Monday, 29 November 2010

Mobile Fencing (with Apple iPhone & iPod touch)

From: Harry Calder

Here is a quick review of some good iPhone (and iPod touch) apps for fencing on the app store.


This app is a score counter to be used during a match. It has a lovely interface, smooth graphics and cool sound effects. It doesn't have all the features of a paid app such as a pool sheet and it took me a minute to work out how to change the names of fencers from the standard left and right, but considering it's priced at nothing it's definitely worth getting if you don't want to pay. (7/10, A solid app, but lacking some features of the paid ones.)

Score Counter

This app isn't quite as smooth as its rival Fence. It doesn't have any features such as saving bouts and naming fencers, and the graphics are pretty poor. It looks as if the buttons have been copied and pasted off the Internet and it makes a weird sound when you tap them. This app has been put together shoddily and I wouldn't recommend it if you are going to go with a free app. (5/10, Functional, but not extensive or pretty)


FencingRef (£1.19)

This app is a really, really good way of keeping score in fencing. Whereas the others are all more of novelties than actually useful apps, this one really does make refereeing bouts easier. You can make pools of up to 8 fencers in the program itself and name the fencers in the pool. It then automatically sequences the bouts and takes you to the scoring screen with the names of the fencers on the top and the ability to switch the sides they are on to avoid confusion. If you double tap the time in the middle the start/stop button enlarges to make it easier to stop quickly and the buttons are very quick and responsive. There are shortcuts to different times on the clock and it also has an injury time clock. Hopefully you won't need to use them, but it also includes cards, so no more fumbling around in your pocket. (9.8/10, Really great, but support for odd numbers and more people in the pools would certainly be nice)

If you have £1.20 spare then I would definitely go with fencing ref, but otherwise fence is the one to go for. I will add to this article as I discover more apps and have the money to buy them, as most fencing apps are paid, but in my opinion FencingRef is one of the best out there.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

New Sunday Training Schedule

All fencers to arrive at 9.50am ready to start at 10am.
Junior School fencers fininh at 1pm (or anytime until 2pm if they want to practice).
Senior School fencers to finish at 2pm.

All fencers will recieve an individual lesson every week.
Fencers to bring water, snack bar and training diaries.

9.50am Fencers arrive
10.00am Senior fencers – S&C in gym (JR)
10.00am Junior Fencers - warm up game / fitness in hall (TOC)
10.30am Footwork (CG and TOC)
11.00am Group work - weapon groups, performance, fitness etc (CG KD TOC JR)
12.30pm Team talk
12.40pm Individual Junior lesson lead by senior fencers
1.00pm Individual Senior lesson lead by coach & free fencing (CG TOC KD EG)
2.00pm Finish

Eltham College to host the Kent U16 and senior boys/girls Championships

As the new Secretary of the Kent County Amateur Fencing Union, I have been asked to host and run the U16 and senior boys/girls Kent Championships on 16th January 2011 (the school's Secretary is abroad with the GB U17 squad for this event).
This is a 3 weapon competition and entrants must be over 14 years* and be full time in senior school, (*i.e. not be eligible to enter the U14 event in May).
Entry to the competition is through

Young Official Piste Assistants Award
For Senior School ECfencers we are running the Young Official Piste Assistants Award during the competition which includes scoring, timekeeping, writing pool sheets and assisting the referees and competition organisers.
We won’t be able to accept non-ECfencers for this award but hopefully we will be able to in the future.
Cost for course is £5 (cheques only please payable to British Fencing).
Please contact Tim if you wish to enrol your son for the award.

Parents needed to help
ECfencing parents will be needed to help with setting up, providing hot and cold refreshments throughout the day and generally marshalling the event.
Please contact Tim if you can help on the day.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Jon Rhodes’s FAQ’s

This article will allow us at Eltham College Fencing to offer best practice to our fencers, parents and our website followers.

My son trains 3 times a week – is this enough?
YES! There are two prominent ways a fencer drops out – injury from overtraining and/or burnout. Twice a week is perfect for fencing training for children in the junior school (U11). In the senior school we aim for three times per week. We hope the fencers play other sports too. Being a multi-sports player will help with coordination, physiological development and athleticism.

