Winning is great and we all love to bite on the medal at the end of a comp BUT wining is not always a sign of success. If you are the under 17 National Champion and you win a gold medal against novices in a regional competition that is not success. But the same fencer who places 12th at an international competition and who gave everything they had to give and was technically excellent is successful and most importantly is learning to improve and develop their opportunities. Not even Olympic or World Champion Gold medallists win every competition so how can we define success?

At SFA we want to see our fencers succeed. Success is “the peace of mind that is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”

A competition can have only one gold medallist and you will have all been in the situation where factors outside your control prevented you from achieving that gold medal. Does that make your performance unsuccessful? Of course not but it does make it vitally important for you to be able to critically evaluate your performance and identify if it was a great performance as well as areas that need more improvement and training.

Success occurs when you feel in control and so each competitive fencer is asked to develop their own game plan for a successful competition. This game plan requires you to describe what success will look like to you. You will be asked to judge your own performance against your definition of success regardless of where you place in a competition.  In other words did you control your own game plan?

A guide to writing your game plan for success

  1. What are the technical aspects of your game you want to demonstrate mastery over? eg keep my distance, manage timing, finish my attack, move my feet, set up attacks, keep my arm in line, small parrysetc

 

  1. Write down your top 4 or 5 technical skills that you want to focus on in your next competition.

 

  1. Identify the things that distract or upset you in competitions and make a plan for how you will deal with it. For example poor ref calls, comp running late, lots of spectators cheering

 

  1. Identify who will be the one voice that you will listen to – will it be Arash or someone else (make sure whoever it is will be at the comp)? If no coach is present how will you coach yourself? What sort of self-talk will you use?

 

Silversword Fencing Academy – Plan for Success

Now write a brief game plan for success statement. Here are a couple of examples

 I will move in correct timing and manage my distance and I will play a varied game. I will be present in the bout and not on auto pilot.  I will listen to the one voice of my coach for technical guidance and all the other voices are simply cheer squad so I do not need to react to them. I will recognise some things are out of my control eg lighting or timetables or heat and I will not let them stress me because I will focus on what I can control under the circumstance.

 If I do these things then I am successful in my competition. 

 I will keep my arm in line and be balanced so I can catch parries out in front without panic. I will set up attacks and work on 2nd intention hits. I will focus on parry riposte moves rather than counter attacks. I will make sure I have sweets at the end of thepiste to manage my blood sugar and to keep my thinking clear. I will not get carried away with thoughts of winning or losing andwill manage 1 point at a time.  If the refereeing is poor I will work harder on my footwork and clean blade contact to make the points obvious and will politely ask the ref to explain their calls so I can try to work out their reasoning and adjust my game.   I will focus on the fencer in front of me. I will control the things I can control and not worry about anything else.

I will not have a coach with me so I will make sure that after every point I am aware of how I hit or got hit and I will talk positively to myself. I will not use negative speak. I won’t look to my parents or spectators for help.

If I do these things then I am successful in my competition. 

 Now write your game plan for success – feel free to discuss it with the coaches. Remember everyone’s plan will be different because we are all learning different skills and techniques.  There are no right or wrongs in this process.

Tanya Buchanan

Silversword