If you're a US Fencing Division officer...

Discussion in 'Fencing Discussion' started by Allen Evans, Jun 14, 2018.

  1. Allen Evans

    Allen Evans Podium

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    ...what would you like to hear from the US Fencing National Office? What would you like to communicate to them in return? What concerns do you have that you'd like the National office to be aware of?

    If you're not comfortable posting, PM me.

    Oh, and this is specifically about issues impacting Divisions, I should add.

    A Evans
     
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  2. Strytllr

    Strytllr DE Bracket

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    One of the things I keep seeing from the NO is a seeming continued increase in the number of regional and national level events. The calendar for any given region is so booked with these events that there is little to no room to have local level events. This increase in qualification paths, etc. serves to push fencers toward higher and higher levels, and while that may very well be the goal of USA Fencing, I'm increasingly seeing a loss of the local playing field, where fencing is done and enjoyed more for fun than to get to a national team or a world cup event. And because of that rigorous schedule, for the local tournaments that can find a place amidst the crowded schedule, it is often difficult to attract the local fencers who happen to be in that higher level to attend.

    The NO continues to say that they are trying to be the NGB for ALL levels of fencing. But it just doens't seem as if this is the case. The local venues are struggling to survive. And the NO does not seem to be doing anything to deal with that loss. In fact, they seem to be doing everything to the contrary.
     
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  3. Zebra

    Zebra Podium

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    I agree with Strytllr about the points events crowding out local tournaments on the schedule and drawing fencers away from local tournaments. That hurts the moderately-competititve fencers as well as the clubs hosting tournaments. In addition, the scheduling of regional and national events gets later and later, which gives us less time to schedule local events.
    From a nuts and bolts standpoint as a division officer, I don't have any problems with Colorado. They process our ratings changes promptly, and are reasonable with us when there's a discrepancy like a fencer whose membership is not current.
     
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  4. Zebra

    Zebra Podium

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    Spot on. And the NO needs to understand that growth in the sport isn't going to be driven by the fencers who are going to Europe or Latin America 5 or 6 times a year to try and make the national team (they may be highly dedicated to the sport, but actually are hurting growth by portraying the sport as inaccessible); it's the ones who show up at school Tuesday morning and talk about fencing JOs for the first time and what a neat sport they compete in.
     
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  5. Allen Evans

    Allen Evans Podium

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    Thanks. I know that the crowding of the calendar with regional events is feedback that several Division officers--including me--have given to the NO in the last few months. It's good to hear that this might be close to a universal complaint.
     
  6. Strytllr

    Strytllr DE Bracket

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    So one additional point to this as a small club owner. I was having a discussion with one of my assistant coaches when she asked me something that completely caught me off guard: "What competitive level do you want your club to shoot for?"

    The question really bothered me...because, prior to that, I had only seen two levels of fencing: recreational and competitive. And the reason I only saw them like that was because I haven't seen anything that could be described as a "local" or "regional" competitive level in the last 10 years my club has existed. It's go to Nationals or nothing. There's no in between. And while that's great for some of my fencers, the top tier in my club, over half of my fencers (and their parents) are perfectly happy fencing locally and not giving a cuss about any of the large qualifier events. They might even be good enough to do well in those events. But they don't want to.

    So what does USA Fencing have to offer those guys?? Nothing. Because everything they tell me that they will give or have to help my fencers or my club is all about national level stuff. And that's such a small part of my club, it's worthless.
     
  7. mfp

    mfp Podium

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    While the increases in the number of regional and national level events certainly have had an effect on the number, composition and complexity of scheduling local events, it's a bit over the top to say that "there is little to no room to have local level events". This season the Bay Cup has scheduled over 170 local level events alone. And the Bay Cup isn't the only organizing group running local events around here.
     
  8. Zebra

    Zebra Podium

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    That may be so, but the west coast hasn't been affected as much by the number and accessibility of points events--yet. In the coming season there'll be 10 RYCs and an SYC in the NY/NJ/CT metro area alone, plus 4 RYCs and 2 SYCs in the Baltimore/Washington area, and more if you're willing to drive to Rochester or Boston or Pittsburgh. Add a couple of NACs to that and that's a pretty full competition season for many fencers, with very little overnight travel needed.
     
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  9. Goldgar

    Goldgar Podium

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    From a practical standpoint, if you have enough fencers who aren't interested in national or regional events, you can hold local/divisional tournaments that those fencers would (maybe) come to. But you have a hard time staffing them with good referees, due to the heavy demand from the national/regional events.
     
  10. Strytllr

    Strytllr DE Bracket

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    The northern california division also has over 1000 registered fencers, and only 200 or so are NC, to help overcome any fallout from tournament fatigue. By comparison, my division only had around 200 total registered fencers, and almost 80 of which are NC. And since our smaller community have less to draw from, it is just not possible to run 2 or 3 well attended events each weekend. There is simply not enough competitive support to make them happen.