Will my son develop a big front leg and forearm from fencing?
Fencing is an “asymmetric” sport and there may be muscular developments on prominent sides. However this is due to incorrect training. Our aim is not just to make your children into fencers, but we aim to make your children into athletes first. We recommend your children play other sports too – swimming is probably best to physiologically develop.

My son doesn’t eat or drink during competitions – is that normal?
Yes, very normal but don’t panic! Eating small amounts will help with energy levels – but remember that there is enough energy (fat/carbs/protein) in your body to run a marathon without eating for around 2 weeks!!! The most important factor is HYDRATION. A 2% (per Kg of body weight) loss of sweat will result in a decrease in performance. A sports drink will have carbohydrates inside; so will provide as much energy as a sandwich. As you are fully aware, fencing clothes SMELL – and children will often lose (around) 1 litre per HOUR! The best investment you will ever make is to buy your child a water bottle, saving £1000’s per year.

Will caffeine help my child?
Caffeine is a stimulant so will provide some benefits to fencing. Red Bull contains Tourine which is currently on the banned substance list, thus cannot be taken for sport – although it is very unlikely your child will be tested for drugs unless they win an International event. I always try to ensure our fencers train like they compete so the best way to equip a lunch box is to just keep doing what you are doing – ensuring there is a water bottle present.

Which fencing shoes are the best?
Whilst Psycho wears Hi-Tech squash shoes with lots of grip when doing footwork, Trout wears Nike Ballestras which provides stability when recovering. Elf has recently been wearing Adidas D’Artagnan which are specialised for lunging and Rabbit wears New Balance trainers which he assures me are very comfortable! I didn’t know the answer to this question so I asked an expert! I have been informed that it is best for “youngsters” (U21) to wear a shoe that has lots of grip for lunging and recovery during footwork. “In the 16 years I have been fencing the best shoe is the AdiStar which provides sufficient grip and is comfortable”. At the time, the World top 10 fencer was wearing the Leon Paul Hi-Tech Scimitar shoe on his front foot and an Adidas AdiStar shoe on his back foot. I asked him “was it dark when you got up this morning?” and he replied, “I slide my back-foot and the AdiStar allows me to do so effectively…the Leon Paul provides grip when I explode into a lunge”. The solution may be to wear odd shoes, but for our fencers it’s best to go for grip!

My child gets nervous before he competes, how can I control this?
Nerves are good! Butterflies are a physiological indication that you are going to have to behave in a certain way – this will allow the fencer to prepare for performance. However, as all psychologists know, too much anxiety can be perceived as a “catrastrophy to performance”. The parent and coach are performers too – let me explain. If you panic over your child they will panic too – “mirroring”! If you are calm they will mirror you and their anxiety will drop. It is the parents/coaches Performance that impacts on the fencer. It is the job of the sport psychology consultant – me – to provide your child with tools to deal with anxiety and maintaining focus. Excellent ways of controlling nerves are music, positive self-talk, imagery, performance routines, goal setting and training diaries – all of which your child knows about.

What age should my child be going to the gym?
Every week EC Fencing dedicates 20 minutes to technique development. We practice back squats, front squats, overhead squats, lunges, scapular retraction, PNF stretching and plyometrics. It is our aim to make your children athletes, not just fencers! These exercises are completed with no weights. It is most beneficial for children to start weight training after puberty to ensure bone growth is maximised. Cardiovascular exercises can be completed throughout childhood and we provide an intense cardio workout during Sunday training. Plyometrics are completed on rubber/spring flooring and kept to 50 bounds per training session – although fencing is a plyometrics exercise.

Please leave comments below if you would like other questions discussed.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Smarter Goals Can Increase Performance

From: Andy (Web Admin)

The HighPerformance.Pro web site (operated in part by coaches Jon and Katie) has a great series of articles about sport psychology methods that can be used to optimise performance (in and out of sport).The first article is entitled Smarter Goals Can Increase Performance and considers the motivational tool of goal setting (how setting specific and attainable goals can help motivate and improve confidence). Recommended reading for fencers and parents alike!

