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Thread: What Qualities Does A Good Coach Have.

  1. #21
    Senior Member ED_R has a reputation beyond reputeED_R has a reputation beyond reputeED_R has a reputation beyond reputeED_R has a reputation beyond reputeED_R has a reputation beyond reputeED_R has a reputation beyond reputeED_R has a reputation beyond reputeED_R has a reputation beyond reputeED_R has a reputation beyond reputeED_R has a reputation beyond reputeED_R has a reputation beyond repute
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    Some ipad apps record fights. The best even allow the coach to narrate over the top, so that a fencer can watch afterwards and learn. This is a good alternative if money or other jobs (coaches do weekend fencing lessons after all) get in the way. I acknowledge that iPads cost money too.

    I guess there are ways round being there. I am not unsympathetic or worse critical of absent coaches.

    However...

    Olympic fencers do not worry about lack of self-reliance. They get coaches by their piste because it helps them fence better. Feedback is immediate etc.

    For younger fencers there is the opportunity to discuss tactics, and opponents strengths and weaknesses which is lost learning if the coach isn't there. The opportunities for learning are enormous. This doesn't necessarily entail spoon feeding, I think.

    A coach who feels their fencer is becoming reliant can always withdraw, or limit their effect.

    I have to confess that given this, i still believe that the effect of having a coach at a competition is wholly beneficial to the fencer, if not to the parents pocket, and outweighs the danger of over reliance.

    I therefore beg to keep the willingness to attend on my list...
    Edward Peck

  2. #22
    Chris Howser cesh_fencing has a reputation beyond reputecesh_fencing has a reputation beyond reputecesh_fencing has a reputation beyond reputecesh_fencing has a reputation beyond reputecesh_fencing has a reputation beyond reputecesh_fencing has a reputation beyond reputecesh_fencing has a reputation beyond reputecesh_fencing has a reputation beyond reputecesh_fencing has a reputation beyond reputecesh_fencing has a reputation beyond reputecesh_fencing has a reputation beyond repute cesh_fencing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ED_R View Post
    Olympic fencers do not worry about lack of self-reliance. They get coaches by their piste because it helps them fence better. Feedback is immediate etc..
    However having the right coach is key. Even at the Olympics at one point GBR had a coach from a different weapon at the end of the piste for one of our fencers. Probably not the best option.

    I do agree that it is ideal for coaches to be able to go to lots of their fencer's events and then choose when their input would be most beneficial.. However when you produce lots of fencers, then it is impossible to ensure you are at the end of the piste at critical times when you have many fencers in the same venue fencing at the same time.

    This is were it is important that fencers can perform to their highest level without a coach..

    I actually remember being at World Cup Team events and a certain current coach was always along trying to advise the team, and the team did not want him as he was useless at World Cup level of fencing.

    As such a Good Coach needs to know when they are out of their depth and stand back from a situation as to not annoy a team..
    Oundle, Peterborough & Stamford Fencing

  3. #23
    Initiate HB Pencil will become famous soon enoughHB Pencil will become famous soon enough HB Pencil's Avatar
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    I have to go with Phil, a good coach knows that it isn't about them but about the fencer they help. Even more importantly a coach has to know their own level and not let pride take over as that could ruin a promising fencer by not allowing them better coaching.

    So a good coach knows when to let go.

    Oh and my favorite.......a good coach knows that the number of pieces of paper you have, telling you, you are a coach (no matter what level' it is) doesn't make you a good coach.......
    Last edited by HB Pencil; -21st February 2013 at 14:22.
    "Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards"

  4. #24
    Senior Member Hungry Hippo has much to be proud ofHungry Hippo has much to be proud ofHungry Hippo has much to be proud ofHungry Hippo has much to be proud ofHungry Hippo has much to be proud ofHungry Hippo has much to be proud ofHungry Hippo has much to be proud ofHungry Hippo has much to be proud ofHungry Hippo has much to be proud of Hungry Hippo's Avatar
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    The quality most needed in a good coach is time - lots of time!

    However, I guess in an exponential sort of way, the better a coach is, the less time he will have.

  5. #25
    Senior Member d_f_a is a splendid one to beholdd_f_a is a splendid one to beholdd_f_a is a splendid one to beholdd_f_a is a splendid one to beholdd_f_a is a splendid one to beholdd_f_a is a splendid one to beholdd_f_a is a splendid one to beholdd_f_a is a splendid one to behold
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    Interesting thread development as a parents view (Ed_r) differs from coaches views on this topic.
    I don't think anyone has said anything incorrect, just from a different point of view.
    Lessons to be learnt all round?

