Often it is the simplest things that are the most effective, the most important in our training. Taking fencing training up a notch doesn’t have to be complicated, and fencers can get better through tweaking just a few basics. Here are seven simple things that are easy to overlook but can really improve your fencing.
1. Be on time (and early)
This one might seem to be a no-brainer, but it’s actually really very important and often overlooked. Getting to the club before class begins will give you a chance to get your brain in the game and to allow yourself to focus on the things in front of you rather than on the things that were going on before you got there. Rushing into class or private lessons just on time or late means that you lose valuable time that you really need to improve. Changing this one little habit can amount to a huge difference in the quality of training.
2. Practice at home
Another one that seems to go without saying, but that many fencers have trouble sticking with. Being a great fencer doesn’t happen overnight, or during lessons only. In order to master footwork and movement, it’s critical to review these things at home. It doesn’t have to be an intense practice session, but running through some skills on a regular basis away from the gym is incredibly powerful – you’ll notice a big difference quickly.
3. Write things down
You don’t have to keep in all in your brain. It’s completely ok to forget things, but that’s why it’s so important to write them down. Keeping a fencing journal is a great way to make that happen (see our previous post), so that you know the notes that you’ve been given in class and also track your progress. There is a lot going on in fencing, so be sure that you lose as little of that valuable knowledge as possible by putting it down.
4. Organize your gear
Disorganization causes stress and completely undermines focus. Getting to class and realizing that you’re missing some critical piece of gear is a recipe for a class that isn’t as valuable to you as it should be. Take time to regularly organize and check your gear – outside of class time. Just as with number one, here you’re effectively giving yourself more time to train!
5. Follow other fencers
Inspiration is a big part of improving, so that’s why it’s so important to follow fencers that you can admire. Learn from their moves, get a great feeling when they win, take heart that they’ll come back when they lose. These don’t have to be famous fencers – choose someone from another club that you admire on the competition circuit or of course someone from your own club!
6. Participate in things other than fencing
Fencing should not be the only thing that you ever think about. While it’s certainly the best thing that’s ever been invented (we all certainly think so!), it’s not the only thing in the world. Find yourself some balance, some things that you can do when you’re away from the club that make you happy. Join a chess club, take an art class, learn to play the guitar – whatever sparks your fantasy!
7. Ask how to get better
A big mistake that fencers make is thinking that the only guidance they’ll get from their instructors is with what they are told. You don’t have to wait for them to tell you – just ask! Approach your coaches and ask them what they think you should do to improve. You don’t have to wait for them to volunteer information, and they’ll see your enthusiasm and help you get to the next level. Just ask!