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Another fencer
-10th May 2006, 16:06
Teams

On the question of how to keep people interested, we are going to start having our intermediates do matches with local clubs. We would like to have more BUSA teams, but the problem with putting more teams together for BUSA is the dreadful Wednesday match - with constant problems of getting a team together, not to mention finding enough sabreurs.

We are also encouraging them to do Novice comps, county and regional events. And doing social stuff.

Does anyone have any other ideas?

D'Artignan
-10th May 2006, 16:25
How about handicap competitions within the club? First-teamers get a 3point hanidcap, 2nd teamers get 2 point handicap, noobs get 0, or whatever. So, a noob vs !st teamer, noob starts 3-0 up. Run as a poule unique.The winners get some free booze or whatever. as an added incentive, you could make it that the person who comes in bottom has to contribute to the prize.

Rdb811
-10th May 2006, 17:37
Club championships might work - do you have enough numbers to do Cuppers (inter coliegate competition), say on one day, sort of equivalent to Christchurch Regatta ?

Friendly matches were evrybody is a member of teh team is the best approach.

Dragonfly
-11th May 2006, 08:56
Teams

We are also encouraging them to do Novice comps, county and regional events. And doing social stuff.

Does anyone have any other ideas?

You came down to Sussex for our 'Open' event, have you considered running one yourself? The best part about this is that if you let local clubs know too, there's the chance of fencing people you never knew. Also, you select which weapons are fought.
Sussex also went and asked local uni's for friendly matches. Portsmouth doesn't have any sabre equipment, so they can't be in BUSA, but their epee is fairly good.
Beginners, or the ones that might stay, all seem to want to learn a lot, and be in competitions. In my experience, they want something that they can tell their family about when they go home, tell friends about, that sort of thing.

JulianRose
-11th May 2006, 09:10
Forcibly dragging a few to some opens can be great. you want to try and keep them local to the uni and during term time and make sure you all go out and get hammered before, during, and after. a few of these and more of the beginners want to go, and all of sudden there are loads and loads and you won't have to do the admin!

silvercross
-11th May 2006, 10:16
We've done all of those.

My first year on our end of year competition, experienced fencers had an 8 point handicap going into DE's. An experienced member still ended up winning men's foil 15-8. (some handicap)

We do two competitions a year. One strictly for the newcomers, roundabout december, and an end of year comp for everyone at the end of May.

We drag the newcomers kicking and screaming to opens (we took two to Glasgow, another one went to Keele, and another one to the MOFT), but they generally seem to like it after they've been tossed in the water :grin:

It helps a lot to live near to some of the popular opens, because it gives you a good mini-circuit to develop for your home grown fencers to branch out from.

We're lucky that the uni is relatively close by to MOFT and Wrexham for the more experienced fencers and the Phoenix Foil for beginners. We had 9 beginners go to the Phoenix Foil last year!

As for social stuff, definitely a must. You can then post embarassing pics of them on the web! :grin:

strawberry
-11th May 2006, 15:15
Getting existing members of the club to talk to and socialise with new members usually helps people stay, the novices themselves elect two representatives for the club committee.
A lot of people also seem to give up in their second or third year if they don't think they are likely to get on a team, and because training tends to focus on the novices and the teams.

Jules
-12th May 2006, 10:15
We drag the newcomers kicking and screaming to opens (we took two to Glasgow, another one went to Keele, and another one to the MOFT), but they generally seem to like it after they've been tossed in the water :grin:

Whats the event at Keele? I can't find any other references to such a competition but it would be in a really excellent location for some of us from Stone...

Secondly, what do you do about kit for them tho? Most beginners dont have the kit so does the club lend?

JulianRose
-12th May 2006, 10:30
Whats the event at Keele? I can't find any other references to such a competition but it would be in a really excellent location for some of us from Stone...

Secondly, what do you do about kit for them tho? Most beginners dont have the kit so does the club lend?

