Teaching Good Sportsmanship in Fencing: A Message to Parents from Head Coach Elsayed Emara

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Teaching Good Sportsmanship in Fencing: A Message to Parents from Head Coach Elsayed Emara

Dear parents,

As the Head Coach of our esteemed fencing club, I recognize my tremendous responsibility—not just in teaching your children the technicalities of fencing, but more importantly, in shaping their character through this elegant sport. While inherently competitive, I firmly believe sport is fundamentally about respect, fairness, and personal growth. On this note, I wish to share my insights on fostering an environment of good sports conduct among our young athletes (and parents).

What does sportsmanship entail?

Good sports conduct, or “sportsmanship,” is the appropriate behavior for a sports participant. It goes beyond the fencing strips. It’s about how we treat others, as you would want your children to be treated. Sportsmanship occurs when athletes show respect and concern towards opponents, teammates, coaches, and officials. It’s an essential value we seek to instill in every club member.

Sportsmanship isn’t a naturally occurring trait; it’s a learned behavior. And as in learning any physical skill, our athletes need guidance to foster positive behaviors. As their coach, I see it as my duty to play a vital role in developing these attitudes, primarily through positive role modeling and active teaching.

Role Modeling

Young athletes often look up to their coaches as role models. Therefore, I must exhibit the behavior I expect of them. I strive to remain under control and respectful during all interactions—with athletes, assistant coaches, officials, and opposing coaches. By respecting officials and opponents before, during, and after bouts, I set a standard that I expect our athletes to emulate.

Actively Teaching Sportsmanship

Our approach to teaching sportsmanship is proactive and intentional. During practices and competitions, we maintain an atmosphere of respect and sportsmanship. We discuss professional athletes’ behaviors— good and bad—as teaching moments. We encourage athletes to reflect on their behaviors and understand how their actions influence others.

A Call to Parents: Promoting Sportsmanship and Fostering Focus

Your role in this journey is pivotal. The values we teach at Fortune Fencing Club need to be reinforced at home for them to take root truly. Children often emulate what they see, and your conduct can greatly influence their development. 

When attending your children’s competitions, we encourage you to display the sportsmanship we expect of our athletes. Applaud good plays, regardless of who makes them. Show respect to coaches, officials, and other parents. And most importantly, remind your children that their worth is not determined by the outcome of a bout but by the effort they put in and the sportsmanship they display.

However, it’s also important to maintain a healthy boundary between your role as parents and our role as coaches. While your presence is important during competitions, constant supervision during practices can sometimes create unnecessary pressure and distractions for the athletes. 

In their natural desire to please their parents, children may focus more on your reactions than on the coach’s instructions. This can hinder their ability to engage in the learning process fully. They may also become overly reliant on your feedback, affecting their ability to develop self-assessment skills and independence. 

We kindly ask you to trust our professional coaches to guide your children during their training sessions. Rest assured; we create an environment that not only enhances their fencing skills but also promotes their all-round development. 

This does not discourage you from showing interest in your child’s progress. Talk to them about their training, ask them what they learned, and listen to their experiences. But let this be a conversation at home, away from the strip. 

Remember, our shared goal is to help your children grow as fencers and individuals who embody respect, fairness, and good sportsmanship. With your cooperation and support, we can ensure their fencing journey is successful, enjoyable, and enriching.

Final Words

Our commitment extends beyond teaching your children to be good fencers—we aim to help them become good fencers and, ultimately, good individuals. Let’s create an environment that promotes respect, fairness, and personal growth together. Let’s cultivate not only champions in sports but champions in life.

Coach Elsayed Emara

Head Coach and Program Director at Fortune Fencing

Elsayed Emara
Elsayed Emara
Hi, I'm Coach Emara, a contributor to this blog and Head Coach/Program Director at Fortune Fencing. With over two decades of coaching experience and a former stint as an Olympian fencer for Egypt, I have a wealth of expertise to share. I've trained many competitive fencers to national and international success. As the Vice President of the Midwest Fencing Coaches Association and a former educator at Illinois Central Community College, I'm eager to use this platform to share insights from my journey and inspire the next generation of fencers.

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