The Benefits of Private Lessons
Private lessons are at the heart of a fencer's progress
One on One
Private lessons are at the heart of a fencer’s progress. Success in fencing is a 3 part recipe :
1. Group classes and bouting with your friends to practice
2. Private lessons
If you omit one part of the recipe, the fencer’s development will be limited. Each component adds a deeper understanding of oneself and of the sport resulting in great opportunities for tremendous growth.
What is a private lesson?
The student spends approximately 25-30 minutes one-on-one with a coach. This allows the coach to correct and focus on what each individual needs to progress. Immediate feedback allows the student to instantly implement what was just learned. A common mistake is to postpone them until the student is “good enough” or starting to compete in tournaments. It’s much better make corrections early on so bad habits don’t form and the athlete practices correctly from the beginning. It’s way more difficult to correct a bad habit, and can be very demoralizing to realize that so much time was spent doing something wrong, and it needs to be relearned. Just as you wouldn’t buy a violin and give it to your child without lessons on learning how to use it until they got better, taking fencing lessons early on will make progress much faster and easier.
Private lessons are optional. Many times, early on, just one or two lessons to fix form issues are needed. The coach can suggest when a newer fencer should have a lesson to fix an issue before it becomes a bad habit.
Is the group class enough?
Group classes are often enough for the casual fencer, one can still progress and really enjoy the versatility, challenge and unique team spirit of the sport while reaching individual achievements. It is human nature to mimic others around you, its an organic way to learn new skills. The limitation on this process of learning is that copying can only go so far, especially if one is copying bad habits or form. The group class setting doesn’t allow the coach to fix every individuals mistakes or adapt the teaching to the unique learning style of each student. The bad habits get reinforced with each repetition and can be very hard to fix. It’s easier to fix at the beginning of a mistake quickly instead of having to unlearn a bad habit then relearn it.
Desire to Progress
Many students come into the sport with a casual interest and are quickly energized by its unique versatility and exciting action. They find themselves wanting to progress more rapidly than originally anticipated and want to test their skills against others by competing. This is where private lessons can really help accelerate progress.Those who take private lessons combined with group class will on the average, progress twice as fast at those who attend group classes only.
Success is not limited by athletic ability in fencing. The quiet introvert or the naturally “gifted” athlete can be equally successful, but the one who takes private lessons combined with group classes and a strong work ethic will progress much faster. The coach can work on tiny corrections of technique that make big differences, then form strategies that build around the student’s individual strengths and personality. Understanding the subtleties of different tactics can make a dynamic change in a fencer’s progress.
Individual Learning Style
People learn differently. Rather than asking a question in group class, some hesitate or are shy to ask for clarification or help in front of others, then end up struggling on particular aspects. The one-on-one time allows the coach to give the student individualized drills, exercises, breakdown of technical elements, and mental skills that get practiced repeatedly in the lesson then in group sparring so that it becomes ingrained. The goal is that the body is trained to flow naturally with muscle memory to free the mind to think strategically ahead. Students learn different things at different speeds. The coach and student grow the mentor-mentee relationship so that the lessons become more dynamic, and the student by his/her needs and input participates fully in designing the lesson uniquely built around ones learning abilities and style.
Like shooting basketballs into the hoop, eventually you’ll want to test yourself against another person or persons for the most enjoyment. Once fencers transition in their enjoyment from a fun hobby to a more serious desire to compete, the need for individual attention is recognized and becomes critical to improvement. The feelings of accomplishing goals and progressing fuels the feelings of self confidence, satisfaction and is strong motivation to continue and push oneself reach one’s maximum potential. Competing starts with just club tournaments then can progress to local, regional then national levels. Competing changes fencing for you forever by taking you to a completely different level and an incredible growth state of mind.
Discuss With The Coach
The best way to maximize the investment in private lessons is to understand the goals, the goals change from student to student, and will change as the student progresses. The most important part of the learning is to take what you worked on in the lesson and actively practice it in the group class and sparring with teammates. Adapting to different opponents height, personality, timing, style gives incredible amounts of variation to your fencing which is what makes it so particularly fascinating and addicting! Each person fences differently so the fencing never becomes boring! Your brain will be energized and your imagination sparked. Your coach will adapt the lessons and frequency, not only to the student, but to your schedule and budget.
Most frequent questions and answers regarding lessons
No, private lessons are not required. If your/your child has become more serious about the sport or has caught the “fencing bug”, then they are recommended.
In the beginning, if you/your child really loves it and is more serious, the ideal situation would be 1x weekly. We know it’s not an ideal world, so coaches are flexible adjust to works best for you. At the National competition level additional lessons are highly recommended.
When a coach sees a student struggling to master some of the fundamentals, he/she will suggest that lessons begin. Sometimes at early levels just one or two lessons can fix technique issues that are holding the student back from progressing. Starting in the early levels to get you or your child working with good habits will greatly improve progress and development.
Having your own mask, glove, chest protector and sword is best. This will allow the student be the most comforable wearing one’s own gear and to practice at home safely
Starting is easy. Click the red, “click here to book a private lesson” button above. Choose the appropriate coach, click his “book now” button. You can book right on-line, or speak directly with any of the coaches to get started. Clicking the Book a Lesson button will take you to our appointments page.