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Thread: your thought on tournaments abroad

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    your thought on tournaments abroad

    My son is 13 years old and is fencing for 3 years now.
    His coach is pressing for him (and us) to take part in tournements abroad.
    He is allready taking part in 10-15 tournements a year. He is doing pretty well in his age category (up to 15 years) and got a few times a medal (1-th once, 3-rd place 2-3 times) and sometimes not. He also participates in higher ages tournaments and has still a long way to go there.
    The coach claims that the competition abroad will make a big difference. I am worried that it is premature since he has a lot of work to go still inside the country and the expenses for such trips are large. In addition, I don't see how another competition can change that much his performance. The coach also presses for this other people which are younger and with less successes.
    I would like to hear your thoughts as perants with experiance in the field regarding the impact and what is the right time to dive into that pool.
    Another item is that this we are in a small country that has about 70 competitors in each competition (if this is relevant).

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    Senior Member Phincer's Avatar
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    It depends on who your coach is. If he's trained some really good fencers and knows what he's doing, and he says your child is ready, maybe he IS ready! He may want to expose your fencer to more fencing styles than he is used to in your country.

    What do the other fencing parents say?

    Why not strike a compromise? Not every tournament abroad, but every other one?

    FIE=Fencing Is Expensive. Welcome to our world.

    MO will be the best person to address this...she is the Jet Set Queen!!!!!
    Last edited by Phincer; 05-31-2007 at 10:17 AM. Reason: crappy post

  3. #3
    Mo
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    Personally I don' think kids should start traveling until they can place in the top 8 in Cadet and Junior. Until then they are fencing kids who are older with a lot more experience and will just feel defeated.
    If you have any money to spend for them to travel send them to a camp somewhere. Most camps provide a lot of fencing for the money. THey will be able to fence all the age groups, get to know a lot of other kids and have a good time all while in their comfort zone.
    There is plenty of time for traveling, don't rush it.
    Momster
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    a true friend will help you hide the body...
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    Senior Member oso97's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mo View Post
    Personally I don' think kids should start traveling until they can place in the top 8 in Cadet and Junior. Until then they are fencing kids who are older with a lot more experience and will just feel defeated.
    If you have any money to spend for them to travel send them to a camp somewhere. Most camps provide a lot of fencing for the money. THey will be able to fence all the age groups, get to know a lot of other kids and have a good time all while in their comfort zone.
    There is plenty of time for traveling, don't rush it.
    Momster
    I would agree that a high placing in a Cadet and/or Junior event would be the best determining factor, as one wants to move up to the next level of competition with some hope of success. The only caveat I might suggest is that perhaps top 16? Maybe a couple of placings in the top 16? The reason I'm throwing this option out there is the high level of "churn," so to speak, in the placings of cadet and junior events. A single result, might perhaps be indicative of a one time good performance (and I'm not discounting the significance that one good performance!) but the ability to put together a couple of solid performances would indicate the kind of stability, mental preparedness, and constancy that would indicated readiness for competition on the next level.

    You don't want to hold off too long either, if its something everyone involved is serious about and willing to commit to.

    But, ultimately, you're the parent. If you're feeling like something is wrong, or out of place, and you can't really put a finger on it, then you need to examine why. Is this a concern grounded in nervousness, or is it a concern grounded in something else? If its only nervousness, then that is part of any "moving on" transition and you both need to work on ways to overcome that. But, if its not just nervousness, even if you don't know exactly what ... step back, take a deep breath, and figure out something else. Tell the coach that you're not ready for international travel yet, and ask if there is something else that would help the young fellow in question. Mo mentioned camps, which are an excellent way to promote development. Many coaches though are hesitant (to say the LEAST) about "letting" their students go to anyone else. Sit down with your coach, explain to him your goals, let him explain his, and have him help you select a couple of possible camps to attend. If he's a good coach, he will work with you. If he's saying "no, international competitions are the ONLY way he is going to improve," then you need to question why he is saying that.
    That's it, I'm done with the discussion forums on F.net. It's had its uses, but the ideologues, ranters, and "experts" have drowned too many of the conversations. I'm changing my password to something random and never logging in again.

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    I would agree with the above posts that my personal standard for starting international fencing would be top 8/consistent top 16 success at the Cadet/Junior level at NAC's. (That's also the level at which you will start getting letter from the USFA inviting you to participate.)

    In evaluating your coach's recommendation, I think that you need to keep in mind that while both you and the coach have a common interest in your child's fencing development, often the goals are not completely parallel. Coaches have personal and business goals that may not correspond to your financial realities. There are many good coaches around, so I don't want to slander the profession, but I have also watched coaches pressure parents to send kids to competitions that they didn't really belong at for reasons other than the fencer's development. Even with a good coach, you are the one that needs to evaluate the value of the experience vs. what is in your bank account. I have a nasty habit of evaluating events on a $/quality touch basis.

