Young kids fencing!

Many coaches I know will not start teaching fencing to kids under the age of ten years. They have good reasons, as serious training is often beyond capabilities of many younger kids. The equipment can be heavy as well, leading to poor habits needing correction in future training.

With all that in mind, I now teach kids as young as seven to fence. I do so with the following considerations.

First thing is I have changed my goals. I work on skills such as impulse control, following multi step directions, good sportsmanship and safety. In effect, I teach them how to work with a coach.
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Second thing I change is equipment. I use the plastic epee and foils, masks and body protection shown in the above photo. This works in two ways, the equipment is much lighter so kids can maneuver and use better form with less chance of being hit to hard, no more tears! It also make a clear distinction and acts as motivation when they “grow up” into “real equipment” and also makes the whole sport more acceptable to reluctant school systems and mothers!

The programs with younger kids have proven to be popular. Only time will tell if such early exposure promotes more kids to take up fencing (and parents to consider it a viable option) and if the skills learned transfer as the student matures

I can say teaching young kids is a fun change from my normal coaching routine, it’s a blast! I strive to transfer the playfulness to my other students so everyone benefits

coach Geoff,
signing off