    But specifically, in my region, there are only 4 weekends between February 2nd and May 5th that do not have a regional or national tournament scheduled. And one of those free weekends is Easter. Even worse, the April NAC has yet to be officially scheduled, and it will almost certainly overlap with one of our regional qualifier events. That probably won't matter to two of them, since they're both youth events, but it still says something about the number of tournaments that are scheduled.

    So if i don't want to overlap on any of those qualifier tournaments, I have 3 weekends to choose from to hold tournaments next spring. And if I do overlap with those tournaments, I have to choose between running my event or coaching my fencers at the other one. That's a no win proposition. And if any of the other clubs want to hold a tournament in my division, they have the same issue, as well as the conflict with the tournaments I want to run. Maybe if we had your 600-700 available fencers, this would be a non-issue for us. But it doesn't change the fact that the schedule is bloated. But then, 170 events over 52 weeks of a season also seems bloated to me. I'm pretty certain that as a coach and business owner, I would have serious burnout from a schedule like that.
     
  11. Privateer

    Privateer Podium

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    i'm a division officer but not a club owner/coach, so my perspective primarily comes from seeing what other sports offer their members or member-clubs.

    I'd like to see more strategic partnerships with vendors - flooring, scoring machines, club equipment, supplementary insurance, CSM/POS systems.

    I'd like to see more investment in coaches and coach education and club development.

    I'd like it to be easier to report event results/rating changes.

    I'd like to not be surprised about equipment/SEMI changes with short deadlines.

    I'd like to see more leadership in getting fencing in middle/high schools and college/university.

    I'd like to have consistent application of equipment rules across all divisions (glove bodycord slot, for example).


    that's all off the top of my head.
     
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  12. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    They offer them the opportunity to send them $75 a year.
     
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  13. Purple Fencer

    Purple Fencer Podium

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    Learn to effing communicate with the membership and start thinking about the financial impact of their decisions. There was NO REASON to enforce the new chest plate rule across the board with only a couple of months before the implementation date.

    And this IS a division issue, because a division that allows people to fence without the covers runs the risk of having their events invalidated if someone gets pissy about it and reports it.

    Tell them to pull their damn heads out for once, and start caring about the thousands of members who are NOT on the national squads.

    Not everyone is going to be a Race or a Mariel....they need to remember that and start paying attention to it.
     
  14. Zebra

    Zebra Podium

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    • An official interpretation manual to accompany the rulebook.
    • Centrally-developed training materials for referees.
    • Clear instructions for divisions with regard to running division qualifiers (i.e. who gets skipped, who qualifies for what).
    No other NGB in any of the sports I or my family have been associated (and there are six credentials among us) with is so hands-off in the training and development of officials and contest administration.
     
  15. Allen Evans

    Allen Evans Podium

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    I've been very curious about this too. There exists plenty of resources and people who want to help, but we still seem stuck in the 20th Century about how to train officials. Of course, I havent been to an "official" referee seminar in a few years, and I understand that this is evolving.
     
  16. Allen Evans

    Allen Evans Podium

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    I think everyone gets surprised by equipment changes, even the people who are supposed to be on top of this information in the US.

    I can't help but wonder if a lot of this isn't due to politics behind the scenes that get sprung on everyone during the FIE congress. And the international SEMI people seem pretty caviler about testing the changes they purpose until after they've proposed them. This often means it's not just the domestic fencers that get surprised.

    Of course, US Fencing always has the option of "slowing down" the adoption of these changes, but this often puts the folks fencing internationally at a disadvantage in our National events (and yes, there are counter-arguments to that).

    A
     
  17. Allen Evans

    Allen Evans Podium

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    This is a pet peeve of mine as well, but I don't see much movement on this issue in the next ten years by US Fencing. They seemed to have turned coaching development over to the USFCA.
     
  18. Strytllr

    Strytllr DE Bracket

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    Yes. And at $1100 for a week long seminar in stupid places like Las Vegas, they seem committed to putting those out of reach of a lot of coaches.
     
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  19. Mac A. Bee

    Mac A. Bee is a Verified Fencing ExpertMac A. Bee Podium

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    I fenced Race when he was a youngun' and didn't see it coming. I made Emily cry fencing her at a mixed event and didn't foresee - even with her heritage. I reffed Miles as a teen A who didn't stand out then.
     
  20. Allen Evans

    Allen Evans Podium

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    I'm certainly not going to disagree with you there. Reforming the USFCA, however, is probably a separate thread, though I understand that it impacts concerns about coaching training for US Fencing as a whole.
     
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