Fencing is a fun sport. It’s a sport that’s fueled by adrenaline. It’s a sport that offers great gear, fantastic exercise, real combat and awesome opportunities for the future. It’s also a complex sport. Kids who enjoy activities that are challenging are generally those who are going to enjoy fencing the most, and who are most likely to be successful as fencers.
Adjusting to fencing takes time
Because fencing is a full body, contact sport, it’s one that requires a good deal of physicality. This is something that is challenging for many kids who are prone to being intellectual. Fencers have to work hard to become stronger and faster, more flexible and with a higher level of coordination. Decision making skills in fencers must be razor quick.
Adjusting to combat plays a big role in your child learning to fence well. This is a type of sport is unlike most other sports, and that difference will require your child to learn to face fear and get over nervousness. The gear in and of itself takes some time to get used to, as it’s a full body form of protection that covers your child literally from the top of their head to the soles of their feet. Learning to become comfortable in the gear alone takes some time.
How long it takes your child to adjust to the fencing environment is going to take some time, usually a few months at least. Some new fencers settle in and become comfortable in just a few weeks. Others might take a bit longer. A great deal of it depends on what other life experiences they’ve had and what their natural inclinations are. Allow your child some time to learn what works and what doesn’t about the equipment and the environment.
Becoming a good fencer
Fencing is just like any pursuit in life – it takes effort and patience to grow and get better. We are firm believers that it doesn’t matter the body type or the level of natural ability that an individual starts out with, that anyone has the potential to become a great fencer if they have a passion for the sport and the drive to work hard to make good improvement. There is no magic pill here, no perfect thing that’s going to suddenly tell you that your child is a great fencer.
What you really want to find is that your child shows an aptitude for passion. While everyone is going to have off days when they want to stay home and take a break, you’ll know that your child is mean to fence if they enjoy it and want to come to class to work on their skills. The more that your child shows a love for fencing, the more encouragement and support you should offer them.
Becoming a champion fencer takes literally years of practice and hard work. There is no way for kids to get there faster or for parents to get a vision of their being there faster than do just do it and see where it leads. The most satisfying and helpful thing that you can do with your child to help them discover if fencing is right for them is to be patient with their decisions about coming to practice and improving their skills.
One on one training can make a huge difference
One on one training can make a huge difference for fencers who are unsure about what path to take. Private lessons are truly worthwhile, allowing fencers to learn more about the specifics of the techniques that they’re doing. The breakthroughs that happen in private lessons can be astounding. While group lessons offer the foundation of today’s training model, young fencers can learn so much by working with a coach on an individual level. Private lessons can help your child get over hurdles that were keeping them back, and it can allow them to get the personal feedback that they need to take the next stride forward in their training.
If your child is struggling with fencing, we highly encourage you to try a private lesson run before you totally give up on the sport as a whole. It can be the boost that they need to conquer any lingering issues that might be holding them back, and it will ensure that you know you did everything you needed to do in order to give them the best fencing experience possible.
The bottom line on timelines
There is no magic number that’s exactly when your child is going to show whether they’re great fencers or not. And in any case, everything lies in what you define as being “good at fencing”. Is it when your child wins a championship? Or how about when they take home that first top spot at a local tournament? Will you know that your child is “good at fencing” when they make the Olympic team or get recruited by a top college?
Our view of fencing is that it’s not about the achievement, it’s about the growth and the passion. Fencing pulls something out of us, something that’s valuable no matter how many medals we win. There are no timelines on winning. There are no shortcuts to becoming better. There are no sure things. That’s all ok! What we want to make sure of is that your child is enjoying the journey and is making positive strides towards success.
You’ll know within a few months whether or not this is the right fit for your child. While you definitely want them to be able to find success in fencing as far as competition is concerned, we don’t measure success in terms of medal counts. We measure success in terms of personal development.