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Thread: End of the U10 Nationals

  1. #21
    Chris Howser cesh_fencing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danKew View Post
    Maybe these were factors;

    The Fun Integration Theory: Towards Sustaining Children and Adolescents Sport Participation
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4201634/

    The secret behind Norway's Winter Olympic success
    https://edition.cnn.com/2018/02/24/s...ntl/index.html

    "In Norway, children are encouraged to join local sport clubs to help with their social development but there's strict rules which prevents anyone from keeping score -- no one can be ranked first to last until they turn 13."

    How to Avoid Burnout in Youth Sports
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/07/w...th-sports.html
    Just as devils advocate, if you look around the internet there are also articles saying there are benefits of competitive sport for youngsters. Search under 'healthy competition is good for children' or similar you will also find articles with a differing opinion.

    It all depends on what is the current 'fashion'.

    Much the same as a few year's back in schools when sports days went through the 'nobody can win or lose' stage. Which seems to have gone back out of fashion at most schools I know with normal races even for 5 year olds.
    Oundle, Peterborough & Stamford Fencing

  2. #22
    Moderator Gav's Avatar
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    No one is saying "No competition for u10s".

    Just because one tournament goes it does not follow that we're into no competition amongst kids. The sky isn't falling.
    "Evil does not wear a bonnet!"
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  3. #23
    Senior Member danKew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cesh_fencing View Post
    Just as devils advocate, if you look around the internet there are also articles saying there are benefits of competitive sport for youngsters.
    I'm very much 50/50 on this. Having had a son compete in two BYC U10 comps who's gone on to learn so much through fencing I can appreciate the positive benefits he's gained from competing early. I've also seen the flipside first hand and it's not pretty. I think the problems with sport through late childhood are not unique to the one competition, and will just manifest themselves throughout all other competitions whether school based, club based or regional. So much depends on the individual and the support given by their parents.

    I watched this video today - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLeuEpR0-ak - and it seems somewhat relevant. As parents, despite being well-meaning, we are often guilty of saying the wrong things at key times which in turn can have a knock-on negative effect. I hope the proposed improvement in participation experience for fencers also extends to parents and how we can support and encourage our offspring.

    I'm looking forward to seeing how this develops and is implemented.

    Just some thoughts.

  4. #24
    Senior Member ChrisHeaps's Avatar
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    I agree with the BF statement that it's fun that matters at that age. An under 10 championship and fun are not mutually exclusive but for some kids who didn't choose their parents wisely an element of unhelpful seriousness may well creep in. I have witnessed a youngster getting a berating from Dad for "being driven all this way and then getting beaten". Poor kid, I wonder what was occupying his mind in the next pressure bout he had.

    When my eldest started age seven there were no medals in the open competitions, just a certificate for all who took part. Hmmm, or maybe that was just because the Portuguese Fencing Federation was skint.

    Actually BF probably need to cut costs so I think it's fair enough, national championships generally don't cover their own costs do they?

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    This competition was a useful stepping stage for my son - there aren't many Under 10 events around and it being a smaller competition gave a softer introduction than being straight in to competition at Sheffield or Hatfield, where the venues themselves are quite intimidating.

    However, I would say the year we went the most fun was had in the team event that followed the U10 championship... that gave the group who travelled together a chance to compete as a team and gave a lot of piste time to the kids. More team events for younger ages would be good.

    Will more fencers stay in the sport if they don't get asked to compete? I agree as a parent it's important to support the child, but facing loss as well as learning how to win well is needed for general life.

  6. #26
    Chris Howser cesh_fencing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisHeaps View Post
    Actually BF probably need to cut costs so I think it's fair enough, national championships generally don't cover their own costs do they?
    These under 10 British Championships were run under licence, so the only cost to British Fencing was the cost of medals that they kindly supplied.

    The Under 10 Epee broke even every year it ran and that was with paying a flat rate expenses to all the referees etc. Had all the usual Elite Epee quality, with electric pistes, remote boxes with scores, barriered off fencing areas etc.

    Do not think money was an issue here, just the thought that fencers were not getting the right type of experience .
    Oundle, Peterborough & Stamford Fencing

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    Senior Member danKew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stattotim View Post
    However, I would say the year we went the most fun was had in the team event that followed the U10 championship
    I agree that we need more team comps and they are brilliant for the younger kids.

  8. #28
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    If the U10 nationals had been part of a very high profile event like the main BYC or EYC, I would have seen much merit in BFs position.

    But they weren't - at least the foil U10s that I attended over the years we very low key, friendly events - a perfect balance between kids having fun and "proper" competition. I can only recall one or two occasions where I thought that a child might have been better if their parent had stayed away.

