You’ve spent months preparing and the big day is coming soon — your first fencing competition. While your thoughts are likely on your technique, and maybe your nerves, it’s important to make sure you know what to expect when you walk through the doors for the first time.

Making Sure You Are Prepared

You need to make yourself a priority in the days ahead of your first competition. Take a break from training for the last 24-48 hours before the big day and lighten the load on your calendar. You’ll need to be well-rested for two nights before your competition. You won’t be able to “make up” for lost sleep all at once the night before, in the car on the way or at the competition site.

In addition to being well rested, you’ll want to:

  • Work on your mindset in the weeks ahead of the competition. Plan your training schedule in advance, choose music that will help you relax between sessions or during warm-ups, and talk to your coach about any mental blocks you are having.
  • Eat a balanced diet in the weeks before your competition. Keep it as clean and healthy as possible. It’s especially important to have a good meal the night before and the morning of your competition — no skipping. Talk to your coach about an eating plan that will work best for you. Some people love carb loading for energy, for example, both that plan might make others retain water and feel sluggish.
  • Never skip your warm-up or cool-down sessions. Sufficiently warming up before you workout and when you are finished will help you to avoid injuries and soreness as you approach the big day.
  • Check your gear to make sure everything is in good repair. Make sure your barrels are tight, that your wires are properly glued down, that your blades are covered properly, etc. Don’t forget to check to be sure all of your protective gear is in good repair, too.

What to Expect When You Arrive

The competition scene can be incredibly busy. Talk to your coach to find out when you should arrive and where you should meet up with other members of your club.

Try to arrive at the competition site anywhere from 60 – 90 minutes before your bouts are slated to begin. This will give you plenty of time to get checked in, change your clothes, get through your equipment check and warm-up without feeling rushed or stressed. You’ll also want to take a few minutes to find out where the bout committee is posting pool assignments once registration closes.

Everyone remembers their first fencing competition and we all know how overwhelming that first time can be. Don’t hesitate to talk to your coaches, classmates, and even other competitors if you need help or aren’t sure where to go next. We’re all in it together and want you to enjoy your first time out!