Fencing Beyond the Basics
2nd/3rd June 2012
The ‘Beyond the Basics’ Coaching and Performance course was held on June 2nd/3rd at Staffordshire
University. The course was staffed by Prof. Philip Bruce, Prof. Miguel Rodriguez Medina (Sweden), Prof. Isobel Combes and Prof. Franco Cerutti (Switzerland). This was the fourth and probably the most successful, course run jointly by the BAF and Four of Clubs Fencing.
38 fencers in total registered for the course and apart from one participant who had to drop out at short notice for medical reasons, we had full attendance. One last minute adjustment to the plans for the course was made in light of a number of people requesting a Level One assessment – with the help of Prof. Louisa Miller a crash course on Level One coaching was run concurrently with the main event and resulted in 7 Level One passes on Sunday afternoon.
We were very pleased that Franco and Miguel were able to join us from Switzerland and Sweden respectively and it took some complicated planning to arrange a weekend when both would be available!
The course was planned so that each master should take turns leading sessions and that these should be
linked together along the theme of looking at coaching skills from a number of view-points – bread and butter club coaching, developing confidence and distance appreciation in young competitors, designing training for world class competitive youngsters and honing the reaction skills of top drawer elite
On Saturday, the work focused on developing some basic skills and concepts with a lot of hard work from both fencers and performers. Saturday evening saw another of our now traditional visits to the Church Bar Restaurant in Stoke on Trent who remembered us from last time and were very pleased to see us again!
Sunday morning focused on polishing the skills of the Level One coaches, all of whom passed their assessments after lunch with flying colours. Meanwhile, Miguel led the main group through variations on choice reaction lessons and Franco kept his promise to “make the course sweat”by giving them a
taste of the kind of workout that his own elite fencers use in their training.
We have found on other courses that by lunchtime there is a definite lull in enthusiasm and hard work. Not so this time – after lunch, Philip and Franco went all out to go way beyond the basics and push the boundaries of coaching, with the result that by the middle of the afternoon session, the atmosphere in
the hall was electric. The participants got a chance to see up close and personal what a truly world class performer can do in the hands of a skilled coach and they responded with great enthusiasm. Even the newly qualified Level One coaches jumped in and had a go at the exercises.
I hope we sent people home with their horizons expanded and with new ideas about where they could take their coaching in the future. Judging from the number of copies of the Compendium that we sold on the day and the number of enquiries about the Denstone course we received, I think we succeeded.
Sir Stanley Matthews Centre
Stoke on Trent
Staffordshire, ST4 2DF
Prof. Philip Bruce
President of the British Academy of Fencing Former England Senior Team Captain and Women’s Under 20 Coach
Prof. Franco Cerutti
Former World Cup Epeeist and World Under 20 Finalist
Prof. Isobel Combes
Coach to a England National Foil Under 11 Champion and British Nationals Under 14 Finalist
Prof. Miguel Rodriguez Medina
Coach to a very successful club in Stockholm