Surviving to competition day, shake on it?

I was once told that, in addition to all the handwork, dedication and training, all the talent and time devoted, that health and luck still play an important role in getting to that podium.

Somehow you need to be healthy on that day, free from injury. Who among your peers on that fateful day also made it past all the obstacles only to have injury or illness on that competition day? See the luck part? It all is part of a greater passion play I guess, on who finally gets to wear the laurel crown

I recently felt heartbreak when several of my students failed to attend an important qualifying event. Goals shattered, at least for the moment. Thankfully they are young and resilient and will move on. So what happened?
Flu season falls squarely in competition season. Students solely focused on their training, go to classes despite their emerging symptoms, only to spread the malady and soon ……. ugh!

Things happen, it’s true. We can however hedge our bets by precaution and mindfulness …… Oh yeah, and flu shots. Hard training effects the body we all know. Some of us are unaware however, that hard training can also reduce our immune system, at least for a period while our body recovers. This window of infectious opportunity is when we most need to be on guard. In fencing, we are in close proximity to our peers and shake hands constantly, as we must. I suggest that upon entering a bout, we be required to have two working epee, body cords, mask, jacket, plastron and hand sanitizer. Could I add that, proof of flu shot, be required for registration? I’m only half joking. As your date with destiny gets closer, I suggest you avoid sick people when possible, and the public in general, and that you may wish to wash your hands obsessively. Live a healthy lifestyle, eat well, sleep well. Living inside a “closed eco system”, or unused underground bunker may not be unwarranted, if you personally understand the nature of this years flu. Nasty it is!

Injury, in my opinion athletic injuries can and should be avoided. Often these injuries are result of overtraining, or improper technique. This can be a fine line I understand as we choose how far to push ourselves. It is therefore vital that we are fully aware an a daily basis of how our body reacts to our stress load. We must allow for full recovery between training sessions and modify our training schedule accordingly. Massage is very helpful for the athlete in both recovery and in evaluation of our muscular conditions. Tight illiotibial fascia, also known as the IT band, is a hard to stretch area that can, if not addressed, lead to injury and is easily observed by a massage therapist. Stretching is best done when muscles are warm. I suggest two stretching sessions, one after warm up and one at the end of your work out.

I also am surprised by many injures athletes suffer in activities unrelated to their sport. High on this list, I hear of something referred to as
“just fooling around”. Let us refer to this as “JFA”. JFA seems to be the number one cause of stupid injuries. I hope you won’t find me to much of a “downer” to suggest that your JFA, should be reduced in correlation to your ability to recover from such foolishness and your upcoming competition schedule.

So with a bit of planing, and some behavior modification, we can reduce our chances of calamities, such as we see befall
Wile E. Coyote in the the Roadrunner, that safe can fall from the sky at any time. It’s up to us to stand aside.

drive safe,
coach Geoff