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Deep breathing and music helps to calm Fencing athletes
14 February 2016


FENCING, Advanced Core workshop; 14 February 2016

Department of Sport and Recreation

story by Andrew Ford, Water Polo WAIS scholarship holder


On Sunday 14th February a large group of aspiring young athletes met at the Department of Sport and Recreation. With two previous seminars under their belt, they were more than comfortable with the interactive environment. Straight from the get-go their contributions showed great understanding of the challenges of being an athlete – both in and out of their sport. It was a great pleasure to work with a group that enjoyed working next to each other so much.


To begin we spoke about the origin of stress as a primal instinct used by our ancestors for survival. For athletes stress is a part of our lives but the source of our stress in vastly different. Much of the session was focusing on the sources of stress and techniques which can be used to manage it. The group was taught that it is not a bad influence but an excess or lack of stress can result in reduced performance.


Following speaking about expectations in competition the seminar moved onto management techniques. It was positive to see that many of the group had already begun to utilise methods such as listening to music and deep breathing. A progressive muscle relaxation session was both embraced as a new way to deal with pre-competition anxiety and an opportunity to relax and regroup. The final method of visualisation is one that the group had not had much experience with in the past. It is an odd process that can be utilised to free the mind of negative thoughts or envisage a winning point. I was able to preach to effectiveness of this method and the group seemed excited to try it in the future.


The last item of the seminar was to guide the athletes through some goal setting. Most young athletes will know of goal setting but the important lesson learnt was that knowing where you want to get to is only half the process. The most important thing to do is to decide how you will achieve this.


The skills learnt in the developing champions workshops will not only assist the group achieve sporting success but also help them strive to success in other areas of their lives.

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