How Often Should My Child Be Fencing? This is a question I often hear from parents. You don’t want to overwork your child or put too much pressure on them, but you also want them to grow and succeed. Obviously, there is no one correct answer to this question. Every child is different, and a child preparing for competition often will be training much more than one who is simply fencing for fun. Either way, it’s important as a parent to talk to your child and their coach regularly to make sure your child’s training schedule is right for them.
For a young fencer on the competition track, taking two-to-three classes and one or two private lessons a week is plenty of time to spend at the club. For very young fencers, start out with once or twice a week and build up from there. If your fencer is serious and wants more time to practice, there’s nothing wrong with that. Before taking on more classes, be sure to ask their coach if you think it will help them. Practice makes perfect, but burning out your child too soon can hurt in the long run.
If you do have your child going 4-5 days a week, remember that fencing is a long-term sport. It takes commitment, dedication, and time to make serious improvements. Especially with young children, you may not see the results immediately. Pushing your child to train more than they want to runs the risk of taking all the fun out of it. Fencing is a competition, but your child is there for the experience. It should be challenging and interesting, but more importantly, fun, rewarding, and positive. If they are dreading their next practice the whole car ride there, you may be guilty of overworking them.
Another important thing to consider is their age and their goals. Your 8 year-old fencer probably shouldn’t be fencing 5 days a week, but 2 days a week is likely not enough for a competitive high-schooler. If you’ve got your eyes on the Olympics, your training schedule may look more like a full-time job than an after-school hobby. Whatever you do, don’t base your decisions on the gossip of other parents. Just because another Y10 kid is taking 5 classes a week, doesn’t mean your Y10 child needs the same thing. Sit down and talk to the coach about your child’s performance and attitude during lessons. If you’d like to ramp up their training, make sure everyone agrees it’s what right for them.
Above all, talk to your child. Ask them what their goals are in fencing. If there is a specific competition coming up, maybe they want to take an extra private lesson in order to prepare. Maybe the other kids are progressing faster and they want that extra lesson to keep up. If the coach approves, and time and budget allow it, there’s no reason not to. As adults, we often forget that even young children are capable of making informed choices. Remember, it’s up to each fencer to decide what they want to get out of fencing. Our job as parents is to provide unconditional support for their life pursuits.