Have you ever had a problem that you can’t seem to think your way through? I mean, something that seriously affects your success at work or school? In school, it might be that you just can’t seem to understand math and you need math to graduate or at work, perhaps your co-worker is the biggest drama queen that has ever lived but you need her support to complete a project on time. Most people think that fencing isn’t really a career but it has been my career for 12 years. As with most careers there are hills and valleys but you have to hope the trend line has a positive slope. With a great deal of confidence, I can say that my fencing career has had a positive slope. While that is true, I am struggling with one major problem: winning in PRIORITY*. Flash back to the 2012 London Olympics in the Bronze medal bout with the Russian team. If you remember that bout (and if you don’t, you can still find it on You Tube) in the final bout, I scored the winning touch in the PRIORITY period. YIPPEE! We won a Bronze medal. Life couldn’t get any better. Fast forward to the Rio Olympics, in almost an identical situation (albeit not the Bronze medal bout), I lost the PRIORITY touch against Romania (btw, I also lost in PRIORITY in my individual bout in Rio). As the anchor for the USA women’s epee team, my discomfort with PRIORITY situations is a real problem.
I am determined to overcome the fear of PRIORITY! My goal for this season is to work on developing a strategy to overcome it; to marginalize it and to wipe it off the face of the earth! I’m open to your ideas! If you have strategies that you have utilized to conquer this fear, please send them to me (you can comment on this blog post or send me a message on Facebook or Instagram. More to come! Check back to see what I’m working on!!
*[For you, non-fencers out there, PRIORITY occurs when regulation time has ended and the score is tied. The referee flips a coin and the fencer who wins the coin toss, has PRIORITY. The fencers then have one more minute to fence and if no touch is scored (rarely ever happens) then the fencer with priority wins. However, this is a “sudden death” period where the fencer who scores the first touch, wins.]