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Solo Fencing Training - Mental Training

December 17, 2010 | Comments: 0 | Views: 121

Mental training is an integral part of the preparation of athletes for competition in virtually every sport. Because fencing makes significant demands both on the ability of fencers to analyze and solve tactical problems and on determination and fighting spirit, mental training must be included in a fencer's development. Mental training is a daily effort for the fencer, and thus it must be an integral part of a fencer's solo training plan.

There are a significant number of programs for athlete mental training, well documented in a variety of books. These provide the coach an opportunity to select an approach to mental training that works in the context of the coach's approach to training and in the context of the overall physical training of the fencers. However, there are a number of common elements that should be considered in any such training program:

... Goal identification. Mental training can help the fencer develop goals for their engagement in the sport and uses those goals as constant reinforcement to drive better performance. If a fencer has no goals for their fencing, then any outcome is success. If the fencer has goals but does not internalize them, believe in them, and work to achieve them, then most outcomes become frustration.

... Development of focus. The fencer must be able to focus their mental capability on the task at hand, whether that task is training or competition. This focus must concentrate on solutions to the problems the task presents, constantly searching for ways to solve problems and thereby to defeat opponents.

... The ability to maintain morale in the face of adversity. We have all seen a fencer or a team come from behind to defeat an opponent whose victory seemed certain. This depends on focus, but it also depends on the indomitable will to win and the self-assurance that victory will happen. Mental training provides the fencer with tools to build, maintain, and call upon that will when needed.

... Technical development. The use of visualization can improve technical performance by providing opportunities to practice whenever and wherever the athlete can. The fencer must imagine that he or she is performing a technique correctly in detail, feeling the blade and grip, seeing the target, making the extension, etc. The richer in detail the picture created by the imagination, the better the training. In some cases this mental practice rivals physical practice in its ability to produce performance improvements.

Because a mental training program requires daily activity, it is important to make this training part of a solo training program. The coach can help the fencer identify goals, train the fencer in how to maintain focus and summon the will to get the next touch, and teach visualization techniques. However, the fencer must do the work, every day, if he or she is going to be able to use mental techniques to improve performance and increase competitive success.

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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