When you first start learning the sport of fencing, it’s easy to focus on the footwork and various techniques. If you’re especially enthusiastic, you might even start spending more time in the gym in order to build up your muscles and become physically stronger. If you’re like many people, however, there is one thing that you neglect when you first start training: your mind.

There are a number of mental techniques that you can use to help yourself get better at fencing and feel more confident during competitions. They include:

  1. Brushing Up on Your Acting Skills

Have you ever heard the adage about faking it until you make it? There is some truth to that. It can feel awkward at first to pretend that you’re a champion, but when you are playing the part, you might notice that you do stand taller and your stance is stronger. It may help to read about your own heroes or watch their videos in order to try to emulate their behavior and training methods in your own practice.

  1. Talk Positively About Your Progress

Like many fencers, you might focus on your weaknesses in an effort to correct errors in your technique and style. However, it’s just as important that you praise yourself for the things that you do well. Talking yourself up and recognizing your accomplishments is a vital step in developing even more confidence. If you want to talk about weaknesses, talk about weaknesses in the past that you were able to overcome.

  1. Visualizing Success

One way to have success in practice and competition is to visualize yourself doing well. This might seem odd, but even Olympic-level athletes use this technique in preparation for their own trials and events. Doing a mental walk-through of your moves and visualizing the face of your coach when you win can give you the edge.

When you spend as much time mentally preparing for your fencing practice as you do physically training, you may find that your skills start to improve and you perform better. You might even want to ask your instructors about the mental preparation they do so that you can glean some tips from them.