Coaching a (low-interest) collegiate fencing club

I am the assistant volunteer coach for a collegiate fencing club. The coach is keen on teaching fencing fundamentals and some advanced maneuvers. I am his second set of eyes and goto for general fitness, for example, introducing new routines for warmups and conditioning.

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I was a member of a collegiate fencing club. We had about 8 members in a school of ~650. There were two distinct classes of people that participated: Those that thought “Oh cool, swords” and those that were a step above that and actually interested in a more serious approach. The person that ran our club would specifically pair off people based on the type of interest that they had and lead the groups differently. We had one or two people from the casual side move to the more serious side and another couple of casual folks dropped out due to waning interest. The waning interest generally happened because people wanted to be swashbucklers and sword-fighters rather than traditional fencers.

Depending on the pool of people you’re pulling from (the size of your university) you may want to ‘mix the models’ and have the club, for instance, spend the semester learning a famous sword-fighting scene for performance at a festival. That can keep it fun for the casual people, introduce legit technique for the serious folks and potentially open up your talent pool in subsequent years. I would also probably have smaller sessions for the serious people only so they can hone their techniques and learn more in the traditional fencing model.

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