Art of Fencing, Art of Life

Sport and Leadership – What Fencing Does for Kids

Sport and Leadership – What Fencing Does for KidsOf everything that sports does for kids, one of the most underrated benefits is that it teaches them to be incredible leaders. Growing good leaders isn’t easy, but it’s something that’s worth parents putting efforts into. That’s because leadership can make a massive difference in the long term life of kids.

Fencing teaches kids to keep going

More than anything, what separates strong leaders from the pack is their ability to keep going. It’s something that we seem to talk about endlessly, that kids don’t have the tenacity to push forward through adversity. Sport shows kids that they can do more, that they can be more than they think they are if they push over hurdles. It’s a schooling that’s unlike anything to get elsewhere, in no small part due to the physical dimension of the sport. Physicality offers a focus to push through.

Leadership can’t be fabricated. If it is fabricated and rehearsed, you can’t fool the guys in the locker room. So when you talk about leadership, it comes with performance. Leadership comes with consistency. – Junior Seau

Sport offers a point of reflection

What are kids going to remember about their childhood? What points will they reflect on in their adult lives when they need a spark of inspiration? Childhood sports like fencing offer a point of reflection for the future. That’s important for building strong leaders because it gives them a foundation to come back to for guidance. When something seems unfair, they can reflect on the bad call during a fencing bout. When they don’t know how to move forward, they can look back to the hard work that they put in on the strip.

Leadership is an intense journey into yourself. You can use your own style to get anything done. It’s about being self-aware. Every morning, I look in the mirror and say, ‘I could have done three things better yesterday.’ – Jeffrey R. Immelt

Working with a coach ingrains communication

Communication is a hallmark of leadership. Fencing, and in particular the kind of communication that comes with the fencing coaching experience, is a magnificent builder of communication skill for kids. Learning to navigate communication effectively is a challenge, especially for kids, but it’s so important for success in life. The coaching process in fencing is unlike any other sport because there is both a team and an individual aspect, along with the constant one-on-one opponent aspect of fencing. Having an opponent also teaches communication skills, perhaps unexpectedly.

The art of communication is the language of leadership. – James Humes

Fencing teaches kids to go against the crowd

Fencing is an unusual sport, which is one of the things that makes it really amazing. Leaders can’t go along with what everyone else is doing, standing out from the crowd is a major part of the equation. Who wants to be like everyone else? Perhaps the best thing that kids can get out of fencing in terms of leadership is learning that they can be part of something unique and special, that they don’t have to go along with what everyone else is doing, and that it can help propel them to success. Then they can lead the way for others.

A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd. – Max Lucado

Learning to become outstanding leaders is important for kids. Sport, and in particular fencing, can tremendously help them develop those leadership skills that are so hard to teach.


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  1. R

    You wrote “…we seem to talk about endlessly, that kids don’t have the tenacity to push forward through adversity.” Yesterday you compared a yelling mother versus a father advising “Have fun. Do your best.” The yelling mom’s fencer will push, the dad’s won’t.

    • Irina Chirashnya

      Hi R! First of all, thanks for commenting on this blog and always adding some valuable inputs! This means a lot to us!

      Regarding this comment – I do not agree that pushing automatically means yelling. We push our kids everyday to do something and to achieve something. Some, as a mom in yesterday’s post, will do it by yelling, and others, like the dad from the same piece, will do it by doing it together and encouraging. Makes sense now?

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