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Winwaloe
-16th August 2005, 12:43
Looking at the possible questions for the new coaching course I started to wonder if I was looking at the refs course as opposed to the coaching. It would seem that the questions will be taken from the County refs course.

I can think of a number of very good coaches who will have a real problem with some of the answers as they have probably not kept completely up to date with the rules. Unless there is a secret agenda to double up the role of coach and referee I would very much doubt that a coach needs to know some of the rules listed (they do of course need to know where to look them up). However, if coaches will have to pass a virtual refs exam will refs have to do a coaching practical?

Sophie
-16th August 2005, 13:24
Link (http://www.englandfencing.co.uk/index.php?module=documents&JAS_Document_op=downloadFile&JAS_File_id=56)

Not very good at the technical stuff so hope the link works

Having looked at the questions and think that if a coach doesn't know the answers to these they really should do. (Even the ones about dimensions of a piste)

If a coach cannot teach a fencer when they will be penalised for stepping off the piste, how does the fencer know what to do about the end of the piste in a competition?

Insipiens
-16th August 2005, 14:56
While a coach should be able to answer the questions (although really I am not sure he needs to know the length of the piste) many of these questions are not about the technicalities of coaching in terms of
footwork
bladework
tactics
fitness
which I would have thought were pretty important.

However, they are very difficult to test through a written mutiple choice test.

Winwaloe
-17th August 2005, 07:33
Don't want to select particular questions (inc the length of a piste which most coaches will know but I would debate how relevant it is to coaching: never take a tape measure to lessons myself) it is the concept that I believe is at fault. There are more relevant questions for a coach (ref to former BFA exam questions/book). I would suggest that lifting the refs questions are an easy way out. However, I look forward to all those non fencing refs joining us on coaching courses as it has long be held (in some quarters) that you cannot ref if you don't fence. Point taken?

fencingmaster
-17th August 2005, 08:17
I already written to BF rep and hope that they take some notice.

The two theory papers that I have seen set were taken exclusively from the list of questions for presiding examinations. A coaching award should surely test the candidate’s knowledge on teaching and coaching, together with fencing theory/terminology (as well as an element on the rules of fencing).

Areas of knowledge that need to be covered would include: classroom management, elicitation, concept checking, rotation, feedback and review, I.D.E.A., safety and warm-up.

Research in other areas of education has shown that the single greatest cause of student dropout is inappropriate level and content. Without the foregoing tools the student coach would not learn to deliver appropriate content.

randomsabreur
-17th August 2005, 10:23
I would say that knowing that a piste is 14 metres long, and the relationship of the lines to each other is very important for a coach. As a fencer, it is important to know exactly where you are when you are at the end of the piste, so you don't go off it unexpectedly. So you need to be used to picking up the various references and stopping in the right place. If you aren't used to fencing on a 14 metre piste, you find yourself stopping at about the distance where you would collide with the wall in your training venue which may or may not be at the end of the piste at the competition! Likewise, the knowledge of what you are (and are not allowed to do as regards covering, turning shoulders, what degree of close quarter fencing will be allowed would appear to me to be fairly important for a coach. Otherwise you end up with the constant corps-a-corps/knitting which seems to happen at WF (as I discovered to my cost at the Bowden Cup). I assume that the various contortions people get themselves in to get the point on at close range are taught, I have no clue what to do when in close.

Admittedly the various bits about adding up poule sheets, and who wins a poule/qualifies are a bit pointless.

Sophie
-17th August 2005, 12:44
Don't want to select particular questions (inc the length of a piste which most coaches will know but I would debate how relevant it is to coaching: never take a tape measure to lessons myself) it is the concept that I believe is at fault. There are more relevant questions for a coach (ref to former BFA exam questions/book).

Aren't these questions a sort of "catch all" for things that can't be demonstrated or otherwise assessed?

I would hope that a coaching exam would mainly be based on practical assessment where the coach can demonstrate their ability to teach footwork etc etc. These questions are more like the "odds and ends" that are more difficult to test during a practical.

(I'm sure Fencingmaster will clarify.....)

allthree
-17th August 2005, 15:46
All of you are making valid points re the theory questions.

The reason initially the ref questions are chosen is that due to time restraints and wanting paperwork on the web for people to down load and learn it seemed a good starting point. Nearly all the 16 people just takeing this exam at Colchester last week gained 100%. The questions selected for them to answer tried to avoid the more ref only requirements in the answers. many of the questions are things such as definitions. The list of questions will be revised as already some are out of date if you take the suggested answer that comes with them.(none of these were used)

The candidates still have to answer theory questions on code of conduct and health and safety and child protection. They also need to know during the course and make notes (from information given them by the educator) all aspects of technique, timing tactics and training suitable for the level award being taken. They also need to know group lesson structure such as idea.

The system is up and running and is not closed to evolution to improvement.
if you ask one hundred coaches what they think and what we should do you will get one hundred different answers!
Over twenty years I have seen as many changes of ideas and systems. Most of them produce coaches of the same skill levels. Candidates suffer just as much confusion and nerves.

