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Thread: 1st tournament jitters

  1. #1
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    1st tournament jitters

    So I have my 1st tournament coming up this weekend, and Iím on edge. I have not had this kind of reaction to something new in years, since I was headed to Boot Camp 20 years ago.

    Anyone have a good suggestion as to how to claim my head? I mean this is crazy I put on a badge every day and a fencing tournament has me out of my head. I know I have little chance of doing well in either event I am taking part in, but the competitive side of me hate to admit that I just donít have the experience or skills it takes to win over fencers with years more experience and training than I have.

    So if you can pass on your techniques for not taking this so seriously.

    Thanks,
    Will-

  2. #2
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    Hi Will, take a deep breath....everyone has the jitters....once you get on the piste.....try and think of one thing that you are going to focus on...........you should not be out there practicing, you are competing.........don't have to many thoughts running through your mind - "how's my hand, my arm, my foot work, I need to extend blah, blah, blah......I try and have a "banner" that I have running through my mind when I'm on the strip......just one thought........then everything else will fall into place.......my very first match, I did let the Director know that it was my first time...........he was very patient and kind.......and maybe have one of your fellow club mates let you know what to expect when you arrive at the venue - equipment check (maks and cord) any of the other things pre match............do they want you to "kneel" when you have your blade weighted or not.....etc.....also, don't forget to shake hands at the end with your opponent and smile as you are fencing....not like a maniac or anything, but if you smile, you'll have fun.

    I have a little ritual the night before - check my bag of equipment, have my uniform all set out, snacks in place....car gassed up map for the venue....try and get all the little things that could "get in the way" of you focusing on your match done - or maybe I'm just anal about that kind of thing I don't know.

    I am no means a "seasoned" fencer by a long shot.......it's just a few things that I try and do when I compete....I am sure that you will have some great feedback from the others.

    Good luck and have FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



    “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood…if he fails, he at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither knew victory nor defeat.”
    – Theodore Roosevelt, The Man in the Arena
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  3. #3
    Senior Member SJCFU#2's Avatar
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    Read this (assuming you haven't already)
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  4. #4
    Senior Member fencerchica's Avatar
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    As a beginner in a tournament, your #1 job is to learn from the experience, then plow those lessons learned back into your practice and your subsequent tournaments. When you hit your opponent successfully (and more importantly, when they hit you) it's really helpful for your later development to take note of what was going on. Jotting down a couple of notes after a bout will give you ideas to bring back to your coach, e.g. "Whenever I went for parry 4, Opponent X would disengage to the 6 line and hit me, so can we work on responding to that kind of action?" When you're not under the gun to try and finish well just for the sake of showing a good placing, this kind of data can be worth more than a medal. If you think of it as a reconnaissance mission, maybe you'll be able to relax and think about fencing well instead of worrying about getting beat. Good luck! :-)
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Maggie's Avatar
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    Option 1: Read everything you can get your hands on about the upcoming experience (there's a good new-fencer guide on this site), ask everyone you can about their experience competing especially at this venue and with these people. Look up the pre-registered fencers on askFred and check their previous results. Ask everyone you can how you should fence these individuals. Pack and re-pack, check and re-check equipment, snacks, directions to venue, etc., etc. Basically, obsess over every detail. Then, have unrealistic expectations for the outcome (like winning) and be worried about what other people will think.
    Option 2: Try not to think about it at all. Avoid all but the most necessary preparations. Keep yourself distracted with other things. Have no expectations for the outcome (but then why are you going?). Try to suppress the panic that keeps trying to surface by pretending you don't care. Basically, put your head in the sand and fight to keep it there.
    Option 3: Prepare enough so that you show up with basic necessities and have a general idea of what's going to happen and how things are run (again, good guide on this site). Realize that organizers at local events want you to be there and to have a good experience, so they will help you figure things out if you, for example, aren't familiar with how their reels are set up and can’t find the cord to plug in or you didn't know you needed TWO weapons and body cords (seen both recently). Just ask questions politely and thank people who help you. Set realistic goals, with your coach's input, such as getting one touch in every bout or not finishing DFL or doing what your coach wants you to be working on correctly (i.e., proper footwork, nice lunges, parry instead of counterattacking into opponents' ROW, whatever). Basically, be realistic and focus on the learning opportunity, meeting other fencers, behaving as a gracious competitor, and HAVING FUN!
    Personally, I favor option 3. However, everybody is different. What do you find works best for you in other areas of your life, like a job interview or meeting future in-laws? You sound like another oxymoron (novice veteran) and while we oxymorons don’t have fencing competition experience, we have more life experience than the teenaged competitors at our events have even if you put them all together. I find it helps to remember that.

    Let us know how it goes.
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    "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." - Albert Einstein

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the advice, I hope to have fun as I have found fencing to be more fun than I had originally thought it might be.

    I will let you all know how I did after Sunday.

    Thanks again!!!!