  6. #26
    Senior Member ED_R has a reputation beyond reputeED_R has a reputation beyond reputeED_R has a reputation beyond reputeED_R has a reputation beyond reputeED_R has a reputation beyond reputeED_R has a reputation beyond reputeED_R has a reputation beyond reputeED_R has a reputation beyond reputeED_R has a reputation beyond reputeED_R has a reputation beyond reputeED_R has a reputation beyond repute
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    Quote Originally Posted by d_f_a View Post
    Interesting thread development as a parents view (Ed_r) differs from coaches views on this topic.
    I don't think anyone has said anything incorrect, just from a different point of view.
    Lessons to be learnt all round?
    I don't think you can conclude that just yet.
    Edward Peck

  7. #27
    Senior Member d_f_a is a splendid one to beholdd_f_a is a splendid one to beholdd_f_a is a splendid one to beholdd_f_a is a splendid one to beholdd_f_a is a splendid one to beholdd_f_a is a splendid one to beholdd_f_a is a splendid one to beholdd_f_a is a splendid one to behold
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    Quote Originally Posted by ED_R View Post
    I don't think you can conclude that just yet.
    I can because this is old ground.

    Parents want their kids watched at comps to help them achieve at the particular event and to learn for the future.
    A coaches comment during a 1 min break can change the outcome of the match.

    But fencers must not rely on their coach being there to give the right advice.
    Coaches can't be everywhere at once.

    Both are correct.

    Hopefully scenario fencing helps fencers make the right decision at competitions.

  8. #28
    Senior Member ED_R has a reputation beyond reputeED_R has a reputation beyond reputeED_R has a reputation beyond reputeED_R has a reputation beyond reputeED_R has a reputation beyond reputeED_R has a reputation beyond reputeED_R has a reputation beyond reputeED_R has a reputation beyond reputeED_R has a reputation beyond reputeED_R has a reputation beyond reputeED_R has a reputation beyond repute
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    Quote Originally Posted by d_f_a View Post
    I can because this is old ground.

    Parents want their kids watched at comps to help them achieve at the particular event and to learn for the future.
    A coaches comment during a 1 min break can change the outcome of the match.

    But fencers must not rely on their coach being there to give the right advice.
    Coaches can't be everywhere at once.

    Both are correct.

    Hopefully scenario fencing helps fencers make the right decision at competitions.
    If that is all you are referring to then I can agree. I thought it was all the points on my list.

    I only added that one because I knew cesh had strong feelings on it, and thought the debate would be interesting.

    It was point nine out of ten in order of importance.
    Edward Peck

  9. #29
    Chris Howser cesh_fencing has a reputation beyond reputecesh_fencing has a reputation beyond reputecesh_fencing has a reputation beyond reputecesh_fencing has a reputation beyond reputecesh_fencing has a reputation beyond reputecesh_fencing has a reputation beyond reputecesh_fencing has a reputation beyond reputecesh_fencing has a reputation beyond reputecesh_fencing has a reputation beyond reputecesh_fencing has a reputation beyond reputecesh_fencing has a reputation beyond repute cesh_fencing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hungry Hippo View Post
    , the better a coach is, the less time he will have.
    And the better the coach is the less time it will take to communicate information/improve technique so they need less time with each fencer to reach the same standard.

    Another quality a coach needs to have is to be able to convince the fencers they work with to help each other to improve, even though fencers at the same club are also direct competitors. Not always easy to do.
    Oundle, Peterborough & Stamford Fencing

  10. #30
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    Some interesting points all round. I'm not a coach and have not had much coaching since school/uni, but looking back on those days, the things I am most conscious of are:
    1) A coach should understand that sports psychology is as important as technique or fitness
    2) There is very hard balance to be found in fencing between "making it fun" and "teaching it properly". My coach at school took us through some pretty complex bladework at a very early age, but didn't focus heavily on the basics of good footwork, en-guarde position etc. He taught us to fight and to win at age-group level, but moving up to seniors I found that I would have had to go right back to basics and undo a large number of bad habits if I was to make progress. Others who were less successful at age-group level moved past me. (I changed weapons and made a fresh start, and have never looked back). Had he focused more on the basics, I dare say I might have enjoyed it less and had worse results in those early years, and might have decided to give up. That's the challenge, particularly in UK where kids have so many options, and perhaps is why the eastern block were so successful in the cold war years - I seem to recall stories of kids doing a year or two of footwork before they were allowed to even hold a sword - in a totalitarian regime they just did what they were told and weren't allowed to give up or change sports.

