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Fencing needs a great deal of athleticism and self-control, and requires high levels of individual skill, tactical awareness and mental and physical fitness. Coaches and fencers must put in many hours of hard work to prepare and meet the demands of modern day tournaments.

There is a large gap between top European and top British fencers at the grass roots level in schools and clubs. However, the performance of top-class fencers should act as a mirror to other aspiring champions.

The international fencer’s method of performing his skills has been based on a good solid foundation: although a house may have a firm foundation, what is built above this foundation may vary and can reflect both good and bad workmanship. The coach must therefore lay firm foundations to develop accomplished fencers. A less experienced coach can lay bad habits.

The problem many coaches face is keeping up with developments in the sport. Many coaches are no longer active and rely on what they learnt many years before. There have been many changes in the rules, the number of competitions and the awareness of fitness and nutrition. Coaches are also now realizing that sports psychology is of great importance and so the language of the sport has changed. if coaches are not fully aware of developments, it may eventually be detrimental to youngsters’ progress, resulting in them having to try to unlearn bad habits which, as most people know, is very difficult. The grip is a good example of this. Often the student’s index finger does not grip the foil handle correctly and the thumb is not flat, but pinching the handle. It must be stressed that many fencing skills are difficult to master and the pupil’s progress is only gradual.

This book is all about skills, and these must form the chief part of the sport. Tactical moves break down because of skill failure on the piste and coaches must be able to diagnose these errors, treat the problem and hope there is a cure, the result of which should be a better performance. Some problems may be small, while others may need a complete transplant. Some faults cannot be cured and so other methods to bypass the fault must be put into operation to get the required result. The coach must understand the technique used and its application in great detail and must ensure that practices are realistic and relevant for all levels and are related to fight situations.

We hope that you find the information on this website helpful as you begin your training in the sport of Fencing! If you have any comments, club suggestions or would just like to get in touch. Please use the contact form below, thankyou.

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