A big part of our jobs is to help the young fencers to gain interest in the sports of fencing and develop the associated skill set not only physical but most importantly the mental toughness. We observed that children who are discipline enough and commit to train has maximized their abilities, even if they don’t all advance as elite athelet or even olympian.
On other hand , we also observed many young children who seem to have an abundance of natural talent, but finally didnt reach their potential or at least the level we or the parent expected. Why does it happen, who some of the young fencers didnt advance as much as they should?
From my observation, there are 3 reasons why these fencers , especiallt young children struggle to maximise their potential:
Successful athlete practice days and night for the good result , despite any kind of sports. Even naturally gifted young fencers, there is only limited period that they can rely on their raw abilities. Of course, fencing is easy when you have physical advantage against the competition, being bigger , faster, and smarter. But when the children progress, these attributes alone are not enough. When the children get older, all these advantage will get level out. And in these moment, it is those who practice hard enough will succeed and advance to a higher level.
At the end of the day , fencing is still a sports which requires not only physical ability but also mental toughness, successful fencer must be committed to a disciplined training. If you expect you will win by practising 1-2 days per week, then you are absolutely wrong. LAZY - it seems to be a reason "well, everybody knows about it!" , but reality is that few people can be persistent enough to practice it:)
Some parents expect 1 hour private training with top coach will make their kids champion, it is never going to happen. Talent will only get you so far, but it is the persistent in training which will help the young fencer progress to reach their potential.
At the end of the day sports or even life success are often decided simply by who wanted it more, own the game by committing to rigours training,
We always tell fencer you need to be confident all the time, but being confident and arrogant is very different. If the young fencers are too proud, they will not be willing to learn from others and will not be willing to listen to the coach. These doesnt only apply to students only, some parents think they know everything already about fencing, and they start to give instruction to coach on how to coach or how to compete. Why being proud will affect the learning? Well, if the children /parents are too proud, they will not listen to any suggestions from coach and eventually they are shutting any opportunities of improvement and progression.
Young fencers especially those with some talents run the risk of becoming too proud (arrogant), especially when they always win in the strip. Arrogance can lead to poor performance as it gives an illusion that they know everything and ignore coach instruction. Arrogant fencers doesnt take training or competition seriously and eventually leave themselves open to upsets as a result. It doesnt matter if you want to be olympian or succeed in other profession such as doctor , lawyer , pianist etc, its the humbleness and attitude of willing to learn continuously will help us to progress to where we want to be in life.
"its the fault of the referee! they dont know how to give a call !"
We sometime hear this statement coming from the students or parents, blaming the circumstances rather than owning results. Children who play the games of blame will never succeed and rarely live up to their potential.
How can they improve if we let the children or even help the children to find excuse to justify every failure? Good fencers assume there will be tough days, and actually look at failure as key learning moments for future growth and success.