The system in place now is devised to be locally based to allow volunteers to learn to coach, cheap to take part in and easy to identify the level requirements. (much work is now going on to facilitate this)

There will also be the structure to encourage coaches to keep learning, taking qualifications and improving themselves. Funding will be made available for "fully qualified" coaches to keep learning as the qualifications on their own can mean very little or a lot!

No system will ever be perfect who ever sets it up. from the emails and resonse I have had it is clear that the present system is along the right lines as to what people require. That does not mean that the syllabus content does not need refining, I know it will.

A positive support from all will ensure all get the most from it. There is a lot of work still to do, but it is from volunteers so the time scale is lengtherned.

What is fact is that it is now up and running and it is the system all have to do.

fencingmaster
-17th August 2005, 16:05
Hello Sophie,
My point is that if you want referees then you test them as referees; if you want coaches then you test them as coaches.
Therefore the syllabus should IMO be more specifically directed towards teaching & coaching knowledge & ability, correct terminology & theory - with a proportionate amount regarding rules & regs.

As Winwaloe postedThere are more relevant questions for a coach - for example; you will appreciate that it is necessary to have a basic knowledge of anatomy so that the correct muscles are used and joints protected.

If you produce a syllabus for someone that's where their learning will naturally be focused - at the moment it is a list of fencing strokes and a list of rules - that does not focus the essence of study on appropriate methodologies of instruction, which should IMO be the prime purpose of a syllabus for coaches - how to coach.

The danger is that BF will produce what is effectively a high grade fencing proficiency award and fail to develop coaching potential.

"Tell me and I'll forget
Show me and I might remember,
Involve me and I will learn"

Winwaloe
-18th August 2005, 08:47
"I would say that knowing that a piste is 14 metres long, and the relationship of the lines to each other is very important for a coach. As a fencer, it is important to know exactly where you are when you are at the end of the piste, so you don't go off it unexpectedly. So you need to be used to picking up the various references and stopping in the right place. If you aren't used to fencing on a 14 metre piste, you find yourself stopping at about the distance where you would collide with the wall in your training venue which may or may not be at the end of the piste at the competition!"

The length of the piste is very important for a fencer. I have seen very few coaches (actually none) that have used the whole length of a piste when giving a lesson. Ask the average fencer to judge 14m and most would get it right +/- half a metre I expect. Most fencers do not keep looking down to find out where they are, it is, I suggest, down more to perception and "sense". None of which can be helped by your coach who may not even be with you. Over the years I have been to clubs who do not have room for a full 14 m piste (and I can think of a few comps that have had problems) so training/competing are not always the same. However the point is you are making very valid points for he fencer but not for the coach!

randomsabreur
-18th August 2005, 09:34
Depends on the purpose of the lesson, Prof Katz almost always did with me, as he was trying to teach/remind me to use the full length of the piste. Also, if a coach attends competitions with his/her fencers, it is useful if he can notice that the pistes are a little short (Birmingham upstairs hall, Leicester some years in the past) or if the en garde lines are closer or further apart and warn a fencer who may not have noticed it (until they ran out of piste unexpectedly, or misjudged the distance of a premedited action off the en garde lines) (admittedly more a sabre issue than for the others given that the other weapons tend not to do stuff without having done a little preparatory manoeuvering).

My point is that a coach who knows where the lines are/should be can train his fencers how to work out where they are (as many people, myself included had a certain degree of difficulty in judging how much ground they have covered without prior training and practice.

allthree
-18th August 2005, 10:16
One job of coaches is often to take their pupils for proficiency awards so you need to know the piste size. Also beginners when introduced to the piste may ask how long it is!

Of course the coach needs to know these things.

I always use the full piste in lessons, I insist the pupil is aware of the end during any phrase we are practising for example they may step back with a stop hit at epee if they have room or i would expect a more traditional bent arm parry because of the fact they cannot step back due to the end of the piste. I often try and get them to leave the back of the piste to see if they are concentrating.

This may depend on the level of the pupil of course but it can be introduced quite soon.

pupils need a game plan for each area of the piste and realise what strokes are available and what to look out for.

These aspects may not be requires in a level one coaching award but the level one coach needs the theoretical knowledge to answer the inevitable questions. I do agree with an earlier point that some technical rule details just require the knowledge of where to look in the book.

Untill fencers have attended a coach education course most have no idea just how difficult and intense it can be.

Winwaloe
-18th August 2005, 11:12
Well let's not get too hung up on how long the piste should be (notice no one has made any comment about the variable width!). My original comments were made on the whole subject and not selected questions (a hare that randomsabreur started running). Equally, I accept that there are times when a coach will use the whole piste and/or work on the back line. However, I would suggest that very few coaches (and I repeat that I have never seen it) use the whole of the piste each time they give a lesson. If they did they would be remarkably tired after a 2/3 hour coaching session!

It is reasonable to expect that in Forum postings some things are taken as read and that one cannot be overly specific. If one has to explain every possible point or potential interpretation of a posting they would become somewhat long and probably quite boring!

