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Thread: Getting out of a fencing slump.

  1. #1

    Default Getting out of a fencing slump.

    Im guessing this has probably been talked about before and I'm not even sure if this is the right bit of the forum for this but here goes....

    I have been fencing for about 7.5 years but up untill a year and a half ago I did not have a regular coach (due to being a long term uni fencer). I started competing in opens just over 2 years go. Since having a coach I have improved and was fairly pleased with my results (reached the dizzying hights of 64 at one point which isnt bad for a social fencer). This season however I appear to have not been so lucky and have slipped quite far dispite competing lots. I have had some akward draws and have suffered to the low entry to comps this year but there is only so much you can blame luck untill you have to look at your fencing and what you can do to push through the slump. I know I have improved and can pull off hits I could only dream of 3 years ago and so it can be incredibly frustrating when I keep on loosing, especially when I loose to someone I should be beating.

    Bit more background info: I train at fencing at least twice a week (3 If im not competing or away with work) and get lessons whenever my coach will allow/I can afford. During training I always partake in the footwork exercises and try to fence as many people I can of all abilities. On top of this I try to keep my fitness up by going gym/circuit training/swimming and doing yoga. All in all I exercise at least 5 times a week. I am female 26 and an epeeist. (although have had to dabble in other weapons esp sabre due to being on a uni team for so long).

    Can anybody suggest anything I can try to help get me past this slump? More regular lessons, lessons with a different coach, more free fencing, less free fencing, step up the fitness regime, books I can read, more comps, taking a break, focusing on footwork, focusing on blade work, all of the above, keeping what im doing and just being patient... that kind of thing. You guys are the coaches and experts so any opinion will be gratefully recived. Would be nice to pick up my ranking and maybe in a year or so finally break into that top 50 slot.

    I cant be the only person to have ever hit the slump.

  2. #2


    Hi n_freebody!

    Firstly, sometimes this happens as a result of changing techniques, or learning new moves. It takes a while to assimilate them and that can mean your results dip.

    I'm no expert but I can suggest a few things you didn't list, so perhaps haven't considered.

    1) Do you know how you are getting hit? Try and keep a mental tally or even a written record of where you are being hit. It might be that you have a few bad habits (perhaps picked up from other weapons) that are losing you fights.

    2) Have you asked your coach or a fencing friend to watch you fence at a competition? They might spot something you haven't thought of, often it is one quite simple thing (eg distance).

    3) You could always ask someone to video you fighting. It might be interesting to compare a video of you fencing at club, and you fencing at competition to see if there is a difference. If there is, it might be worth looking at relaxation techniques etc (Yoga can be useful for this though).

    4) Perhaps try going to a few smaller, fun events to meet new styles of fencing and build your confidence back up.

    5) Focus on just one move at a time to really nail it.

    To be honest, it sounds like you have got the right ingredients (commitment, work-ethic, fitness etc) and need to persevere and keep working. Epee can be a very tough weapon to consistently do well in, and can take years to perfect.

    And yes, I have definitely experienced the fencing slump!
    Meg & Phil S-F (but usually Meg) /

  3. #3


    Cheers Meg, thats exactly the kind of advice I'm looking for. Will be sure to take a video camera/notepad/friend to stand by piste (coach is busy) to my next comp in a few weeks. As for doing a wider range of fencing events do student, county and regional ones count? If so then I already check that box.

    Everyone else, keep the advice comming

  4. #4
    Kian Ryan purple's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Marshalls Fencing/Northwich Fencing/Lancaster Uni


    You're training, but are you focusing your training?

    When you turn up to a club night, do you have a plan - a given skill or tactic you wzng to practice, or do you just go with the flow whilst training and free-fencing?

    First up - time to get a little book. I'd recommend paper, rather than anything electric unless you're really confident with electric toys. Now do a SWOT analysis. If you don't understand your strengths and weaknesses, who will?

    Next - stick the date of your next training session on top of a page. Pick something to focus on during footwork, and then pick a given action you want to practice during free fencing. Aim to do something uncomfortable. Take the book with you to training, and make notes during the night. What's working, what doesn't, what goes well in fights. The positives are as important as the negatives.

    After training go home, and scrutinise your night. Write a date on the next page and start again.

    Don't go to a training night without a plan *unless* your aim is simply social fencing. Even in a serious schedule, there's nothing wrong with giving yourself a social night each week. Make sure you enjoy your sport.

    It's an iterative process and isn't just restricted to your club nights. Your fitness training can also benefit from similar focus, as can diet.

    When you've got some data - take it to your coach and look for his input. A coach worth his salt will be able to give some help and direction.

  5. #5


    Again some good usefull advice. No in the past I have not focused my training (never been told how). Ill give it a go *goes and buys a notebook*.... Yay new stationary!

    Not sure if I will apply the same kind of regimented plan to my general fitness and diet though. Have no desire to become an elite athlete just want to win a few more fights. I already eat reletively healthily (both BMI and body fat percentage well in the healthy range) and dont want to eat like a rabbit just to improve my fencing. As for fitness I feel I do ok on that front, try to do a general mix to cover everything and work on things that help improve flexibility, strength, stamina, endurance and recovery rates. Im not the fittest person in the world but I'm a damn sight fitter than your average physicist :P

    Thank you and keep it comming

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