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Preparing to Win the Fencing Tournament

March 05, 2011 | Comments: 0 | Views: 131

Conventional wisdom among fencers and fencing coaches often holds that the way to win fencing tournaments is to win more bouts and that the way to win more bouts is to score more touches.On the face of it, this seems obvious.However, it is far from being the whole story, or even the most important part of the story.

A fencing bout is a combination of at least 12 factors, including:

1.Technical preparation - mastery of a sufficient set of skills that the fencer can recall and apply in the bout and that can provide a sufficient range of offensive, defensive, and counteroffensive options.

2.Training - the development of the skill set to a level at which reactions are fast and execution is instinctive, rapid, and accurate.

3.Tactical development - the development of the ability to change tactics during a bout, to adapt tactics to the opponent's actions and the referee's calls, and to impose your own tactical logic on the opponent.

4.Psychological preparation - a complex task involving preparing the athlete's mind in a general sense, along with giving the athlete specific tools to deal with the psychological challenges of the competition.

5.Referee preparation - fencers must be prepared to analyze referee performance and adjust tactics to the way in which a referee manages the bout.With this, the fencer must be able to apply psychological techniques to manage the impact of the referee on the bout.

6.Conditioning - physical preparation, including both general fitness and sport specific fitness, conducted according to an annual training plan, and integrated with technical, training, tactical, and psychological preparation and competition selection.

7.Competition selection - given that fencing competitions are weekly events, those competitions that logically fit into the overall season goals require preparation that may or may not include other competitions.

8.Opponent scouting - every opponent fenced must contribute to a database of information on possible opponents in future tournaments, including everything from which hand the fencer fights with to an analysis of their tactics.

9.Effective bout planning - a fencer who enters a bout with no plan is not planning to win - victory becomes a matter of luck.The fencer must have a plan for the bout, and be able to execute that plan.

10.Nutrition - proper eating (and also hydration) is vital not only as part of general preparation and training, but also in giving the fencer the energy needed for specific events.

11.Equipment readiness - fencing equipment must be in excellent condition, and more than the minimum must be carried with the fencer.This eliminates not only cards for equipment failure, but also the stress of having to fix weapons in between bouts.

12.Rules knowledge - an astounding number of fencers, and at least some referees, do not know the rules of the sport, and do not know how they are applied.Fencers must study the rules and know them intimately if they are to defend their interests against incorrect or capricious rulings.

Fencing is a highly specific sport that uses unique movement patterns and that requires both fast movement and great efficiency and accuracy in that movement.The key component of a tournament that a fencer can influence is the individual bouts the fencer will fence.To prepare for those bouts the athlete needs to train for the specific activities and rhythms of the competition.This means that the specificity, richness, and effectiveness of training increases the closer it comes to bout conditions.Not only should the fencer fence the same types of bouts he or she will in tournaments, but as many of the tournament conditions as possible should be present.The more of the factors listed above that the coach can include in training bouts, the better the training.

Successfully addressing each of these elements means that the fencer will score more and more touches as his or her experience level in the sport grows.Not addressing them, or addressing them incorrectly, will inevitably limit performance to less than the athlete's potential.The touch is the product that operationalizes the preparation, not the preparation itself.

Walter Green is a Maitre d'Armes (Fencing Master) certified by the Academie d'Armes Internationale. He teaches modern competitive and classical fencing, historical swordplay, bayonet fencing, and Asian martial arts swords at Salle Green http://www.sallegreen.com, the fencing school he operates in Glen Allen, Virginia. Maitre Green also trains fencing coaches through the Pan American Fencing Academy http://panamfencing.com. He serves as a Head Examiner for the certification of professional fencing coaches for the United States Fencing Coaches Association, and chairs the USFCA's Club Committee.

Copyright 2010 by Walter G. Green III. All rights reserved.

Source: EzineArticles
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