Monday, 8 November 2010

Mobile Fencing (with Google Android)

From: Jordan Ratcliffe (Team Manager)

I recently got a phone that uses Google Android (it's an LG Optimus GT540). It's a good phone, but more interestingly there are a lot of apps available to run on Android, so I thought I'd have a look for some fencing-related apps. I went to Android Market on my phone and searched for fencing. Two apps caught my eye: Fencing ScoreKeeper and Riposte. So I downloaded them and gave them a try. Here are my findings and recommendations.

Fencing ScoreKeeper
It’s nicely presented with a small logo of a sword on your desktop and is free to boot so no worries about wasting your money.

When you initially load it up it will bombard you with an ad for the full version with extra features and afterwards it will be equally irritating for your eyes because of the large bright green digital numbers and a painter's pallet of penalty card buttons.

It’s nice and easy to use, with no instructions needed and gives you all the information you need in that soothing shade of fluorescent green. Some of the buttons do seem a little small but are remarkably easy to use. Unfortunately however, the score only goes up to five without paying $3 for an upgrade which is just a hassle.

You can read more about Fencing ScoreKeeper on the authors' web site (42solutions).

Overall it does everything you need, it’s just a bit in-your-face sometimes and doesn’t allow you to do direct elimination fights although you could do some improvisation, again its just a hassle.

Like Scorekeeper, Riposte has a nifty, stylish logo and comes free.

Although when you load it up it also gives you a message, it gives some instructions on how to use it instead which is helpful because this app is a little more complicated.

Again, it is actually quite simple to use although you do need to read the message to know how to lower the score (press and hold the fencer’s score you want to lower), determine priority and start a new bout. The display has a black background which is a bit boring but definitely an improvement and the features have ample room and clear font which is easy on the eyes. To get to some features you need to press the options menu button on your phone (on my phone it looks a bit like a square) to open a menu which lets you start a new round and also has a settings page which lets you change sounds, vibrations etc. Sadly you can’t change the period and like Scorekeeper the score only goes up to 5. Unfortunately, there isn't an upgrade to up the score.

The Outcasts
I did try some other apps such as Masque Mobile and Arbitroid but didn't like any of them for the following reasons. Fencing Score and Masque Mobile both had to be paid for which is understandable (everyone has to make money) but simply can't compare to an app that is free! Although Arbitroid was free I just didn't like the layout and found it a little clunky and difficult.

The Case of the Disappearing App
I have heard reports that Riposte is no longer on the Android marketplace but I have checked and it is, so you can put down your binoculars.

Overall, Riposte is very easy to understand, has more features and is quite attractive and so definitely gets my recommendation.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Elliott Grover joins EC coaching staff!

During October half term Elliott Grover passed the Level 1 Coaching Awards in both foil and epee.
The Eltham coaches and fencers are all very proud of his achievement and look forward to Elliott developing our fencers as he takes on his new role.

Elliott started fencing at 10 years old when fencing was re-introduced to the school and he quickly became hooked with the sport.
His pro-active attitude and high level of commitment has been an inspiration from the start and has been the secret behind the success of the teams continued development. It is fair to say that the team has grown up with Elliott.
There is probably not a single fencer or coach at Eltham who hasn’t benefitted from Elliott’s advice, whether at training or at competition.

Elliott, who is currently ranked 52nd in epee in Great Britain, has assisted with coaching the younger fencers at the school for the past 4 years and is also a level 1 epee referee and has passed 2 modules of the Journeyman Armourers award. He is now the youngest teacher on the school payroll!

Ells hasn’t forgotten that he is a fencer first; he still trains hard and competes in Cadet, Junior & Open competitions.

Pictures from the coaching course are here.

Congratulations to Katie “Mum” Dolan

From the BF website:

“British Fencing is pleased to announce that it has appointed Katie Dolan as Events Coordinator.

Katie will be responsible for supporting a range of events, inlcuding the National Academy and our domestic and international competition programme. Katie will also work to support the Competitions and Calendars Committee, currently being recruited.”

Well done Katie from everyone at ECfencing!

Elite Epee 1 – results

Andrew Hughes – Bronze
Adam Whitelaw – 5th place
Ben Ellis – 15th place
Oakley Hill-Smith – 25th place

Jordan Ratcliffe – 37th place