BAF Tactical Coaching and Performance Course
3rd and 4th of September
Thank you to everyone who helped to make our Tactical Coaching and Performance Course such a success.
Twenty-eight participants turned up bright and early for a prompt start on Saturday at 10am and worked with impressive commitment and enthusiasm all through the sweltering weekend.
The Saturday session was led by Prof. Philip Bruce and focused on establishing basic coaching skills relative to tactically orientated lessons. Participants were given a set of worksheets, based on the BAF Teaching and Coaching Tactics flowcharts, and guided through building up exercises which would aim to improve a fencer's technical and tactical ability relative to choosing the right distance and timing for actions. Coaches were also shown techniques for making exercises more competitive while Philip emphasised the delicate skill of pushing a performer to peak of his/her ability without damaging confidence. All three weapons were represented in the hall and the range of abilities covered the whole gamut from beginner coaches to candidates preparing for Diploma exams.
On Saturday night, we revisited the Church Bar and Restaurant for another excellent course dinner. Thank you again to all the staff there for their warm welcome and excellent food. The evening provided a great opportunity to recover from the hard work of the day and to unwind!
Sunday's sessions were led by Prof. Louisa Miller and Prof. Isobel Combes and were now focused on the fencers themselves. Coaches were encouraged to create scenarios to help their fencers practise their skills in different situations - coping with an 'uncooperative opponent’, controlling an opponent by drawing attacks into known lines and so on. This was followed after lunch by a session demonstrating how an example of the flowcharts could be used, with subtle changes, to cover a range of situations from a beginner's lesson to a competitive training session (or even a Diploma exam question!). Both fencers and coaches continued to work with impressive energy and commitment despite having already had a whole day of training.
For the final session of the weekend, participants were given a choice between two groups - a coaching group focusing on Masters' Skills and, for the restless performers, a very informal and light-hearted Poule Unique. It was amazing to see the energy that some people managed to find in those final moments for some all out fights!
As always, it is the participants that make all the difference to the course and we were very lucky to have such an enthusiastic, receptive and friendly group -- thank you to everyone who participated!
Congratulations are also due to Sally Peat and Jacky Phoenix, both of whom passed the Level One BAF Coaching Assessment in Epee. Now that they are both qualified coaches, we very much hope to see them again on more coaching courses!
Prof. I. A. Combes