Fencing competitions can be great fun for the fencer and the family. As with many things in life, the way to get the most enjoyment is to be prepared. Put in the work ahead of time and you can enjoy the day. We’ve written previous posts on what to bring, what to eat, and preparing your child mentally if you’re headed to your first competition. Today we want to go a step further and talk about creating a “base camp” for both you and your fencer (and anyone else you bring along!).
What do we mean by that? You can bring a set of items and find a small space at the venue to “set up camp.” That way your fencer will feel more at home, feel more settled, and have a predetermined space to relax. However, just as important, you will have a place to relax and feel settled. Fencing competitions can last anywhere from 2-3 hours or go for the entire day—from 7 am until late evening. Don’t you want a place to sit and take a breath? Read a book or do a crossword puzzle?
If you’re headed to a tournament with other families, you can collaborate on one larger base camp for all of the fencers. Then it becomes even more fun and easier with the teamwork. But even if you create a camp on your own, it’s simpler than you probably think. Plus, once you gather these items once, it gets easier each time.
We’ve complied this list of things to bring by observing experienced fencing parents at recent competitions:
- Folding chairs or lawn chairs
- Cooler with cold, healthy drinks
- First-aid kit & bandages (make sure you include items you might need too, such as headache medicine)
- Food box for you and your fencer (again, stick to healthy foods)
- Small portable chair that you easily take near the strip for your fencer to rest between bouts
- Things to pass the time for you: books, crossword puzzles, tablets
A guiding rule is that it’s better to over-prepare than to get stuck without something you need. If you plan ahead of time, this list is quite easy to cover and can make all the difference on competition day.
Remember that this preparation is as much for you as it is for your kids. Your fencer will truly love the “camp” and it will help to create fond childhood memories of being taken care of at competitions. Plus it is likely to help them perform better. At the same time, your stress level will be much lower if you come prepared and are able to relax yourself.