June 17th, 2008
|05:29 pm - Quick fencing update ...|
Short summaries of my last three tournaments :
May 11th - Challenge Monal, Paris A-Grade. 96th out of 114. Won 2 bouts in my pool, but with a bad indicator, so I missed out on the preliminary DE phase by about 2 hits (and a potential DE bout with the eventual winner, Fabrice Jeannet, by about 6 hits). I was fencing pretty well, and got results according to my ranking (the four fencers who beat me were at least 100 places higher in the world rankins, the best was ranked 25th).
May 31st - Inverclyde Open, Largs. 18th out of 44. I was fencing fairly well, but lost one bout in each round of pools (mostly through lack of focus/bad choice of tactics for the particular opponent). Lost the DE bout 13-15, after a comeback from 7-13 down, after being 7-6 up. Big loss of focus in the middle there, and I was too impatient to get the hits back.
Last weekend - Scottish Championships, Grangemouth. 3rd out of 14. Fencing very well, won all my pool bouts in both rounds, won my first DE 15-14, with a comeback from 6-9 down at the start of the third period - to contrast this with the loss at Inverclyde, I kept telling myself to stay calm and relaxed through the first and second periods, and to not rush in blindly trying to catch up again - then in the last period, I had time and focus left to change the tempo around, and finish off the bout. In the semi-final, I lost 8-15 to a somewhat superior fencer (he fences a lot like me, but he's better at a few techniques which work well against people who fence like me, alas).
Coming up next - possibly the Doric Open (Aberdeen) in a few weeks, definitely the British Championships (Sheffield) the week after the Doric.
Current Mood: calm
What sort of mental/psychological preparation do you do for these tournaments? An eccentric piano teacher once told me that "Zen in the Art of Archery" should be required reading for all musicians--maybe the same applies to fencers?
Good luck with the British Champs!
Hmmm. I do a few things to try to get me in the right frame of mind :
1. I check all my equipment a day or two beforehand, so I don't get distracted by equipment failures on the day.
2. I try to go through the same routine for every tournament - good night's sleep, breakfast, arrive in reasonable time, etc.
3. On the concentration side, I find I need to have a particular piece of music running through my head (in the background, if that makes sense) on the day - usually I get there by playing it while warming up. Not quite sure how this works, but on days where the music isn't there, or worse, the wrong music is "playing", I have noticeably worse performances.
4. I need to find a sweet spot of being relaxed, but energetic and motivated - it's quite tricky to find, and as recently as last November I put together another piece of the puzzle - not to drink Coke (except maybe a glass at breakfast) during the comp, because I finally noticed a correlation between days where I drank lots of Coke and days where I was nervous to the point of performing very poorly because of it.
5. And finally, the tricky bit is maintaining concentration for the whole time that I'm fencing - still working on that one, because it's hard, and even 30 seconds lapse is enough to e.g. lose a bout and mess up the whole day.
 Ok, trance techno mix, but it still counts as music for these purposes :)