    [Edit] I just reread your post about being from a small country. Often on f.net we assume that everybody is from the U.S. which clearly isn't true. The basis principles are the same as I wrote above: *you* need to evaluate how much you trust the coach, how much you can afford, and whether with the money you have to spend on fencing, what the best investment of the money will be. Your son *will* improve by fencing better fencers, but often you can get better fencers cheaper than the coach wants.[/Edit]
    Last edited by dcmdale; 05-31-2007 at 02:49 PM. Reason: Read the msg
    What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? I Cor 5:12

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    thanks- additional answers and questions

    Thanks for all your comments it is a great help.
    I understand that this is my call. However, I would also appreciate if you could tell me from your personal experience what effect did you notice (jumped from 8-th place to 2nd place, ....). I have also noticed in his club that all fencers stopped fencing around the age that they start dating and high-school pressure is higher. If you have any tips how can I detect if this is a hobby (which is likely to stop at the same point) or more than that (this also influences the decision).
    Regarding your questions why am I feeling something is wrong; I have some trust issues with his coach. This is a fairly new branch with no real proven record (the coach has a lot of years but no known names in his record). The coach lied to me in the past (he told me everyone except me agreed to go abroad to competition - which they didnít) and I think he has also a different agenda (promoting his branch). This is coupled with the fact that he also pressed even younger and less talented (or mature) fencers to do this. Nevertheless this is the only club in reasonable distance and the coach is really investing his time into it. I do think he still can do a lot before that (for example preparing my son to handle some things he keeps fails to handle in competitions, video analysis, etc) but it seems pertinent to give the coach advises on coaching.

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    Quote Originally Posted by amia View Post
    My son is 13 years old and is fencing for 3 years now.
    His coach is pressing for him (and us) to take part in tournements abroad.

    SAME WITH MY TWO FENCER, THEY TOOK PART IN THE WORLD JUNIOR AND CADET CHAMPIONSHIP 2007 AND THE GIRL IS GOING TO TAKE PART IN THE ASIAN JUNIOR AND CADET CHAMPIONSHIP LATER ON THE MONTH. THEY ARE BOTH 14 AND BEEN FENCING FOR 4 YEARS.

    He is allready taking part in 10-15 tournements a year. He is doing pretty well in his age category (up to 15 years) and got a few times a medal (1-th once, 3-rd place 2-3 times) and sometimes not. He also participates in higher ages tournaments and has still a long way to go there.

    MAYBE YOUR SON SHOULD TRY ONE AGE GROUP FUTHER AND SEE HOW HE PROFORM, BECAUSE MOST COMPETITION ABROAD ARE CADET (17 AND UNDER) OR JUNIOR (20 AND UNDER).

    The coach claims that the competition abroad will make a big difference. I am worried that it is premature since he has a lot of work to go still inside the country and the expenses for such trips are large. In addition, I don't see how another competition can change that much his performance. The coach also presses for this other people which are younger and with less successes.

    YOUR COACH IS PARTLY RIGHT, IF YOUR SON IS ONLY FENCING WITH A SMALL GROUP (i.e. LESS THAN 70-80 PARTICIPANT OF THE SAME AGE GROUP PER COMPETITION) THAN HE WILL BENEFIT FROM FENCING WITH PEOPLE FROM OTHER COUNTRY WITH DIFFERENT STYLE. MY SON DID, AFTER COMING BACK FROM WJCC, HE IS NOW WORKING HARDER AND ABLE TO APPRICIATE THE COACH LOT MORE THAN BEFORE.

    THE DOWN SIDE WOULD BE THE COST, ONCE YOU LET THEM FENCE ABROAD THEY ARE HOOK AND WANT IT MORE AND MORE. I JUST HAVE A MEETING WITH THE COACH, HE HAS PUT THE NAME OF MY TWO FENCER ON LIST FOR THE NEXT 5-6 OVERSEA COMPETITION AND IS GOING TO COST APPROX. US$3000-4000.00, I AM GOING TO HAVE A FIMILY MEETING IN THE NEXT DAY OR SO (I DO NOT KNOW HOW THE OTHER FAMILY MEMBER WOULD REACT TO IT). NO MORE SUMMER VACATION TO-GETHER.

    I would like to hear your thoughts as perants with experiance in the field regarding the impact and what is the right time to dive into that pool.
    Another item is that this we are in a small country that has about 70 competitors in each competition (if this is relevant).
    OVER HERE WE HAVE OVER 130 COMPETITOR FOR UNDER 14 IN OUR LAST COMPETITION AND THE NUMBERS ARE GROWING EACH YEAR.

