In every book I’ve read about developing expertise, the author has talked about how important it is to fail in order to ultimately master a skill. To many of usĀ  coaches, that seems counter-intuitive.

What’s the role of the coach in student failure? To call attention to those things the student should be trying to master, perhaps? To teach the basics of those new things so the student has some clue about what they should be doing when they are trying to master a new idea, but still failing at it? To create a club culture where winning practice bouts isn’t as important as learning the skill? To encourage a fencer who is failing to continue to try to develop their skills, even if, at the moment, things don’t seem to be improving?

Maybe all of those things.