When i was at newcastle we had virtually no kit, but people were prepared to buy smaller items like gloves etc. the club then did its best to get the larger items, like masks juackets etc.

hopefully under the new clothing regs your club has some new kit and yes lend it to beginners. just make sure they sign it out and back in so that it doesn't go missing!!!

silvercross
-12th May 2006, 22:27
The Keele Open is an intermediate Sabre/Epee event held every year around March at Keele Uni. It's supposed to be for fencers who are not in the top 150 in either weapon, though 'friendly' slips are known to happen. It's a small yet fairly friendly competition. I recommend it if you've never gone. We generally have about five or six of our fencers go (at least for the last two years).

As for kit, at the moment we thankfully have enough to go around, though for some strange reason the newbies seem to have discovered the weak points of every electric blade we have, and have proceeded to break them. :mad: I've spend most of the evening rewiring epees, and looking at my crystal ball, I see myself rewiring foils for most of next week ...ranting !

To that effect (and following the new BUSA/BFA rules) we're going to use only steam foils for the newbies for the first term, and make sure those that want to keep on fencing more seriously get breeches for X-mas. The club has a good supply of jackets and plastrons to go around. Since we've got a bit of kit to lend, we encourage our newcomers to buy their kit slowly. I usually say Breeches and plastron first. It took me over a year to get my kit when I started (and now I can dream of maraging weapons! :sleep: )

Skartha
-12th May 2006, 22:46
At QM we recommend a glove as a first purchase. Moulds to the shape of your hand - and somewhat cheaper than breeches or plastrons ;)

Red
-13th May 2006, 13:21
We've gone for the breeches first appraoch. Seems to have worked.

Keeping members? Take them to the pub after training, and our infamous* pirate bar crawl seems to be fantastic at getting people interested and staying with us.


*The infamy came from the fact that at the last two we've had somebody hospitalsied for one reason or another..... Doesn't seem to put people of for some daft reason....

Jules
-13th May 2006, 14:57
*The infamy came from the fact that at the last two we've had somebody hospitalsied for one reason or another..... Doesn't seem to put people of for some daft reason....

lol! how diplomatically put and that wouldn't include yourself now would it? :tongue:

Red
-15th May 2006, 16:13
Well, not everybody knows of the rum incident......

Kepster
-18th May 2006, 18:14
The Keele Open is an intermediate Sabre/Epee event held every year around March at Keele Uni.

There's plans afoot for a second such competition in Lancaster next year - Mike Ray's involved with coaching at both clubs, it was his idea originally I believe.

Your truly is doing the organising, of course it may not come to fruition yet, but as & when anything is known it will be posted on here

strawberry
-19th May 2006, 09:18
I recommend breeches for a first purchase if people are really determined to keep up the sport, and once they have the breeches it'll be easier to get them to compete. Plus, if they don't get a chance to use the box they can get bored easily.
For students in Wales, the Welsh university championships are worth going to, it's a fun competition and gives novices a chance to have a bash at all three weapons. I don't know whether there are any plans to open it up to universities outside of Wales, but it might be worth finding out.

Rdb811
-19th May 2006, 16:44
Yes - we have someone wandering around in limbo at the moment, stuck between the beginners and teh regulars due to no breeches (and can't buy for a bit due to exams)

strawberry
-19th May 2006, 21:14
We've been doing orders for breeches through the club to make it easier for people. It's always a good idea to encourage people after Christmas, when they're likely to have some money.

strawberry
-23rd May 2006, 12:18
How about cost? We offer a membership fee of 10 if you join in Freshers week, 15 to join later. Keeping it cheap encourages people to sign up initially, we usually gives us a pretty high intake. Encouraging people to compete is difficult because the cost of transport, accommodation, BFA membership and breeches all in one go is a lot to ask, even if we can provide other kit and can usually find someone's house to crash at. Once they start competing they tend to get addicted though. :thumbs_up

pigeonmeister
-23rd May 2006, 12:41
We allow anyone to attend the first couple of sessions for 1 with no immediate obligation to spend the 70 quid they have to pay for whole year. After the second week its pay up or go, so we have to have given them the bug within this short time!

