Bolzano was my final World Cup for this tour and so this is my final post competition analysis. Up until this point I hadn't fenced well in any competitions at this level, and whilst I had learnt a lot about my technical weaknesses I hadn't identified any technical strengths. Whilst I didn't finish in the top 64 in this competition it was the first time I had actually made it beyond the poule rounds and qualified for a direct elimination match into the 64. More importantly this was the first time that I felt that I competed with my actual fencing ability and was not restrained my what I mentioned in my last analysis as a 'fear' on the piste of fencing at this level.
1st Match 5-4 victory over Sinigaglia, ITA
2nd Match 5-1 defeated by Reguigne, FRA
3rd Match 5-4 defeated by Pochekutova, KAZ
4th Match 5-4 victory over Bunyatova, AZE
5th Match 5-3 victory over Ruiz, ESP
6th Match 5-2 defeated by Pentek, HUN
- I feel that based on the rankings of the fencers this was my hardest poule in any of the competitions on this tour.
Preliminary Tableau of 64 DE
15-10 defeated by Martin-Proteus ESP
My last analysis mentioned that I had identified that I was scared at fencing in these competitions. This translated on the piste to me limiting my fencing to very few actions close to the engarde line, rather than allowing myself to move on the piste and use a whole array of actions which is what is required at this level. I needed a way to relax myself during the competition.
Whilst warming up and during the competition I kept two things in my mind: 'F*** it and relax' and 'move'. The second mental cue was only required when I limited my actions around the engarde line but generally relaxing allowed me to a) move and use my ability to create and execute actions at a high level and b) observe opponents and implement a 'plan of action'. For example: against Ruiz I was able to identify that she wanted to attack in my preparation but w's unable to do so if I used two small fast steps to start my attack earlier.
These mental cues are something I need to further develop and practice so that they can be used regularly in high level competition to get me into a good competition mindset.
This competition reinforced my major technical weaknesses that I had identified before. These are:
- My hand speed in attacks. This resulted in about 80% of the hits scored against me being attacks into my preparation (particularly off the engarde line).
- Control of my steps including size and speed.
- Lack of confidence to finish my long attacks (resulting from a perceived inability to use compound actions to my advantage)
- Technical deficiencies in my parrying technique.
However, I was also able to identify technical strengths in my fencing resulting from performance in this competition. These were:
- A good judgement of tempo and timing in the finish of attacks.
- When I did finish a long attack a strong and fast lunge/ finish.
- Good attack on the blades with a redoublement as a second intention action.
I am not going to fully analyse the performance of the Australian team in the team world cup against Canada. This is because we can only fully analyse our performance together as a team and it s a completely different competitive environment to analyse your individual performance against. However, I believe that for all three of us the Senior Teams competitions are a relatively new experience. I have only fenced in a team at a Senior competitive level once, and not in the role of the top fencer in the team. I think that we each took away technical weaknesses to work on, but more importantly a renewed motivation to fence as a team in the future. This competition, regardless of result, was a positive experience for us all and definitely worth it.
Thanks for reading my final analysis. For once there were positives to my competition results which not only have help defined my weaknesses but given me an idea of where I need to be heading in training in the next 8-10 months. Most importantly this competition has reinforced my decision to continue to strive towards competing at this level, because there has been progress n my performance even if it is small.