so called magic trick or give “a magic pill” that will guarantee a win in the final moments of the fight.

If the coach does not meet these requirements and conditions, in many cases, the work of the coach at the fencing competition is considered unsatisfactory and thereby the tournament unsatisfactory. Typically, the next time competition rolls around, these fencers and parents think that help from a coach at the fencing competition is a waste of money.

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