Competition Coaching Support Policy

Salle Paul undertakes, wherever possible, to provide coaching support for fencers at competitions. We recognise that the support of a coach is especially valuable for young fencers, and particularly when they are competing for the first time. Parents also benefit from the support of expert advice when attending competitions for the first time. With this in mind, Salle Paul has outlined the following policy so that fencers, parents/carers and coaches all understand what is expected both of the coaching support but also of the fencers and their parents/carers.

      1. General guidance
      1.1 Salle Paul provides a termly calendar of competitions recommended for fencers in age appropriate categories. This calendar is on the club notice board, emailed to Salle Paul members each term and is also available on request.

      1.2 It is important that fencers don’t enter competitions until they have reached a confident and competent level of ability. Competing before they are ready can damage a fencer’s confidence and spoil their enjoyment of the sport. Fencers (and/or parents) should seek advice from a Salle Paul coach or club official before entering their first competition.

      1.3 Fencers and parents/carers are advised to read the club’s “Competition guidance for fencers and parents/carers” which is on the club notice board, or available on request from the Club Secretary.

      1.4 Fencers (or their parents/carers) are responsible for entering competitions and paying the relevant entry fees. Salle Paul will do only team entries, those that are required via the club by competition organisers, or entries where agreed directly with the fencer in advance. Entry details are provided for fencers on the competition calendar, or via the relevant organisers’ websites.

      1.5 Fencers requiring coaching support at competitions should email the Salle Paul Club Secretary as soon as they have decided to enter, but in any case at least four weeks prior to the event. This is to give Salle Paul sufficient time to book coaching support.

      1.6 Fencers are requested to sign up on the competition registration forms on the club notice board to indicate events they are entering. This will assist with lift-shares for coaches or for other competitors as well as confirming for the Club Secretary who is entering which events.

      1.7 Fencers (or their parents/carers) agree in advance to cover the cost of coaching support, plus their expenses for travelling to events. The cost is generally split equally between the numbers of fencers going to the competition. If more than one coach is required due to the number of competitors from Salle Paul, fencers (or parents) will be asked to cover the costs of both coaches.

      1.8 Fencers (or their parents) understand that the cost of coaching support will vary depending on the number of fencers entered. Where only a few fencers are entered, the club will advise in advance the likely cost of coaching support so that fencers/parents can decide not to book coaching support if the cost is considered too high.

      2. What is expected of coaches at competitions
      2.1 Coaches will arrive at competitions at least by the time that check-in closes so that they are on-hand to supervise group warm-ups (where space permits), or to make sure fencers are warming up independently. Fencers take responsibility for starting their warm-up should the coaching support be delayed, or if the coach is detained by other fencers requiring attention.

      2.2 Salle Paul coaches will, wherever possible, wear club kit for easy identification. The Club Secretary will notify fencers/parents in advance of the event which coach is attending and where possible will provide a mobile contact number.

      2.3 The coach will check which fencers are competing in each age group and prioritise their support time according to a) who is the least experienced fencer and needs the most support; b) who is fencing first, and then move between fencers if more than one is fencing at the same time; c) greater support will be given to those fencers competing in direct elimination fights than those competing in poules.

      2.4 Coaches will provide guidance on the format of the competition, rules and regulations and explanations of refereeing decisions.

      2.5 Where necessary, the coach will ask a referee for clarification of a decision but will not argue with the decisions of the organisers or referees.

      2.6 Fencers can ask referees for an arm-judge if they believe their opponent is covering the target area with the non-fencing arm during a match. Where necessary, the coach will provide guidance for Salle Paul fencers on covering and ask referees for arm-judges where required.

      2.7 The coach will use their best judgement to guide a fencer on tactics and strategy before matches, during the rest breaks and at the end of matches. Coaches are not permitted to coach during fights (in line with Salle Paul’s code of conduct and British Fencing rules and regulations).

      2.8 Where necessary, the coach will intervene to ask a referee to keep order during a match, eg to prevent unauthorised coaching of an opponent, or to request that supporters of opponents are moved if they are on the piste, or if fencers are being intimidated or distracted by other fencers or their supporters. In turn, the coach will ask Salle Paul fencers and supporters to keep off the piste areas as required during fights.

      2.9 Where two Salle Paul fencers are competing against each other, the coach will not provide support to either fencer.

      3. What is expected of fencers/parents/carers
      3.1 Fencers and their supporters are requested to behave at all times in accordance with the Salle Paul code of conduct. Copies are displayed on the club notice board, on the website and are available on request from the Club Secretary.

      3.2 Fencers are expected to be responsible for their own fencing kit and for making sure it is in proper working order before they arrive at the competition.

      3.3 Fencers are requested that, wherever possible, they should wear Salle Paul club t-shirts and competition jackets so that they are easily visible to the coach. Wearing club kit helps to foster club and team spirit and helps to promote Salle Paul.

      3.4 If fencers need to borrow club kit, they must speak to a club official in advance to arrange a loan, signing out kit and paying the kit loan fee. Returns must be checked in by a club official. Losses must be paid for at the replacement cost. The club reserves the right to request a contribution to be paid towards the cost of any repairs but fencers will not be expected to pay fully for the cost of repairs unless negligence is involved in the damage.

      3.5 Fencers (or parents) are expected to bring their own drinks and refreshments to the competition, or to buy their own refreshments on the day.

      3.6 Fencers are expected to make their presence known to the Salle Paul coach on arrival at the competition.

      3.7 If fencers are running late for check-in, or have decided to pull out of a competition they should notify the coach in advance or as soon as possible. However, although the coach can notify organisers if a fencer is late for check-in, the organisers/DT (Directoire Technique) are in control of the running of competitions and it is unlikely that start times will be delayed to accommodate a late arrival. Fencers need to arrive half an hour before check-in closes to avoid potential problems.

      3.8 Fencers are expected to be responsible for their own timing and to know which piste they should be on and at what time during the competition. They are also responsible for checking their results are correct and alerting the coach if help is needed to correct results at DT.

      3.9 Fencers must not leave the piste during poules, or when called to pistes for DE matches, without the permission of the referee or the coach.

      3.10 Fencers (or their parents) need to assist the coach by informing them when they are about to fight, eg “I am on piste 1, third fight”. This will help the coach to know when the fencer is likely to need support.

      3.11 If parents/supporters can see that a Salle Paul fencer is struggling and needs support during a match, they should alert the coach. Wherever possible the coach will attend a fencer who is struggling but they cannot intervene with coaching advice in the middle of a match.

      3.12 By arrangement with the coach, fencers or parents can text piste numbers and timing details to the coach. This is particularly helpful in large venues where pistes are spread out between a number of rooms/halls.

      3.13 Salle Paul fencers are encouraged to support their fellow club members during their matches but only in accordance with the club’s code of conduct, eg intimidation of opponents or shouting at fencers, opponents, coaches and referees is not acceptable. Good sportsmanship is required at all times.

Sources of advice – see club notice board or contact the Club Secretary for copies:
Salle Paul codes of conduct for fencers, coaches, supporters and volunteers
Competition preparation information for fencers, parents/carers

Kit loan form – see coaches or club officials at Salle Paul.