Sunday, November 13, 2011

Decision Point....Not the Drills.

1. I have received some really good coaching of late. Bout analysis with my coach or as he watches me with my teammates, rather than just a private lesson. I feel like I may have made a step forward in my fencing. Not a leap to the next level,but progress. That is important to me. I was worried that I might be one of those fencers that hits a level and never gets any better. Of course, I could be wrong and I am just fooling myself. I still have my age old problems with drifting into four, big blade actions and balance. However, I am acutely aware of them and maybe that will help gain ground there. I also listen to and watch my training partners lesson. I always have, when time allows. But I got some good info and advice from last weeks lesson. I hope I can remember and apply some of this.

2. Tournaments and number of participants in North Carolina seem much smaller this season. Of late, I seem to be heading to South Carolina more often. I can fence 40 or 50 people there rather than 12 or 17. (And largely the same 12 to 17 I have fenced for the last few years) South Carolina is not a hot bed of fencing either, but I think sense tournaments are so infrequent, they tend to have a larger draw. I am just guessing here. There is also Virgina, but only a couple of places within a good driving range. I would like to fence in Wilmington, NC next weekend, but am unsure of family plans or needs. I have not fenced there in a while and it might be a good place to test my theory that I am making a bit of progress in my studies.

3. Friday evening I had a dinner meeting with some of the coaches and former coaches of The Greensboro Fencing Club. A former coach had a plan he wanted to share on renting our own building and trying to make a little profit, rather than be the non-profit, all volunteer coaches we have always been. There are some holes in the plan and perhaps to much "up front" money needed. I am still thinking about it. We also talked about looking for another space where we could keep a percentage of the money we bring in. For me, no place like that has come to mind. At our current location , they get all the money, minus a little bit to replace equipment and 100 dollars a month for our college aged coach's gas money. I think we bring them in a revenue of some place between 18,000.00 and 20,000.00 dollars year. Just an estimate. The prices are high there for what the kids are getting.

At this meeting, my training partner and I also dropped the bomb that we are are only committing to the end of the year. It was agreed by all, that if we left the club, it would fold. We manage everything from washing bib liners and the rare occasion when jackets are washed to repairs and dealing with ......well....lets just say we do a lot of stuff and coach as well. We have in essence taken on the duties of our club founder. We are burnt out. Not only that, but we have no idea how long we have left to compete and would like to focus on ourselves for a while. The other coaches have may have a couple of decades left to fence, we may have a couple of years. Who knows?

The down side is hurting the kids. There are those kids who we help so much. Some with disorders or other special needs. Fencing is a place for them to fit in. They compete with each other and oddly enough for fencers....gain some social skills. There are also parents we care about and of course the friendships we have with the other members of the coaching staff.

I am on the fence of what to do. I wish there were more fencing coaches in my area and there was an national effort to train more coaches. Our efforts at present seem to be pathetic.

I have made up my mind that if I leave our little club, I will do so soon. When you have something to do that is hard and unpleasant, you should just get it over with. One way or the other, I don't want to worry about this any more.


cobalt said...

1.) Sometimes you have to take a step back before taking a major step forward. It just took you stepping back and seeing where you've been and where you're going. And for us to discuss what your needs were. Never be afraid to tell me if you've got an issue.

2.) Yeah, part of it is the focus off of epee in our club for the past few years coming. Though I do have to give some credit to the folks in SC pushing down the path a bit lately. Been allowing for some decent midlevel tournaments.

3.) I have a lot of thoughts on. But they're better served for a one on one convo...or a Midtown convo(With faster service this time perhaps?)

Walter Green said...

In reference to the need to train more coaches, the United States Fencing Coaches Association has just approved a new National Training Program designed to develop professional coaches. This program is based on individual one day workshops to a standard curriculum, and clinics have already been pilot tested by Jerry Benson in Oklahoma and myself in Virginia. Halberstadt is hosting a four day super clinic in Califronia in February, Redlands Fencing is doing individual workshops in Oklahoma and will host a fall Superclinic. My salle in Richmond is starting a rotation of the one day workshops in January. So more opportunites for training in the mechanics of being a coach are coming ...