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    Quote Originally Posted by amia View Post
    I am curious regarding the effect of such competition on the right time. From your experience did you notice a jump in performance (for example, jumped from top 16 to top 4) or is it a long term effect or is it more "if you don't do that then" you drop to lower ranking (assuming at some point the other top fencers do it)?
    Others may disagree with me, but I think that you need to view the development of your fencer as a decade long (or even multi-decade long) process that will be punctuated by periods both of startling growth and inexplicable frustration. Yes, there are things that can cause jumps, but often those jumps motivate other local fencers to growth also.

    In our experience, the biggest factor in growth (or regression) has been the number of competitive bouts fenced. Many U.S. coaches say that a serious fencer should be getting a minimum of 100 competitive bouts / year. As a young fencer, she was able to get in closer to 300 bouts / year in competitions and she soared in the national rankings. This year, between health issues, academics, and aging/rating out of many events, she will be lucky to get 50 good bouts this year and the results are predicable. (This is another topic, but in the U.S., a good 13 year old fencer who goes to all of the national events will probably be able to get in 110-120 bouts just at the national level. Because of the national schedule, a good 17 year old who takes advantage of every national opportunity will get 50-60. But the cost per bout will be about 2.5 times higher for the 17 year old.)

    At all times, I would recommend that you want competitions that will provide a mix of better/worse fencers. Fencing the very top fencers is good, but only occasionally until they can truly compete against them. Going into an event that is way over their head is discouraging unless you have mentally prepared them ("This is a 'have fun and don't worry about results' event.) and balance it with events where they will be very successful. Ideally, the bulk of the developmental events that you enter should have fencers that will both push your child and give your child opportunity to practice on somewhat lesser fencers.
    What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? I Cor 5:12

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    Senior Member Allen Evans's Avatar
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    Everyone reacts a little differently when they start entering competitions that are "over their head". I've found that it takes fencers 4-10 events to get comfortable with the increased pressure and skill level when entering tougher, larger events. This is especially true if the event is a long way from home.

    The fencer often gets discouraged because they feel they are fencing their best game -- and they often are -- yet their results are not what they expected. If they can pass through this stage, they will start to improve considerably. Unfortunately, as dcmdale points out, this can take a year, or more.

    Because of your location, you face a strong barrier in making this transition to international events, if the goal is to enter international tournaments as a method of improving fencing. Quite a number of sacrifices may have to be made, and they may have to be sustained for some time (two years or more). This should be considered very carefully.

    Again, hard to give advice from so far away, to someone who is in a completely different competitive environment than I face in the US. But there are some things that are universal. I completely agree that you should not give "Coaching advice to the coach". However, he is obligated to be honest with you at all times, and about all things. The fact that he may not have been is slightly disturbing. Ultimately, the decision to travel should always be yours, and done in the best interest of balancing your family's life with your child's talent.

    AE

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    cont

    Quote Originally Posted by Harrychoi View Post
    OVER HERE WE HAVE OVER 130 COMPETITOR FOR UNDER 14 IN OUR LAST COMPETITION AND THE NUMBERS ARE GROWING EACH YEAR.
    That's a lot. Here it is 70 for adults but about 35 to his age category.

    Another question I have: In my sons club there is a phenomenon that the fencers dropout of fencing when they reach the age of high-school tests and dating.
    Do you have any tips how to determine if this is more than a hobby that will stop at this age? Can you share your experience on this?
    Is there a way to help avoid this?

    Sorry for posting the message in parts. I have trouble in posting messages here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harrychoi View Post
    OVER HERE WE HAVE OVER 130 COMPETITOR FOR UNDER 14 IN OUR LAST COMPETITION AND THE NUMBERS ARE GROWING EACH YEAR.
    That's a lot. Here we have 70 in adults and about 35 in my sons age category

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    Another question I have: In my sons club there is a phenomenon that the fencers dropout of fencing when they reach the age

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    dropout

    When young fencer reach a age of 12-14 they are growing into a young adult, thay may or may not want to commiting all thay free time into fencing training, which you need to do (15-18 hours a week) in order to be on top of the ranking list over here.

    Two years ago my girl almost dropout because she cannot take the pressure of not winning all the time, her school teacher inform us that she is saying that "fencing turn from leisure into pressure" and longer a fun sport.

    luckyly for us her twin brother is also into fencing, some how she hing on and with the help from her coach she manage to pass the stage, and are how doing well, may be not on the very top but into top 5-6 place in the cadet list. she is going to Asian Junior and cadet championshipo in two weeks time.

    It is not easy for young fencor over here , thay have heavy school work, four test /exam per year, two inter school competition, four age group and four open per year. on top of school works/ exam, and competition thay are doing six day traning 2-3 hours each time. so i understand if some of them want to dropout.

    Harry

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