The Athlete Behaviour Framework

As GBR athletes represent themselves, their sport and their country it is important at all times to promote a positive image consistent with socially expected behaviours.  It is also recognised that there are underlying sociological and psychological factors that may contribute to athlete behaviour both positively and negatively.

As athletes progress on their development journey, poor decisions and mistakes happen. The Athlete Behaviour Framework has been created to act as a guide to inform and support athletes in making positive choices which in turn supports their development as a performance athlete.

It is noted that misconduct among professional athletes is not uncommon across sport, often publicised by the media.  This negative publicity is particularly damaging to the public image of the athlete but also the reputation of the associated sport, sponsors and potential sponsors.

In addition, athletes tell us that the behaviour of their team-mates matters and can have an impact (both positive and negative) on their performance. Whether at squad training or at World Championships. Creating and implementing a framework for expected common behaviours makes it more likely that we can create positive performance environments for all athletes in the GBR squad.

Most athletes as they develop will, with the support of those around them demonstrate these behaviours and their underpinning values on and off piste. But we recognise that not all athletes will know and understand what is expected in all situations and the associated risks involved. It is important that support is provided to help the athlete navigate situations and make positive choices (and of course avoid potential misconduct).  It provides a prevention rather than a deterrent approach.


Value: Honesty

Definition: Providing and receiving constructive feedback while acknowledging it might feel uncomfortable to receive and/or give.

Actions (What tells me? I..):

  • Engage in self-reflection
  • Participate in peer-review among fencers
  • Am honest and precise in the evaluation of my performance
  • Take credit when something is done right
  • Acknowledge when something has gone wrong
  • Display honesty and precision in assessing daily, weekly, season-based progress
  • Self-review video post-training and post-competition
  • Discuss with my coach if I am/or am thinking of receiving input from elsewhere
  • Have honest conversations around commitment and potential


Value: Respect

Definition: Value others’ perspectives and treat people as they would like to be treated.

Actions (What tells me? I..):

  • Take all opinions on board
  • Understand my views may be different to others and do not impose my views
  • Ask other coaches/referees/fencers for their feedback and listen
  • Respect individual differences
  • Discuss with my personal coach if I’d like to work with/take lessons from other coaches before taking action
  • Am never abusive to other athletes, coaches or referees
  • Turn up in time for training
  • Shake hands (where appropriate)
  • Greet others on the piste at every bout
  • Tidy up after myself

Value: Accountability

Definition: I do what I say I will do and I take responsibility for the outcome.

Actions (What tells me? I..):

  • Own up to mistakes/ take credit where credit is due
  • Precisely evaluate actions and outcome
  • Fail and learn from the experience
  • Agree on goals for training session and season
  • Recognise outcomes of actions
  • Take ownership of time management, equipment, preparation for events
  • Commit to a training and competition programme


Value: Teamwork

Definition: Sharing skills and capabilities.  Work as a unit and complement each other.

Actions (What tells me? I..):

  • Support other fencers at competitions – even when eliminated or competing against each other for selection
  • Support teammates and stay to watch their matches – even in other weapons
  • Stay in kit to help other fencers warm-up/spar
  • Help other fencers succeed by providing advice and help
  • Know my limitations and when to ask for help
  • Share learning and knowledge
  • Understand how I can best support each member of my team (e.g. during matches) and let them know how they can help me


Value: Excellence

Definition: A standard that uses BF values as a measuring tool for how well growth and development of coaches, athletes and staff is encouraged and exercised.

Actions (What tells me? I..):

  • Am Respectful – demonstrated to every individual
  • Focus on processes, seeking to be the best version of myself through Incremental Improvement
  • Match behaviour with values
  • Have ownership – take responsibility for my actions
  • Learn quickly – from mistakes
  • Speak with a consistency of purpose, honestly and kindly
  • Display a positive attitude & commitment to development
  • Make the most of every moment
  • Flexibility  – Be willing to do things differently


Whilst this behaviour framework is athlete focussed, a Coaches Behaviour Framework has been in place since 2018. This is designed to support the coaches in creating the training and competition environment where athlete can demonstrate the behaviours described above. For example, running sessions with fencers where they can gain an understanding on how best to support team member and state how they like to be supported. These insights allow appropriate support to be given.


Return to the Weapons Framework Page to find out more about the Weapons Framework.

Return to the Pathway Zone to find out more about the Athlete Development Pathway.

Return to ‘The ADP Zone‘ to find out more information about the work that we do.




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