    As others have alluded to, a "good coach" logically will be one that produces fencers who get good results, but one could equally say that a good coach is one who has happy pupils who keep coming back, even if they never get beyond "social fencer" status. Likewise, a good coach for young children may need different qualities from a good adult coach, in the same way that we can all remember wonderful primary school teachers who would have been hopeless in a secondary school.

  11. #31
    Senior Member coach carson has a reputation beyond reputecoach carson has a reputation beyond reputecoach carson has a reputation beyond reputecoach carson has a reputation beyond reputecoach carson has a reputation beyond reputecoach carson has a reputation beyond reputecoach carson has a reputation beyond reputecoach carson has a reputation beyond reputecoach carson has a reputation beyond reputecoach carson has a reputation beyond reputecoach carson has a reputation beyond repute
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    I'd make one distinction from the comments above. Teachers are technically proficient in everything mentioned above, but coaches develop what has been taught in a way that enable fencers to compete and in turn to win. Teaching is generic, can be demonstrated and practiced more or less in the same way to everyone, but coaching is individual, specific, needs based and as Jim and others have alluded to, is as much psychological and social as it is physical.

    On the subject of the coach being present, that is a difficult balance. On the one hand, you do want to support fencers as much as possible, but you also want them to be self-sufficient. It's also not possible to be with 10 fencers at one event all the time, so you don't want to build an expectation that the coach will always be there. At the same time, you want them to learn how to use the coach during the bout and have a sufficiently strong understanding with them that simple words, phrases or signals will help re-calibrate and re-focus them. I'm with Cesh on this one. A teacher would tell the fencer what stroke to use - a serious mistake in my opinion - whilst a a coach would get them into the right place mentally and physically to give them a better chance of the win.

  12. #32
    Kian Ryan purple has a reputation beyond reputepurple has a reputation beyond reputepurple has a reputation beyond reputepurple has a reputation beyond reputepurple has a reputation beyond reputepurple has a reputation beyond reputepurple has a reputation beyond reputepurple has a reputation beyond reputepurple has a reputation beyond reputepurple has a reputation beyond reputepurple has a reputation beyond repute purple's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ED_R View Post
    Oh and how about:

    A good coach sticks to the knitting - focussing his attention on developing the fencer as a fencer, and doesn't get distracted by the opportunity to step outside his/her area of expertise to teach other stuff.
    A good coach educates himself. Some will spend more time on technical skills, some will spend more time on tactical work, others will build on their S&C knowledge, and others will build on their sports psychology.

    A coach can be a good "all rounder" and a good "specialist". A "specialist" is not always a specialist in the correct way to execute the hit.

  13. #33
    Kian Ryan purple has a reputation beyond reputepurple has a reputation beyond reputepurple has a reputation beyond reputepurple has a reputation beyond reputepurple has a reputation beyond reputepurple has a reputation beyond reputepurple has a reputation beyond reputepurple has a reputation beyond reputepurple has a reputation beyond reputepurple has a reputation beyond reputepurple has a reputation beyond repute purple's Avatar
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    What makes a good coach absolutely depends on the audience the coach is working in.

    Most descriptions I see here are describing a good "club coach", an all rounder who is capable of progressing fencers as a group, and as individuals. And I would expect that most good club coaches would hold most (if not all) of the properties outlined above.

    But what about high-performance coaches? They're often different beasts all together, ranging from approachable, lovely, human beings to absolute bastards with an ego the size of a medium sized country (Emil Beck anyone?). It's hard to argue that some despicable human beings make excellent coaches, and have a fierce drive that pushes their fencers harder and better than anyone else is capable of. Does this make them bad coaches, or just bad coaches for the general club environment?

    I've seen multiple criticisms that a coach should have no "ego", and dedicate themselves entirely to their fencers. This only works from the perspective of the fencer. A coach's reputation is determined by his perception within the wider community - whether that is through the results of his best fencers, or as a well-loved coach of engaging junior sessions. The coaches ego provides the drive to better himself, and better his fencers, however best suits them. The ego is very, very important, and dismissing it is very, very, stupid.

    A coach with no ego, no love of self, will do his fencers no good.

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