Friday, May 18, 2012

Do I Need That Paper?

I my be having a change of heart in pursuing a Moniteur certification from the United States Fencing Coaches Association.

The New Marx Coaches College  would cost around $1,750.00. Going to the United States Fencing Coaches Association Clinic (also in Colorado) around $1,250.00. To rich for my blood. Do I need a piece of paper to coach? That is the question I now ask myself.  I wrote my regional USFCA person, to ask if there was a less expensive alternative to the clinic. I was basically told to go to the costly clinic. I was given Walter Green's name and told to contact him to see if he was doing a clinic. I had already talked to Walter and I guess his plans for a clinic did not materialize.

Both the big money clinics look great. Both have awesome coaches in attendance. It is to bad that this will only cater to only the affluent. I think the less affluent are the back bone of fencing in this country and the ones that need the most help.

I asked  the USFCA Regional Person about preparing for a practical exam without attending a the costly clinic. Basically, I should attend the costly clinic and there is  great deal of info on the USFCA web site.

That is the most screwed up web site I have ever seen. I had found tons of info but it took forever to  find. Much of what is there cannot be opened or downloaded. Okay... I think the web site is new and has some bugs. Perhaps I am unfair there.

I asked the USFCA Regional Person if I could prepare for practicals by studying with Fencing Master Dr. Ron Miller , head coach for the NCAA  varsity fencing team for the University of North Carolina. I know of at least three people that he has helped prepare for Moniteur certification. I was told, "  While Ron Miller is quite knowledgeable and a longtime friend of mine, he isn't currently a USFCA member and probably isn't up to date with what is currently expected on the exams."

I wonder just how much has changed in the last few years? He may not be up to date on what is expected on exams.But that just sounds a bit elitist to me. You see that kind of attitude in several places in the USFCA. There are a lot of elite coaches in the USFCA. There are also some that just aren't that great. 

Tomorrow, Coach Miller will give a Coaches Clinic at the Greensboro Fencers Club. (My little club.) I organized the event. He is doing it mostly to help high school coaches in the state. It is free.


cobalt said...

This would be the time in which I say this in regards to USFCA: it used to be worse. And yeah, as bad as it looks, it's getting better. (But still... )

(This all being said...I just reapplied and got my info pretty quick. With correct certification level at that. AND a bonus year. Yey for me.)

Meredith said...

It's a big problem for the growth of fencing. Ideally you would have traveling clinics for each state or section, at least, which would qualify area trainers. Then the area trainers could train up local coaches in standard "best practices." I think the small size of fencing compared to other sports has a lot to do with that. But it should be a main goal of the USFA rather than just high-level performance.

It's my opinion if you have a desire to coach then you should do so, certified or not. There are great books to help with the basics; "Foil, Saber, and Epee Fencing" (Garret, Kaidanov, Pezza) is a great one that can has good pictures. If you can teach these basics you can help beginners immensely (of course you will have to be aware of rule updates since this was published- but it is a great primer on form). If they continue with the sport you can recommend them to a good coach to take them further.

My 2 cents.

cobalt said...

Well...there are area trainers. But the big problem IMO is that the quality level is so up and down. And then you have the politics and "my kung fu is superior to yours" attitude sometimes.

Fortunately, a lot of that is beginning to be cleaned up. There's just a lot of crap to clean up.

Honestly, don't worry about the paper so much. The certifications remind me of the MS programming certs. They look pretty, but otherwise useless. But worry about the training and getting better. Lot of good clinics, good coaches, and good books out there.

Honestly, out of hundreds maybe thousands of students...I can't think of one time I was asked about my certification level by a new student. To some degree, that has to change and is changing. But the testing has to be fair and balanced. The ego has to be taken out. And in an ego driven sport such as fencing, that's hard to find.

Meredith said...

Guess I'm out of the loop with the area trainers- but I guess politics and ego will always be a problem.