On 20th and 21st December 2022, British Fencing’s Athlete Development Programme (ADP) hosted a training camp for foilists. Here’s our report of what the fencers got up to across those two days.
Day one of the Foil ADP Camp at the Leon Paul Centre in London of course started with a warm-up for all fencers in attendance lead by coaches Michal Janda, Richard Kruse and Ben Peggs. This proved effective, and readied all participants for a morning Zumba session that meant that anyone that was feeling a bit low-energy beforehand was ready to get going. After 45 minutes of Zumba, it was then time for the fencers to get into their gear, don their masks and pick up a foil. The morning fencing session provided the opportunity for fencers to focus on their footwork.
We were delighted that both days of the camp featured Marcus Mepstead, BF’s highest ranked fencer and recent FIE World Cup medallist as a mentor for younger fencers. Day one saw Marcus deliver one-to-one sparring sessions and individual feedback to fencers, followed by a presentation for all fencers, coaches and staff. This presentation focused on big picture preparation for competitions, as well as providing a lot of advice on how to manage fencing with the demands of school and university work. Marcus continued to provide individual feedback throughout the afternoon with all fencers getting the opportunity to fence one another is sparring sessions.
After the camp, Marcus said “It was great to work with some of the younger generation of athletes and help them prepare for the rest of the season and their careers ahead. Hopefully the work we did over the past two days can motivate and encourage them to find the best versions of themselves.” You can read more about Marcus’s participation in the camp here.
Day two kicked off with some more high energy warm-ups, the first focusing on communication and team work before being turned on it’s head with a warm-up testing speed and agility on an individual level. After another high energy Zumba session, fencers then had the opportunity to build on their focus on footwork from the previous day.
Marcus Mepstead again delivered one-to-one sparring sessions, and delivered a second presentation, this time focussing on the specifics of competition preparation. He discussed his advice for dealing with jetlag and the use of markers and checkpoints as tools to prepare in the weeks leading up to an international competition.
Sparring continued throughout the afternoon under the guidance of the ADP coaches. The camp drew to a close with a yoga session. This session was designed to particularly focus on stretching and cooling down after a hard day (or in this case, two hard days) of intense training.
The Foil ADP Camp will be followed by an Epee and Sabre ADP Camp next week, taking place in Nottingham from 28th to 30th December 2022.
The Athlete Development Programme (ADP) is a six weapon programme that exists to support athletes in achieving Olympic success and inspiring others. It covers athletes from age 15 to 35 (and beyond for those performing at Olympic level) who are moving through a defined development pathway to success at the highest level of fencing. Find out more about the programme here.
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