Thursday 14 January 2010

Sport Psychology Fencing Webinar

Tonight Fencing.Net put on its first webinar on fencing.

It was presented by Dr. John Heil (pictured) from Roanoke, California.

Dr. Heil is a sports psychologist and the chairman of the Sports Science, Safety and Technology Committee for the U.S. Fencing Association. His clinical practice focuses on pain and injury management.

Many books and talks on sport psychology are on sports and competition in general. It was great to have a session dealing specifically on my sport of fencing.

Tonight's session was on "focus" before a tournament, before a bout, between points and between matches. Much of it was fairly general but quite helpful.

He spoke of how the mind needs to be trained as much as the body in order to succeed. We learned that we need to identify our "zone" and the need to apply relaxation techniques when overhyped and activate ourselves when underhyped.

I usually start a tournament slow so need to use some of the techniques he spoke of to bring myself up to my zone before bout 1. As a tournament goes on, I can get overhyped, with a need to settle myself down and he discussed how to tend to this.

Much of it is done in advance and a person needs to know and realize their levels of concentration and how well they handle distraction.

The presentation lasted about 50 minutes and there was a question and answer session afterwards which was quite helpful. During one answer, Dr. Heil shifted the focus to veteran fencers (oldsters) and how to go through a mental checklist to recognize and ensure that injured areas are not tensing up in anticipation of the action ahead. I sure appreciated that!

I was quite happy to learn that much of what he said about controlling yourself during a match I already do. Seems I am already on the road but have work to do.

Next time puts on a webinar, I'll be there, listening hard and taking notes.

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