Why you must sign up for Fencing Competitions as EARLY as you canProcrastination. It gets the best of all of us.

There are a thousand reasons that we put off the things that we need to do, and every one of those reasons is unique. But what’s universal is that both life and fencing are easier when we just go do it!

Pre-register for a better experience

When you or your child are planning to go to a fencing competition, you’ve got the opportunity to sign up early, but for some reason many people put it off to the last minute. That’s just not good for anyone, and we’re going to explain to you why.

It happens all the time – many fencers wait for the last minute to preregister for a competition they want to attend. Once you get to that last day of the regular fee deadline, everyone starts paying and the list of competitors has significantly grown.

This puts tournament organizers in a very tough situation. That’s because they have no idea how many people are going to participate in the competition until close to competition. They’re left scrambling when there’s a giant influx of new fencers after the deadline, or on the flip side if they over-anticipated the number of fencers who were going to show up, they are left with having to scale back the competition and figure out how to manage that.

This isn’t just a pain for the organizers, it’s a problem for FENCERS! The smoother a tournament runs, the easier it is for fencers to concentrate on their sport rather than to be distracted by the logistics of the tournament itself. Less pre-registration can cause a cascade of trouble for the fencing organization who is putting the whole process on.

Lack of pre-registration leads to SO many problems on tournament day!

Events schedule

Scheduling during a fencing tournament has everything to do with how many fencers attend. Without good pre-registration, fencing organizers are guessing about how long things will take. The schedule must be published ahead of time, and once it is there are limited ways to make changes.

Once tournament day rolls around, additions to the schedule mean that things get behind and nothing works the way it’s supposed to. Everyone gets frustrated.

The refs

How may refs are needed for a fencing tournament? That answer depends entirely on how many fencers are attending. Qualified refs are essential to a fencing tournament, but without accurate pre-registration there’s just no way to get it right. Are more foil refs needed? More epee reps? More sabre reps? If there are too few refs at the last minute, then that leaves organizers scrambling to hire more. That’s not always the best choice because some great refs might already have other assignments. There might even be a need to fly in additional refs, which is a major expense for the tournament.

Higher quality refs who aren’t called in at the last minute are better for fencers. We all know that a great ref can make all of the difference for an individual fencer!

Of course an adequate cadre of refs isn’t the only personnel concern for a fencing competition, though they are essential. Armorers and volunteers make things go smoothly, and if there are too few then everything can get off schedule.

The facility

Physical space is of course a big deal in a tournament, and without accurate pre-registration the facility might be too small or not ready. Tournament organizers might need a bigger space, to rent more strips/scoring machines if they are renting them.

The coaches

From the perspective of the coach and the club, it is very difficult to plan ahead of time about how resources will be divided if there is no clear picture until the last minute. Here we run into the same problems that we detailed earlier with the referees – scheduling, substitutions, make-up challenges, and of course the issue of travel. It’s a burden for a club to have to coordinate flights to send out additional coaches two weeks before a competition because suddenly more fencers signed up.

Last minute sign ups also mean that coaches don’t have time to adequately prepare fencers for the tournament. Every coach wants what’s best for their students, so we want to make sure that they have the chance to give them that preparation!

The fencers

If you don’t know who signed up for a tournament, then it’s not always possible to know if you want to participate in it. Fencers chase those high level challenges, they want to compete against others who will help them grow. If you don’t know who’s going to participate, then you can’t know for sure that you want to go. When fencers wait until the last minute to sign up, then it’s not possible to know that the competition is worth the significant time and effort it takes to go!

Last minute sign up

Of course there will be competitions that you want to attend right at the last minute. That’s particularly the case if they are qualifying events that are necessary for you to get those final points to make it to Nationals. But if you know well before the competition that you want to attend, just go ahead and sign up!

The other thing that you should remember is that fencing competitions have cancellation policies. Most of the time, organizers will refund your event fees if you withdraw before their deadline for withdrawals. You won’t get your registration fees back, but most of the other fees you will be able to obtain. However if you plan competition participation carefully, then it’s unlikely that you’ll encounter a need to deal with the cancellation policy in the first place.

Last minute sign up is bad news for everyone involved, and most importantly it’s bad for your fencer! The bottom line is that you should be a good fencing citizen, help organizers run the smoothest competition possible, and help your fellow competitors by showing your intentions clearly. Everyone will (quietly) thank you for it!