When you arrive at the piste you only want to be thinking about fencing. So make sure you have everything else sorted out in advance.
Check your equipment is working, that you have a spare weapon and bodywire, then pack it all the night before. Use a check-list to make sure nothing is forgotten, and double check your event details.
On the day of your event, arrive in good time, check-in and confirm your entry is all in order. Warm-up – but try to time it so you finish your warm-up just as the fencing is about to start, there’s no point if you just sit around getting cold again.
(At large competitions, events scheduled later in the day often run late. Be prepared to hurry up and wait).
Different people have different strategies for mentally preparing themselves for competition. Some options include:
Warm-up bout with another fencer. Concentrate on getting yourself moving and getting your brain into gear, you don’t need to win points yet.
Warm-up lesson from a coach. This will also be aimed at getting you moving and into the fencing mind-set, not teaching you anything new.
Visualisation. Imagine yourself fencing like a pro. Don’t visualise yourself making mistakes! Optionally combine this with footwork.
Watch other people bout, think about what you can do if you fence them.
Listen to music. Wake yourself up with something fast-paced, or pick something more calming if you’re a bundle of nerves.
During the Competition
A competition is full of potential distractions you need to tune out. Lots of noise, people watching, moments of frustration and confusion.
Fencers also like to give advice – for some people this is useful, for others it is just another distraction. If you would prefer to be left alone you’re allowed to say so!
Advice can only be given during breaks, not while fencing is in progress.
Any queries you wish to raise with the referee must be done so immediately. Once the bout resumes it is too late to change anything. You can argue about the rules, but not with what the referee saw – if they say they saw the attack from the left, you can’t say it was from the right. You can however ask politely why they thought that the attack was from the left.
In general, the referee is always right and it is your job as a fencer to fence in such a way that the referee will award you points. Accept the final decision and move on.
Keep an eye on the score. Although this is the job of the referee, if they don’t spot an error then it will be you who misses out.
Useful Things to Remember
Discuss any concerns with your coach, mentor, parents, etc.
Stay focused. Good fencers can come back to win from 4-0 down!
Don’t make assumptions.
Fence the fight one hit at a time.
Accept the referee’s decision, always be polite and courteous.
Don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t understand.
If it’s not the World Championships, then it’s only practice!