    I wonder how many of those making the decision had attended an U10 nationals event?

  9. #29
    Senior Member ChrisL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baldric View Post

    I wonder how many of those making the decision had attended an U10 nationals event?
    A lot of things in BF require months to years of consideration and delay, debate and 'putting before the board'.

    Its surprising how quickly this happened, either noone was aware of the discussion or the decision was made quickly.

    Not commenting on whether the ending of U10 is good or bad. Just how bf operates. Either there should be clarity with all decisions or there should be none of the paralysis in operation seen elsewhere.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisL View Post
    A lot of things in BF require months to years of consideration and delay, debate and 'putting before the board'.

    Its surprising how quickly this happened, either noone was aware of the discussion or the decision was made quickly.
    It was discussed several times over the years Chris, even back in my time. There never seemed to be quite enough energy or determination from those who felt it was the right decision, or perhaps in the past there was just a more spirited defence from those who wished to maintain the event.

    Perhaps the time has come - and in fairness, its a few years since I last attended a U10 nationals, and the nature of the event might have changed.

  11. #31
    Member Adam Blight's Avatar
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    Default Loss of Under 10s

    I think the loss of these events is very sad. Perhaps there should have been a wider consultation and discussion in addition to a presentation of the evidential basis for this decision. I would agree that many coaches and parents take it far, far too seriously but then that is the problem that should be addressed. I have had fencers take part in (and win) these events over the years, they have all enjoyed their experience and we have always approached it as having a fun day of fencing regardless of the result. I think there needs to be a presentation of a broader strategy and clarified thinking of how under 10s fencing is to be approached.

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    When I kicked off this thread I suggested that instead of disbanding the events, an alternative might have been to adjust the format if that was a problem.

    I have attended several of the U10 Epee events and as Ray indicated these events have been run by teams who know how to introduce young fencers to a positive competition experience. The Epee events always started later in the day to avoid overnight stays for most folk, unless thatís what individuals wanted.

    When you look at the profiles of many of our top performing junior fencers they started fencing at or around the age of ten. Not everyone fencing at ten will continue, but with discussions on other threads about trying out international events like Poland or Paris where they have U11 upwards, that surely shouldnít be the first experience folk have of competing.

    Chris also spoke of the friendships these younger fencers are making which will keep them interested in the sport. And I can guarantee these younger folk are not exclusively fencing.

  13. #33
    Member Adam Blight's Avatar
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    It would be very simple to look at past under 10 results and see what % continue in competitive fencing. Has this been done? I have done this on an ad hoc basis and observed that U12 results tend to show who will be future Cadet squads. Many under 10s are actually very capable fencers, eager for real challenge, with a good understanding of the sport, and in fact ahead of their age, in terms of their sporting development. Do we want to deny these fencers that challenge? Many of these children excel at lots of other sports and are in the process of making choices. Quite a few fencers I have coached have progressed through the sport from the age of 7, 8 or 9, had a competitive career and have an enduring passion for the sport, quite a few are now coaching, some professionally. These events have been a very useful step on that path. I think I have the balance right, I don't push younger fencers hard, I make it fun because at cadet and junior level it gets tough and the passion for the sport becomes essential.

    It is definitely the case that some coaches and parents are far too intense about under 10 events. This is certainly an area that needs focusing on. published BF guidelines on these topics are too general and not really adequate. If we are going to reevaluate the place of younger fencers in our sport, then these are also things that need looking at.

  14. #34
    Senior Member danKew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Blight View Post
    It would be very simple to look at past under 10 results and see what % continue in competitive fencing.
    Boys Epee

    2013 - 20 entries, 10 still fencing in 2018
    2014 - 18 entries, 11 still fencing in 2018
    2015 - 28 entries, 16 still fencing in 2018

    Girls Epee

    2013 - 12 entries, 4 still fencing in 2018
    2014 - 13 entries, 8 still fencing in 2018
    2015 - 14 entries, 8 still fencing in 2018

    * still fencing = entered a competition that I have on my web site

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    I believe it depends on what you want to achieve.

    Any sports participation for children will be fundamentally decided by what theyíre exposed to, often influenced by their parentsí activities. Would Andy Murray have even been a Tennis player had his mother not introduced him to the sport at a young age? (Started at 3, first competition at 5, and competing against adults at 8) And yes, I do know this is an extreme example.

    My 2 daughters participated in sports (not fencing) and I encouraged them. Neither took sports to a high level competitively, which is absolutely fine by me. Children being pushed too hard at an early age is a parental issue (and a coaches one), not the organizers of competitions or the children themselves.

    I have no problem with having ďNational ChampionshipsĒ for U10, PROVIDED it is dealt with on the basis of being just another competition to;
    1. Have fun.
    2. Fence hard and experience competitive behavior.

