Art of Fencing, Art of Life

How to make a ball on a string (for fencing drills) in four easy steps

Ball on a string - moving target for fencing drills

By Imme Kaschner

Hi Igor & Team

Thank you for your inspiring work!

We (my 10 year old daughter and I) are members at VRI Fencing, Melbourne, Australia (the club focuses on mainly on epee). We had our first online session for the junior squad today. Life in lockdown is suddenly looking much better!

I had totally underestimated the utility of this “cat toy” (=ball on a string) for fencing training. I put together this easy DIY tutorial after being asked by our head coach to get one, and deciding that it was easier (and in keeping with social isolation recommendations) to make our own. Not rocket science, but if this post encourages a few people to see the fun of training at home and understanding that really if their have their gear, that’s all they need, it is totally worth it.

Please feel free to share/publicise this for others to use!

Thanks, Imme (Kaschner) 


How to make a ball on a string (for fencing drills) in four easy steps

You need: An old tennis ball, some sturdy string (I found a roll of something called “Venetian blind chord” lying around, woven with 3mm thickness, which worked well), a sharp knife, a match, and something like a screwdriver to push knot through. You also need to think about where you will put up the ball, as that determines the approximate length of the string. It should be chest hight for whoever uses it.

1) Carefully cut a thin slot into the tennis ball (picture 1).
2) Tie a knot into the end of the string (picture 2).
3) Push the knot into the slot (picture 3).
4) Measure and cut chord, leaving some spare string in case you want to use it in other spots later on. If you use nylon chord etc, use the flame of the match to singe the free end so it does not fray.

Tie ball up in the chosen spot at chest hight. If you need to take it off after training, use a black marker to mark correct length to make it quicker to re-tie next time.

Endless fun. A big thank you to people at VRI Fencing Club and all over the world who find creative ways to allow others to keep fencing. En garde!

Original Facebook post and photos:


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1 Comment

  1. Leon

    A quick addition. A ball on a string is also very useful for sabreurs.
    When it is already swinging, practice wrist cuts on a moving target around the imagined guard.

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