How you train and how much you’re motivated are the keys to your success as a fencer. It’s as simple as that. The better your training and the higher your level of motivation, the better your results. The worse your training and the lower your level of motivation, the worse your results.
Your coach is the heart of your training experience. Your coach is the lifeblood of your motivation. He or she guides you, molds you, leaves you room to blossom into the incredible fencer that you can be.
That only works if you trust your coach.
Why a fencing coach is better than Wikipedia
The internet is everything in today’s world. Want to know who won the gold medal in foil in the 1912 Olympics? Neo Nadi. Thank you Wikipedia. How about a list of the foundational movements in fencing? Wikipedia can help you out there too. Which universities have fencing programs? Wikipedia can give you that info too.
Surf on over to YouTube and you’ll find hundreds of fencing technique videos. Literally hundreds. Many of them by the top fencers in the world of the last few years. You could watch for days without sleeping and still not get through them.
Then of course there are the awesome blogs on fencing online, chock full of interesting and relevant information about the sport.
If there’s all this information out there, then the question comes up of why do you need a fencing coach anyway? Couldn’t you just do this yourself? You could read everything on Wikipedia, watch those videos, read those blogs, and then just get this fencing thing figured out on your own.
Well, that’s not going to work.
Fencing coaches make fencing their life’s work. It’s their job to train athletes. It’s their job to create a regimen of training that’s JUST FOR YOU. Wikipedia and YouTube can certainly give you some insight, but you’re getting generic insight that was meant for thousands of people. It’s not personal at all. Your coach knows you, sees you fence, sees your mistakes, your limitations, your strengths and weaknesses and your fears. She or he knows what you’re doing well and what you need to work on. They understand your history and your goals in a way that of course a website can’t ever get.
Google is not going to make anyone more knowledgeable than a fencing coach. It’s common for us to see parents stepping into the role of coach, either at training or at competition. That’s just not productive. No matter what your background, your child’s fencing coach is who’s guiding their fencing progress. Allow the coach to do their job and guide your child correctly.
A good way to think about this whole thing is to look at another example. Imagine someone was having a medical issue. Researching about the disease on Wikipedia won’t make you a doctor, nor will it give you the right to give advice to the surgeon. Get some insight into the process so that you can make smart decisions when necessary, but leave it at that!
As a fencing club, we absolutely advocate that you learn everything you can about fencing. Including from the internet and from this blog. But always keep it in perspective!
What trusting your fencing coach does for you
Trusting your coach opens up success that’s not possible if you try to go it on your own.
Fencing coaches are experts in this field. They know what they’re doing from sleep schedules to grip technique. These individuals have been at this for years, with a wealth of knowledge and experience.
Your fencing coach is pouring their expertise and experience into you. They’re giving you the gift of their time and knowledge. Once you learn to trust your fencing coach, it’s up to you as a fencer to then apply that knowledge to your practices and to your competitions.
Trusting your coach takes the pressure off of you. It’s empowering! It’s freeing! You don’t have to be an expert in this right now. You don’t have to know everything. If you’re a parent, that’s really a big deal. Let go of your expectation that you have to be the expert at fencing and just let your child’s coach do their job. If you’re a fencer, that means you don’t have to feel overwhelmed with the responsibility of having to know everything.
Without trust, motivation is going to fall away. Practice becomes a chore and training is less beneficial. With trust, fencers can throw their entire selves into the sport. They can put that hard work right out there without fear. Though it’s the fencer who must find that special something within to propel them to success, a fencing coach can make all the difference. In those hard moments in training when you want to give up or you’re frustrated because your progress isn’t going the way you’d like it to, it’s the coach that gives you the push that you need to keep going. Every top athlete will tell you that it’s their coach that made their success possible!
If you’ve chosen a coach that’s awesome and that you can trust, that’s great. If your coach isn’t working for you, then find a new coach! People tend to worry about feelings getting hurt, and it can definitely be a case, like with any teacher-student relationship. However, good fencing coaches want what’s best for their fencers and he or she will try to understand and respect your decision. Yes, you might hurt your coach’s feelings if you think things aren’t working, but lack of trust hurts the feelings more and will cause conflicts and dissatisfaction for both of you in a long run. It’s better to go find another coach who you can feel confident with and put your trust in.
Fencing is a complicated sport. That’s why we like it so much! It’s SO much more nuanced than anything you could get out of a book or off of a website. Trust your coach to know what you need and how to move forward.