Tsanko Hantov has been the owner and head coach of Windy City Fencing Club in Chicago, Illinois since 2005. Hantov, who started in modern pentathlon and transitioned to fencing epee, competed in modern pentathlon at the 2000 Olympic Games and won a bronze medal at the 2001 World Championships. He is a graduate of the National Sports Academy in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Please share your fencing story. How did you get introduced to the sport?
As a teenager I was invited to join modern pentathlon team in a school Olympic Hopes in my home country of Bulgaria, where as we know epee fencing is one of the five sports.
From there I get involved in fencing practicing as it paralleled with the rest of the four events.
What made you want to be a fencing coach?
Through the years of competing modern pentathlon, I was able to participate in tons fencing events as camps and competitions.
I always wanted to be a coach, knowing that one day when my sport career ends that will be something that I will enjoy to do.
I also was adoring the fact that I was really close to my coaches as an athlete, and did see them as a somebody way closer to me, not only as a coach, but very good friend and mentor.
My education was profiled in the direction of being one. I graduated National Sport Academy as coach and business sport management.
After I decided to end my competitive career I saw a great opportunity of being a fencing coach in America.
How do work with beginners, teach them the sport but also make them want to continue?
Some people will say that kids are doing fencing because of the benefit of colleges in the near future in their life. My approach with kids never points in that direction.
I always like to teach them the difference in between a regular kid and a kid that does sports. Through my coaching courses, I try to make the kids understand how important it is to be disciplined and how sports can be beneficial to their lives, and at the same time to make sure that this is fun. I believe kids easily can accept you as a role model and follow you for a very long time if you have a right way of communication with them.
My beginners courses will never start with introducing the sport as something they should do to the rest of their lives, or even a for a long term.
It is always a pleasure to see if that's something that the kid loves to do for longer. After that I notice that a coach can make a miracles happen with a kid.
How would your students describe your coaching style?
That might be a question for them! I really like to believe that they see me as a coach that is really dedicated to his profession.
What do you look for when hiring an assistant coach? What qualities and characteristics are you looking for?
When it's about hiring for me it's really important the personality of the coach, and his wellness of working with kids with tons of patience. As we all know, that is hard to find but very doable if a coach is willing to go for it!
Very important for me when making decision of hiring is to see that coach has and rival approach, and a skill to work with young athletes!
Date Created: December 2020