View Full Version : to coach or not to coach

-12th December 2003, 23:02
hi everyone
i fence in liverpool and one of our coaches is soon to leave as he's moving out of the area. the club will need some more coaches as fencing has become very popular recently and we regularly attract about 50-60 people each week. i was considering going into coaching, not sure which avenue to follow yet re. bfa baf. what benefits or disadvantages are there to coaching, i.e less time actually fencing but more time working on basics etc. how much will it all cost in training, kit and so forth. Is it all worth it? give us some idea. thanks:confused:

-14th December 2003, 03:01

On the other hand coaching can be great. Get people involved in a sport you love, pass on your knowledge, encourage and develop newcomers and watch their progress. As mentioned elsewhere, I'd recommend the new British Fencing/Hungarian syllabus but if you choose the BAF route then fine. Start-up costs, if you are coaching in an established club, are low (coaching plastron, sleeve, etc) but acquiring your qualifications isn't particularly cheap (BFA foundation level , three weekends plus practical work, likely to cost a couple of hundred quid. BAF residential course for equivalent exam for one week costs close to 400 quid.)

If you start to coach you can probably forget about progressing your own fencing much. You will be in demand!! Take it as a compliment.

Drop me a PM if you want some more specific advice,



-14th December 2003, 09:50
Don't forget that till you're qualified i.e. have passed the BFA exam(s), you are not insured for coaching under BFA membership. I think that even the BFA Club Leaders qualification requires you to work under the supervision of a qualified coach for insurance purposes but check that with BFA HQ.

I don't know the position of the BAF but you would have to be a member (do you have to have passed an exam for membership?)

-14th December 2003, 11:51
thanks fellas
we already have two club leaders and a county coach in the club, its just with the amount of fencers coming through its not enough. pretty much once they are past the beginners course they and we are left to fend for ourselves. all the newbies are taking over the boxes as they want to fence with lights. I was considering doing the county coach course figuring that i will further my knowledge as well as being qualified to teach as well. they're some good people starting up but without coaching or any kind of structure they will eventually fall by the wayside. i was just after pros and cons of the coaching scene, so far just got the cons.

-28th December 2003, 14:42
If you're a competitive fencer, or aspire to being one, then don't do it....at best it will slow your progress to a painful crawl (my experience!), and at worst your competitive fencing will go down the pan.

Pros are that it is very rewarding when your fencers start to get results, you see a thriving and happy club and you feel you can take a lot of credit for it. It sounds like your club is in a similar position to mine - lots of fencers coming through the door of all levels, and not enough staff to cater for them. In this situation you need to put a firm structure in place. We fence 2 nights a week, and have group tuition for beginners and intermediates on Tuesdays (kids6-715, adults730-9ish) and freeplay til 10. During the group tuition the advanced fencers can use the boxes. On Thursdays we give 1-2-1 lessons to all fencers, and we try to get everyone working together and fencing together whatever their level.

-28th December 2003, 23:12
Thats the main problem. there's no structure at our club at all, i think i'll forego the coaching for now and try and get involved with organising some club comps. another big problem is that we get shedloads of fencers yet the club won't stretch to 2 nights a week saying that it isnt financially viable or something. not involved with finances (don't want to be) so can't really comment on that but we have 2 hours 1 night a week, so can't get coached or much time on the electric boxes. This is why some order should be achieved, to give me more time to fence, I don't really want to travel to a different club to get fencing time. I've already seen some of the pro's you mentioned when showing newbies compound attacks. keep parrying until they finally realise they can evade the blade, BONUS, and they add another move to their repertior.

-3rd January 2004, 07:25
Maybe you could start by suggesting that the 2 hours is extended to 3 hours once a week? Use the first hour for newbies/beginners, the 2nd hour for more advanced tuition and the 3rd hour for freeplay.

If your club genuinely can't afford another night you have three options:

1 - put up club fees
2 - Try to get some funding
3 - stick with one night

Being in Liverpool might be a help on the funding front, as (like Cornwall) it's regarded as one of the UK's more deprived areas. Local authorities there will probably have some kind of 'sport for all' programme to get more people (especially women, children, disabled, ethnic minority or disadvantaged) involved in all sports. Local sports development officer should be able to offer some advice.

In my experience it's better to change slowly with these things. We started as a 2 hour once a week club (in 1970! Long before my time..). In the late 90s we gradually extended the time to 3, then 4 hours. In response to demand from the members we then added 2 hours on a 2nd night which then extended over time to 3 and again 4 hours. I'm now beginning to run a Cornwall Sabreurs training session on an irregular basis involving about a dozen keen, competitive sabreurs which I expect to develop into an elite training night for all weapons over the next couple of years.

Patience is the key!