    Will U10 fencers drop out? Absolutely. This is called natural selection. Hell, if you can tell what an U10 child wants to do from one week to the next youíre a fortune teller and should do some serious investing on the Stock Market. By providing the competitions you are giving the children an avenue to explore.

    Some children will stop because they donít enjoy competition. (Thatís fine) Some because their friend decided riding ponies was cute. (Fine) And some because they got out of bed in the morning. (And thatís just fine too.)

    Enjoying competing is OK. Wanting to try hard is OK. Being encouraged in both of these is OK. What isnít OK is a young child in tears at the end of fencing because they havenít achieved what they believe their parent or coach wanted.

    It isnít having the competition available thatís the issue.
    JohnL

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    Quote Originally Posted by danKew View Post
    Boys Epee

    2013 - 20 entries, 10 still fencing in 2018
    2014 - 18 entries, 11 still fencing in 2018
    2015 - 28 entries, 16 still fencing in 2018

    Girls Epee

    2013 - 12 entries, 4 still fencing in 2018
    2014 - 13 entries, 8 still fencing in 2018
    2015 - 14 entries, 8 still fencing in 2018

    * still fencing = entered a competition that I have on my web site
    I like to do comparisons between the GB/US (being an interested party in both). Hey, it's a slow day at work!!

    Just looking at Boy's foil in the US at U10 level

    Of the Top 16 finishers in the U/10 Boy's foil for 2017, only 1 did not return to the Nationals this year.

    It's also interesting to note that I could only see one of these fencers competing in the U/12 division, but all the others elected to fence in the U/14 event.

    (apologies, but I have neither the time nor patience to check all the other weapons etc.)

    It does appear however to reflect a much higher retention rate than the GB numbers above. Also, given that these guys are entering a division above where they should be, perhaps indicates a foresight and ambition for the future.
    JohnL

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    Chris Howser cesh_fencing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnL View Post
    I like to do comparisons between the GB/US (being an interested party in both). Hey, it's a slow day at work!!

    Just looking at Boy's foil in the US at U10 level

    Of the Top 16 finishers in the U/10 Boy's foil for 2017, only 1 did not return to the Nationals this year.

    It's also interesting to note that I could only see one of these fencers competing in the U/12 division, but all the others elected to fence in the U/14 event.

    (apologies, but I have neither the time nor patience to check all the other weapons etc.)

    It does appear however to reflect a much higher retention rate than the GB numbers above. Also, given that these guys are entering a division above where they should be, perhaps indicates a foresight and ambition for the future.
    If you are only looking at the top 16, then you are not looking at the same set of data. If you look at all the US fencers in Under 10s compared to the following year then it is slightly more similar. However do you have to qualify from other events to do the US Under 10s, if so the data is again not the same as for GB U10s there is direct entry?

    The GB Epee event was run as a beginner competition as well as a GB championships, and lots of the kids will have had this as their first competition experience, especially those local to the event who I encourage to have a go as it is in their home town.
    Oundle, Peterborough & Stamford Fencing

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    Quote Originally Posted by cesh_fencing View Post
    If you are only looking at the top 16, then you are not looking at the same set of data. If you look at all the US fencers in Under 10s compared to the following year then it is slightly more similar. However do you have to qualify from other events to do the US Under 10s, if so the data is again not the same as for GB U10s there is direct entry?

    The GB Epee event was run as a beginner competition as well as a GB championships, and lots of the kids will have had this as their first competition experience, especially those local to the event who I encourage to have a go as it is in their home town.
    I agree it would be more realistic to look at all the fencers, however unlike in the GB U10's you had about 20 entries, in the US boy's U10's Foil this year there were 152 participants!!

    I simply don't have the time.

    JohnL

  19. #39
    Chris Howser cesh_fencing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnL View Post
    I agree it would be more realistic to look at all the fencers, however unlike in the GB U10's you had about 20 entries, in the US boy's U10's Foil this year there were 152 participants!!

    I simply don't have the time.

    I suspect if you look at the top 20% of the GBR Under 10s there is near 100% continuance of fencing (though some were foilists having a go at Epee, so may not show on Epee.me).

    If you look at the bottom dozen fencers of the US Under 10s I suspect there would be a similar drop out to UK numbers.

    This is just that all sports have massive churn as some kids do fencing for a bit and then want to try something else. Expecting or hoping to have near 100% retention of fencers over a year is just unrealistic.

    Obviously we need to try to offer a 'product' that will keep more kids interested in the sport, but exactly what this is will be interesting to identify.
    Oundle, Peterborough & Stamford Fencing

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