01 May TTFC Coaches Attend SF Coaching Clinic
Team Touché coaches Tedd, Arizona, and Joanne recently attended the United States Fencing Coaches Association Coaches Clinic in San Francisco. Over three days of training, our coaches worked hard with USFCA Maestros to improve their lesson technique, fundamental actions, and tactical footwork. Coaches Joanne and Arizona both received their certification as Moniteur instructors, while Coach Tedd was able to attain the higher Prevot level ranking. Each of the coaches had their own take on the process.
If there was one thing that I can take away from the USFCA Clinic in San Francisco it was this: never underestimate your own abilities. The clinic was a challenge, no question about that, but it made me see that in a lot of ways we can all do more than we think we can. Whether that’s as a coach or as competitor, you can always go that little bit further than you may have once thought. Understanding that gave me more reason than ever to jump back into coaching here at TTFC. It’s been a sheer joy to do so, especially as I’ve been able to use a few new tips, tricks, and games that I picked up at the clinic. Even small things such as being able to recognize a tactical error that a student may have made and to be able to correct it, when I may have not been able to do so previously, have filled me with a renewed vigor. I know that going forward that I will be able to do so much more for my students, the club, and myself.
The San Francisco Coaches Clinic was a great time! My favorite part of the clinic was running into all my old coaches from my time fencing in the Bay Area. But beyond the reunions, the clinic was extremely helpful for me as a coach. A lot of the challenges of the coaches clinic were conceptual. We had plenty of practice writing up lessons, but the trick to crafting the best possible lesson was that each part of the lesson had to work together in a way that could mimic what our athlete would see in a real bout. This was a very helpful revelation. Adding tactical logic to my lessons has made my coaching style more thoughtful and deliberate. I’ve come back to TTFC with a better understanding of what makes a good lesson good and what a bad lesson is missing.
When I departed for the clinic, I was thinking I could teach the teachers. However, by the end, the instructors had done their job, and I realized I could do some things differently. I appreciated the process so much, I am now moving to get USFCA certification for all Team Touché coaches. I found the program rigorous and I certainly learned some new techniques.
I recognized that my lessons could improve with one critical detail: realism. When I began my lessons, I offered my blade passively for the student to parry riposte (block then hit). I quickly corrected my mistake by simply hitting my student more! If the student could retreat quickly and defend themselves, well then, they could live. So, want a lesson? Get ready to start wearing your fencing jackets every time, guys!
I recognized that the clinic went lightly on some of my “bread and butter” actions. I’ll be working on a Master thesis that incorporates systems of actions utilizing the “check”, a piece of footwork that is very important in all three weapons.