What is a Fencing Coach?
Fencing coaches are different from anyone else you encounter in competitive sports. The skills they teach are complex. The insights they have are a combination of personal experience, current best practice and historic traditions going back several hundred years. Unlike the sideline coaches of field sports, and the parent volunteers who keep most team sports going at junior level, fencing coaching is limited by the small numbers of fully-trained professionals. Technical and safety standards are closely related. The standards coaches are expected to meet are set internationally (by the FIE), regulated nationally (by the AFF) and practiced locally (through WAFA). A fencing master is a coach with level 3 expertise at all three Olympic weapons. A lower level three-weapon coach is called a Prevost if qualified to level 2 in all three weapons. Coaches may choose to specialise in one weapon to a higher level than the other weapons.
Who coaches the club?
Most club coaching will be done by level 1 coaches who have passed the AFF exam in that particular weapon, usually under the supervision of a more senior coach. Excalibur recognises several grades of progression in a coaching career.
What is a fencing coach expected to do?
- Coaching Assistant – a fencer of intermediate or advanced proficiency who assists a coach in teaching specific fencing skills. They will still concentrate their training efforts on preparation for State, National and International tournaments. All will be in our junior leadership programme.
- Assistant Coach – a fencer who is working under the supervision of a qualified coach towards the level 1 exam in one or more weapons. They are expected to demonstrate a good level of fencing proficiency in their chosen weapon(s) and will have recent experience of participation in National or International tournaments. They will not run any group activities independently, and will usually continue their competitive career concurrently.
- Level 1 Coach – qualified to AFF level 1. They will be 18 years or over, affiliated through WAFA, registered as a level 1 club coach, and have demonstrated an ability to supervise a group activity and take individual lessons in their chosen weapon (s) to the satisfaction of the club’s coaching panel. They will be encouraged to develop their individual and group instruction skills, and to choose an area of special coaching interest so that they can progress towards level 2 qualification. Continued competition participation to international level is strongly recommended for those intending to progress to level 2.
- Level 2 Coach – qualified to AFF level 2. There are only a handful of coaches working at this level in WA. They provide most of the high performance individual lessons, State team preparation, schools coaching level 1 coach development and administration of the State proficiency awards.
Some terms you may hear:
Club coach – a coach of any level (including Assistant Coach) who is a member or associate member of Excalibur
Visiting coach – a professional coach or volunteer coach from another club who contributes to Excalibur training sessions on a regular basis.
Session manager – club coach or other Executive member who supervises a training session to ensure its smooth running.
Trainer – a coach or experienced senior fencer who offers technical guidance to fencers from the side of the piste.
Steven Lim: Steven has served as coach and team manager in Australian teams at World, Asian, Commonwealth and Oceania competitions from 2005. Produced national and state champions since moving to WA.
As an FIE Grade B referee, Steven has refereed at various international competitions in all 3 weapons including world cups and regional competitions such as the Asian Championships and Commonwealth Championships.
During his younger days, he was an accomplished foilist winning the SE Asian Games and championships, Asian Games finalist for Malaysia and a scholar-athlete at the Ohio State University. A serious knee injury put an end to his competition days, which was when he decided to focus on coaching and refereeing.
Having settled at Excalibur and declaring it his “home club”, Steven hopes to help young fencers bring out the very best from themselves.
Frank Kocsis: Budapest-trained fencing master with special interest in sabre. Olympic qualifier
Tim Inglis: Level 1 Sabre, Foil and Épée. Junior & adult beginners
Coaches In Training
Andrew Scott, Jonathan Allard: Have completed coach training, are now completing the hours required to qualify as coaches. Work under the supervision of Steven Lim.