We are being restructured now though. Stil have to pay 70 pounds but before half went to the club and half to the University Athletics Union, any short fall in budget not covered by members fees was made up by the AU. Now the AU are letting us keep 65 of the 70 (with only a fiver going to the AU) However they are going to be a lot less inclined to make up any deficit.

Still it means a much higher premium will be place on getting 'bums on pistes'!

Red
-24th May 2006, 10:41
The way our Sports Association works is that we have a sportscard which provides totally free access to the gyms and gives insurance to take part in any sports club. That costs 50 for the year.
We as the club charge 20 for the year.

Skartha
-24th May 2006, 10:49
We have a 10 'Activity Card', which gives insurance for all clubs and societies' activities amd gives you a nice discount at our gym - good for me since I use the gym and am a member of several societies :) I like Red's place's (Leicester, by your Location?) idea too, though - I guess it's a choice between making a couple of smaller payments (for an Activity Card and for a gym membership) which cost a few quid more overall, or a big one-off payment. Both have their pros and cons I guess :)

Dragonfly
-24th May 2006, 12:53
Sussex Uni has a wierd system, it certainly isn't based on bum's on pistes! It's free for the first week because the club is kind, but nothing special happens. They get taught how to hold a foil, and a few very basic moves. "Here's how to step forward, here's how to step backwards, and here's how to lunge", you get the idea.

Then they pay 40 to the sports union before we let them hold a sword again.

But we don't see much of that 40, because it's divided up between ALL the clubs in a wierd ratio type thing. The basketball club is better than you, so they get more money. The football club is better than you, only because they have more teams and who can remember fencing at breaktime in primary school? - just like they'd let small ones do now...

We get our own back every now and then. "We need 3000 for new kit, all the old stuff is about to become illegal". You should have seen the look on their faces. =)

cian
-24th May 2006, 15:30
We charge people 4 to join. College pays for everythinh else.

Jules
-24th May 2006, 15:50
Notts is similar to Leics - a smidge cheaper at 45 and 17 respectively but then they still charge you 1 every time you want to use the facilities! And the gym isn't included...but I dont care about that ;) Nor does it cover coaching - another 2 per fencing session, go figure...

Red
-24th May 2006, 19:01
Ouch.... Our coaching grant from the SA covers the coaching. The subscriptions cover most of the equipment costs, the rest comes from the SA.

Jules
-24th May 2006, 22:22
The key thing to keeping members must be to socialise them and integrate them into the rest of the club I think. So does anyone have any suggestions how to do this when the beginner's session runs before the intermediates and thus the beginners all go home first....(and then there's not enough time after for even the intermediates to make it to a pub...) Make it another day of the week? Or would it then lose the point/no one would turn up...

Rdb811
-24th May 2006, 22:56
Haven't extended opening hours spread that far - in the past we've carried on drinking at a wine bar or gone round to somebodies house (fortunately I had team meeting on the friday morning to sleep it off).

Another day of the week woulddn't work (except maybe a Saturday night if you had a really good group)
except perhasps as an end of course meal.

Get a couple of the committee to lead the beginners off to the pub and get everyone one else to follow later.

Red
-24th May 2006, 23:13
Get a couple of the committee to lead the beginners off to the pub and get everyone one else to follow later.

That's what we've been doing to great effect. Tho that said, taking the new kids away from hall food on a sunday to eat in a half decent pub might have had something to do with it..... The mere memory of hall food is still enough to turn the stomach....

Rdb811
-24th May 2006, 23:30
Ugh - I've just been reminded of college dinners on Sundays - bullet hard jacket potatoes and slimy cold meat.

Ugh, ugh, ugh - I only went two or three times and it was a long time ago now.

Pointless
-26th May 2006, 09:37
I like the breeches first idea...
Would probably be good for us since Skinny-git-Skartha is one of the only ones who can fit into club breeches!
Things that have seemed to work for us this year have been general chatting to newbies and pub trips, putting on exhbition style matches for the newbies so they don't get bored and disheartened by footwork, trying to organise social stuff (chinese buffet and chronicles of narnia - the ultimate way to bond!)