Giving 100% Effort - The Most Important HabitEveryone wants to succeed. Athletes in general and fencers in particular are passionate about it. When you train hard you want to succeed. While everyone wants to succeed, success is an individual thing – it is different for different people. For Mariel Zagunis, success means a Gold Medal at Rio, as she considers her 4th place in London 2012 to be a failure. On the other hand for a novice fencer, success might mean winning one bout in a local competition. The road to success starts with you – in your club, in your trainings, in your preparations. There is only one person who can guarantee you will succeed – it’s you. It starts with you giving 100% of your effort to everything you do. The habit of giving 100% effort pays off later in the competitions, and in life in general.

The Effort Checklist

Here’s a quick checklist to run down and check the areas where you might be lagging in effort, giving you the chance to dig in and fill those potential problem sections.

1.   How you prepare to go to your club:

  1. Do you have all of your gear in order?
  2. Are you uniforms clean and dry from the last training?
  3. Did you pack it all in your bag so later in the club you do not discover that your knickers are in a washer?
  4. Are all your weapons and body cords in a good working condition so you do not start your bouts with non working weapons?
  5. Did you pack a spare weapon/cord in your bag so you have everything needed to not interrupt your practice in case of equipment malfunction?

2.   Do you give your 100% to every drill and every bout?

  1. 100% does not mean winning every bout. It never means this. Because in reality you might face much more skilled opponent that you cannot beat. Nevertheless, succeeding in such bout possible if the goal is not a win, but an effort.
  2. Every training bout you must approach with some goal. Such goals might be practicing some elements of technique you learned in a private lesson, or trying to create some tactical situation when you can realize a combination you are working on
  3. If you do always win against some fencers in your club, then change your strategy. Try this one – fence to limit their scoring, not letting them score more than X points. Your goal is not to win against them (we know you always win against them anyway), your goal is not to let them obtain more than X touches.
  4. Same with the fencers that you always lose to. Your goal should not be to win against them, but to score at least Y touches or not let them score more than Z touches in allotted time.
  5. As you progress, modify your goals, make them more challenging every time. But you can never fence half force, half effort.
  6. Do not bound yourself only to fencing objectives. Make it more – your conditioning, your flexibility, endurance, strength.
  7. If you start going to competitions, make 100% effort to prepare for them.

That’s when you go on strip in competition and you do not give free points presents (or worse – whole bout) to a fencer that otherwise you should be able to win easily, or as fencers say, you do not give away “your” bouts.  It also goes for when you are falling behind because you then know how to pull it off, how to regroup and turn the bout around.

When you fence your practice bouts at 100%, you push not only yourself but others as well. Your opponents will be pushed, those that always lose to you will have a motivation too to put their 100% and score more than your goal, making you to work even harder.

When you fence in your practice bouts with 100% of your effort, then when you go to the competition that’s the only way you know to fence – with 100% of your effort. That’s regardless of the fact that you just traveled eastbound and need to start fencing at local 8am which feels for you more like 5am due to the different timezone. You are just conditioned to fence your best no matter what.

Your habit to check and prepare your equipment before going to training will help you to be always ready in the competition.

Art of Fencing, Art of Life

This habit of giving 100% effort is not only for sport – make it a habit to prepare your school’s homework on time, or learn more from the music lessons you are taking. That way these few days of competitions will not be negatively reflected in your achievements in other areas. Don’t think that these are not related, they are totally interconnected. This is your habit to succeed, to take your mind off other things.  Otherwise you might be running later and later and because of that it might affect your training and competitive schedule.

Your habit to set a goal and work to achieve it exactly that – a habit.

In your sport – it is a habit to be successful

In your school – it is a habit to be successful

In your work – it is a habit to be successful

In your life – it is a habit to be successful

The skills that are learned on the strip can carry you through to all areas of your life, driving you to get better and to be more in your life. When you give your 100% to every training, to every drill and bout