It is my firm belief that a coach should not point out more problems than the fencer can reasonably deal with at the stage of his development, and that pointing out more problems than that is directly counterproductive to his development. Also, it is my belief that the coach should not spend an inordinate time deciding which problems to point out in order to get a perfect list. Instead, the coach should choose a small list (probably not more than 3, or for more advanced fencer 4) of problems to work on. As long as the problems come with solutions that the fencer understands and can implement, then the coach can choose more or less whichever problems he notices first, and then save the problems that did not make the list for later.
There was a quite significant improvement of the results for the student after the three problems were pointed out. This was entirely due to an improvement of his decisiveness – there was only minor improvement of the elbow positioning, and none whatsoever of the front foot angle. This is good – if an improvement of only one issue causes a significant overall improvement, then what will happen once the student manages to improve several issues at once?
In the pause, I had pointed out to the student that he was trying to create a perfect final situation before starting his final offensive motion, but that this worked against him since he wasted time and thus lost the inititative against a more experienced fencer. I pointed out that it is not necessary to create a situation in which he hits his opponent while she does not hit him – it is sufficient that he hits her in such a way so that when she hits him her scoring ability is blocked out by the machine. I summed it up like this: ”Quick and good enough is always better than perfect and too late!”