10/04/2024- ADP Camps


Between the 2nd and 4th April 2024, fencers of all weapons travelled to Nottingham for the British Fencing Athlete Development Programme (ADP) camp.

Epeeists give group feedback.


The BF Athlete Development Programme 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. The ADP is founded on the strategic principles of fencer-centred, development-driven, competition-supported.

The April 2024 ADP camp took place at the Jubilee Campus, University of Nottingham. On the first day, we welcomed a new cohort of fencers to the ADP. We also welcomed those from the DiSE (Diploma in Sporting Excellence) programme, a Level 3 qualification designed for fencers who have the realistic potential to achieve excellence. The programme covers all areas of training, supporting athlete development and helping them to gain a UCAS-recognised qualification on completion. Learn more about the DiSE programme here: Diploma in Sporting Excellence

After learning the RAMP (Raise, Activate, Mobilise, Potentiate) warm-up, fencers took part in the YO-YO test. The aim of the YO-YO test was to encourage fencers to focus on overcoming their nervousness and fear of tests, rather than worrying about their results or times.

FIE referee Dr Mike Selig helps to coach the sabre group.


Following these introductions and warm-ups, the fencers took part in weapon-specific activities. Epee focused on the principles of movement using footwork, and fencers were reminded of the three R’s (Rehab, Rehydrate, Refuel) throughout. They were then observed sparring in a ladder under timed conditions, before finally taking part in a guided cool-down with an explanation of its principles (such as injury prevention). Foil, meanwhile, focused on general goal-setting and training standards, as well as learning cycles. This was then put into practice through structured sparring sessions, accompanied by feedback from the coaching team. For sabre, fencers took part in tactical work in the middle, considering how deep or shallow their start needed to be depending on what they wanted to achieve.

On day two, the group began with a warm-up before moving on to weapon-specific activities. Epee took a 360-approach to movement, footwork technique and patterns, with fencers using their mobile phones to review and correct any areas for improvement. They also delivered feedback to each other in groups. Afternoon sessions focused on point control, again making use of group feedback. This method encouraged concentration and increased the fencers’ awareness of movement and point control. Throughout all of these activities, emphasis continued to be placed on the three R’s.

For the foilists, day two once again featured conversation around goal-setting; yet this time athletes considered the difference between process goals and outcome goals, in addition to short-, medium- and long-term goals in both training and performance. They then covered technical and tactical discipline in order to reduce unforced errors. Learning cycles were also discussed, with fencers thinking about how we move through difference stages and at what stages we can expect to use new elements in competition. Finally, fencers took part in functional movement drills to increase body capacity and therefore tolerate load.

The sabre group kept their focus in the middle, this time looking at attack vs. stop-go (reprise) through technical workshops and box-work scenarios delivered by coaches. This work was reinforced through video analysis and a referee seminar delivered by Dr Mike Selig, FIE referee and BF-accredited mentor.

At the end of day two, fencers and coaches took part in a mindfulness session guided by Kirstie Urwin from The True Athlete Project (TAP). TAP takes a holistic approach to athlete development, delivering mindfulness-based programmes to athletes and coaches alike. Kirstie will be supporting the GBR squad at the upcoming Cadet & Junior World Championships in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, by playing a wellbeing role and encouraging athletes to manage the moment in high intensity competition environments. Learn more about TAP here: https://www.thetrueathleteproject.org/

Kirstie Urwin from The True Athlete Project leads a mindfulness exercise with the athletes.


Following some morning warm-ups, the athletes once again broke off into weapon-specific groups for the final day of the camp. After recapping what they had covered on the previous day, the epeeists participated in physical drills using elastic bands, cones and ladders. They also used light-reaction pods in order to enhance their reaction time.

Athletes then competed in controlled poule fights, with the seeding being used to create team matches to 27. Bouts of 3 hits were used in order to increase competitiveness. Mixed-gender competition and training were used throughout. Once again, fencers were reminded of the three R’s during these activities.

Foil also made use of competition, putting into practice the topics covered during the previous two days. Fencers competed in teams with added distraction elements in order to simulate a real competition environment, making them more accustomed to performing in high-pressure situations. Feedback was again given by coaches throughout the day.

The sabre group likewise took part in competition. They were tested on their understanding of the previous days’ topics both through the execution of actions and making the correct calls as a referee, with support from coaches and Dr Selig.

Throughout the camp, fencers were joined by Senior foilists Kamal Minott and Will Lonsdale, who offered their insights and sparred with the athletes. Junior fencer Ed Scott Payne also helped to coach the epee group.

Kamal Minott helps to coach and support the foil group.


Fencers also took the World Anti-Doping Agency Play True quiz and UK Anti-Doping Complete Clean+ course, for the chance to win some prizes. The winner who completed the quiz in the quickest time was epeeist Emma Mitsova. Athletes can learn more about clean sport and complete the course by visiting the UKAD website: https://www.ukad.org.uk/

Foilist David Kelly completes the World Anti-Doping Agency Play True quiz.


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