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Coach Profile: Kathy Vail

Coach Profile: Kathy Vail

Kathy Vail is the head coach and owner of Dunwoody Fencing Club in Dunwoody, Georgia. She is also a leader in the fencing community in high school fencing as the co-founder of the of the Georgia High School Fencing league. A frequent volunteer with USA Fencing, she is the current Region 6 coordinator and a past Spirit of Sport honoree.

Tell us how you got started in fencing?

My first experience fencing was in a college PE class.

What made you want to coach?

I fell love with the sport and wanted to share it with others.

How do you view the role of the parent in a youth fencer’s journey?

The role of the parent is to provide support and guidance to their fencer as they progress in their career.

Not only do you have a successful club but also a very popular high school league in Georgia. Are there any differences coaching in the club versus at a high school?

There are differences in club coaching and high school coaching. The Georgia High School Fencing League is primarily based on team fencing. My USA Fencing club is primarily based on individual fencing. Many fencers in the high school league begin their careers in the high schools and fence only in high school events.

What skills differentiate a good fencer from a great fencer?

1. A refined sense of timing and distance.  
2.Technical mastery as opposed to simply knowing the actions. 
3.Mental toughness.

Do you have common phrases, buzz words, etc. that you find yourself using frequently when coaching?

Watch the distance. 
Bend your knees.  
Stay focused on every touch.


Date Created: June 2021