    Will-

  7. #7
    Senior Member D'Art's Avatar
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    Concentrate on having fun and meeting new people. After all, that's why you got into fencing in the first place. The stabby stuff is just a welcome bonus.
    I'm happy to answer pointed questions as respectfully as my mood permits

  8. #8
    Senior Member migopod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by D'Art View Post
    Concentrate on having fun and meeting new people. After all, that's why you got into fencing in the first place. The stabby stuff is just a welcome bonus.
    +1

    My college club was sort of snooty and Evangelistaish and since we all sucked and had the whole classical attitude (not me so much (I sucked, but I didn't buy into the attitude)) tournaments were not really fun social environments. Since going on and fencing in a real club I'm both better and have made loads of friends at tournaments.

    As far as jitters go, I usually get pre-tournament anxiety related more to making it to the venue before registration closes. Any residual jitters usually go away during the first poule bout. If you can get someone to warm up with you before poules that can really help a lot as well. Just remember to not wear yourself out doing warm up fencing.
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    Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem
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  9. #9
    Posting Hound Purple Fencer's Avatar
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    Will....PM me your email address and I'll shoot over the beginner's guide I wrote a few years back (and recently updated)
    Need fencing equipment? See me at H.O.M. Fencing Supply

    Going to your first tournament? Read "Choose yer weapon, Laddie (or: Dude, where's my foil?)"

  10. #10
    Senior Member dharmaqueen's Avatar
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    Music soothes the savage beast. I listen to fun but not to stimulating music while warming up and in-between.
    I concentrate on keeping my head from defeating my body through unnecessary doubt and worry.
    I don't know if the jitters will ever go away, but lately they seem a bit more tamed.
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    "Chance favors the prepared mind." Louis Pasteur

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  11. #11
    Senior Member SJCFU#2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Purple Fencer View Post
    Will....PM me your email address and I'll shoot over the beginner's guide I wrote a few years back (and recently updated)
    Speaking of which, when are you going to finish recovering from that computer crash? I used to always point people toward both your's and Craig's, but this time all I could point him to was Craig's.

  12. #12
    Just Joined 94sheam's Avatar
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    If this is your first tournament then don't worry about winning or losing to other people, no one will expect perfection from someone who is new to the tournament process, just try and remember that we all do this for fun and that every time you lose you at least learn from that loss and are that much harder to beat the next time you are out on the strip fencing, just go there and have fun while fencing. Also if you are thinking a lot while actually in the bout you maybe over thinking things go in with a plan but don't over think it or you will lose focus and while you are thinking about what you are doing someone will hit you in the chest while you are going "I should parry". Good luck and are you going to red star on Sunday in chicago?

  13. #13
    Posting Hound Purple Fencer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJCFU#2 View Post
    Speaking of which, when are you going to finish recovering from that computer crash? I used to always point people toward both your's and Craig's, but this time all I could point him to was Craig's.
    Don Clinton has volunteered to rebuild the site, as I just don't have the time.

    Did I send you the prep package the other day???
    Need fencing equipment? See me at H.O.M. Fencing Supply

    Going to your first tournament? Read "Choose yer weapon, Laddie (or: Dude, where's my foil?)"

  14. #14
    Senior Member migopod's Avatar
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    Cute 404 when following your signature link by the way.
    Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem
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    ^[:wq

  15. #15
    Posting Hound Purple Fencer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by migopod View Post
    Cute 404 when following your signature link by the way.
    Yeah...that's GoDaddy's one.

    If anyone wants to package (Craig Gault...I just found your email and sent it to you), please ask...more than happy to pass it around until I can get it back up on the site.

    Edit: Thanks to Migopod for hosting the prep package...now the link works!
    Last edited by Purple Fencer; 10-13-2011 at 01:06 AM.
    Need fencing equipment? See me at H.O.M. Fencing Supply

    Going to your first tournament? Read "Choose yer weapon, Laddie (or: Dude, where's my foil?)"

  16. #16
    Posting Hound Zilverzmurfen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    I can relax after I have a couple drinks.
    I can dance after I have a couple of drinks...


    Good luck and have fun, Ghostrider!
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    Fencing is my only PvP.

  17. #17
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    Well I think I have my head screwed on straight now. Talked to my coach alittle about it last night. I get to fence against him on Sat, well if we end up in the same pool anyway.

    I'm just gonna focus on having a good time and doing as well as I can.

    Thanks for all the advice, I will let you all know how it goes.

    Will-

  18. #18
    Senior Member D'Art's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zilverzmurfen View Post
    I can dance after I have a couple of drinks...
    I can't, but I seem to think I can. Same with singing.
    I'm happy to answer pointed questions as respectfully as my mood permits

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    Needs to get Outside Inquartata's Avatar
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    I can't dance, don't ask me.
    Use the Shift key, people! Keyboard manufacturers everywhere are ineffably saddened when you ignore what they made just for you!

  20. #20
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    Are you fencing in a tournament run by The Fencers Academy? I was there today and I might have seen you
    "I shall walk this way but once, therefore whatever good I may do, let me do it now, for I shall never walk this way again"- Unknown Poet

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