My first post competition analysis is going to go into a lot of detail about how I structure my analysis after a competition to gain not only an idea on what I need to do to improve in competition but also what my training before the next competition (for me this is on the 21st and 22nd of Feb in Belgium) should be focusing on. These analyses are going to be summarised as the 'fencing learning' part of my blog after this trip is finished. I hope you guys gain something from seeing how I structure my analysis as well as from what I have actually learnt from competing at an A Grade level.
In short my result was not a result, it gained no ranking points and no useful placing, nothing else other than experience. I did not make the cut for the Direct Elimination rounds after the poules. My poule results were as follows:
First Match vs Hanziklova CZE- Win 5-4
Second Match vs Zhovnir UKR- lose 5-1
Third Match vs Bujdoso GER- lose 5-1
Fourth Match vs Suchet FRA- lose 5-4
Fifth Match vs Navarro ESP- lose 5-4
Sixth Match vs Au Yeung HKG- lose 5-2
1V5D - Final Ranking =108
- Warm Up: Physically I felt ready, and mentally ready. This indicates that my pre-competition preparation worked well. I have stuck with the same preparation for the past 6 months and 1 and half days rest before a comp, mental activation exercises the night before, and physical warm up with music has worked well. However, I feel that my warm up was lacking in bouting preparation. For the world cup in Gent, Belgium I am going to need more warm up bouts of a high intensity to be able to relax in the competition. This will be particularly difficult in Gent as there usually is 3 flights of poules as it is a small venue.
- First Match: I have fenced Hanziklova 3 times now and won every time. I felt like I wasn't moving as much as I needed to given the close score.
- Second Match and Third Match: I am pairing these two matches together because I lost by a big margin for the same reasons. I lost a few hits on my attack off the engarde line, this happened a bit in training in Rome before the competition as well. Another reason I lost hits was because of my focus on preparation and distance parries off the engarde line. I need to focus on moving further away from my comfort zone and fast backwards acceleration.
- Fourth and Fifth Match: I am pairing these two matches together as well because in both my movement was much better but I lost silly hits in the fourth match due to bad execution (it was messy) and the same attack from engarde in the fifth match. The fifth match was against the top seed in my poule (ranked no 21 in the world) so this match proves I can fence at this level, I just need to translate this into physical results.
- Sixth Match: This match had very messy handwork like the fourth match and it really seemed like I had run out of steam. I think a little confidence goes a long way at this stage in the poule rounds.
My initial analysis identified 3 main problems: 1) Loss of the attack from the engarde line 2) Little movement from the engarde line comfort zone and no backwards acceleration 3) Messy handwork
- Loss of the attack from the engarde line: I mentioned before that I had picked up on this in training in Rome before the competition, the feedback I received then was that I am not moving far enough forward for it to look like my attack. This reflects that fact that the speed and acceleration FORWARD of the feet plays a major role in the determination of the attack in sabre. This loss of the attack against technically better fencers means I need to focus on not necessarily FASTER movement forward with the feet but MORE movement forward.
- Little movement from engarde: This is partly mental and technical. Mentally I did not feel confident to move beyond my favourite game of preparation forward from the engarde line to draw an attack and parry and riposte. As such I need to practice moving more in practice in Rome and apply this game to extended distance situations. In training I need to develop confidence my practicing continuously outside of my comfort zone and not just practicing what I can do to be perfect at it. Secondly, I need to practice long distance attacks and fast acceleration backwards. Feedback from coaches in regards to this suggest that my feet are too far apart and I don't push back far enough and that I am too heavy on my feet in preparation. Consequently, this week is going to have a heavy focus on footwork where I can try and apply these coaches suggestions to aid my technical improvement.
- Messy handwork: As well as the feet moving forward far in the attack the hand needs to be relaxed and smooth. I find that my hand tends to hold back from the finish of the attack and my technical proficiency in compound attacks in lacking. As a result, this week's focus on top of more footwork is some compound blade work. This is also going to be addressed by me taking lessons with coaches in Rome (which I am super excited about :))
I have added a refereeing analysis because sabre is a priority weapon and therefore the referees play a huge role in determining the winners and losers of a bout. These are my observations from Orleans.
- The main determining factor for separating attacks from the engarde lines is the feet. Who begins with the feet? And who moves forward well?
- However, the referees appear to have also been told to not focus only on the feet but on the arm as well. Consequently, there is a very indistinct line between an attack and counterattack and an attack in preparation. The main lesson to take away from this is the attack must move forward far with the feet but the hand CANNOT be left behind and must flow through the attack.
So I have a training plan for the next two and half weeks involving more footwork, handwork and lessons. Bouting practice is now about putting myself outside of my comfort zone and moving around the piste much more. Now to put the hard work in! :)