SalleRoseCoach
-18th August 2005, 11:24
One of the jobs of a coach is to be able to answer the pupil's questions, which might well be what happens when :-
* They check your weapon
* My hit doesn't register
and a fencer in a competiton needs to know the rules. Unless you are expecting a pupil to pick up the rule book and work through it himself, as a coach you will be selective about introducing the rules to him/her ie common ones first, not those on P1.

The bane of most ref's, and a common source of confusion and conflict, is those rules that every fencer seems to know, but can never be found in the book (he can't hit me after I left the piste etc) and are just wrong.
My experience of foriegn coaches (Swiss French German) is that they have a very thorough knowledge of the rule book with which to support their fencers. So I think the inclusion of the rules is a 'Good Thing'



PS Bob is so right about the course being intensive and stressful, but it is also great fun- but then I passed phew?

pinkelephant
-18th August 2005, 12:13
If the coach doesn't educate the pupil concerning the rules, who will? I can't imagine a football/netball/hockey/cricket coach not discussing rules at some point.

Winwaloe
-18th August 2005, 13:07
I am delighted that so many coaches are completely up to date with all the rules for each weapon, that they can quote, without error, a particular rule and that they are also up to date with all conventions, official and unofficial. This does, of course, mean that certain highly qualified coaches will now not be able to say that they cannot ref at a comp. because they are not up to date with the rules. Presumably we will also soon have as many FIE qualified refs as we do super coaches.

Will stop now as I want to go outside and view the flying pigs!

randomsabreur
-18th August 2005, 13:28
The refereeing exam theory questions are not exactly difficult. Anyone who has actually had a look in the rule book in the last month should be able to pass it (with the help of a little common sense I suppose). I would pretty well view them as a minimum requirement, not really a symptom of a massive conspiracy to make all coaches turn up and referee at the BYCs.

As far as I remember, in the French system, to become a Maitre D'Armes, you have to fence a poule and be observed as a referee as well.

Frankly, we are very lucky that all clubs which send more than 4 individuals (or a team) to a competition don't have to provide a referee as well (again a requirement in France).

If you are looking for flying pigs, they generally move from left to right and are particularly common in the City of London, as they enjoy racing from Tower 42 to Canary Wharf (with a quick circle round the gherkin).

haggis
-18th August 2005, 13:56
Originally posted by randomsabreur
As far as I remember, in the French system, to become a Maitre D'Armes, you have to fence a poule and be observed as a referee as well.


And yet, by way of contrast, Italy (a nation that is generally acknowledged to be a similar fencing power to France) specifically bars its maestros from refereeing at national competitions. Does this make Italian coaches less successful than their French equivalents? No. Similarly, the Hungarian coaches that I know have little or no interest in refereeing, except in having an understanding of how right of way is currently being applied in the conventional weapons, and the two roles are viewed as entirely separate

While I think that a broad knowledge of the rules is useful for a coach, I would have thought that a couple of hours and bit of thoughht could have produced a more coach-relevant set of questions than these.

Regards

Haggis

Winwaloe
-18th August 2005, 14:02
Viewed from the left bank or do they start at the Citibank Tower?

Winwaloe
-18th August 2005, 14:05
"While I think that a broad knowledge of the rules is useful for a coach, I would have thought that a couple of hours and bit of thoughht could have produced a more coach-relevant set of questions than these."


100% spot on!!

randomsabreur
-18th August 2005, 14:22
I'd've made them harder... Combination of stuff like how to "legally" make sure you don't get hit or carded in a close quarters situation (needing to know rules and techniques), discussion of tactical options to exploit a given situation (with reference to the various types of attack)

But, then I'm evil?

I live south of the river, but work north (and am currently looking right at Tower 42) so am just confused.

Rdb811
-18th August 2005, 16:52
Originally posted by randomsabreur


If you are looking for flying pigs, they generally move from left to right and are particularly common in the City of London, as they enjoy racing from Tower 42 to Canary Wharf (with a quick circle round the gherkin).

There's a picture of one at Battersea Power station on an album cover I've got.

allthree
-18th August 2005, 17:36
Coaches the world over avoid refing because they want to spend the time coaching their pupils. If a country makes it a rule thats what they do then fine.

Also bear in mind when making the list of questions, before a final assessment takes place for the candidate, each stoke on the syllabus has an assessment form where the candidate proves amonst other things to the educator that they can define the stroke, give a tactical reason for it, name at least 5 teaching points for that stroke and even demonstrate it for a class. They are also observed giving the lesson during which lack of coaching knowledge shows up. Once these points of coaching are shown to be known, along with the theory test on code of conduct, health and safety and child protection the test on the rules is not missing that much. Also we need a list of questions for all of the UK that is greater than the number tested, which is easiliy available and gives the coach importent knowledge ie the rules!

Anyone wishing to produce 100 multiple choice questions for the coaching candidate will have it looked at and possibly used if it is more suitable than we already have. Try not to duplicate too much what coaches have learnt and been teated on earlier on the course.

pinkelephant
-19th August 2005, 10:21
Originally posted by Rdb811
There's a picture of one at Battersea Power station on an album cover I've got.

I'd forgotten that one! It does mean you're showing your age though!