Joining BF’s Athlete Development Programme

Last page updated 6th February 2024

Before applying to join the Athlete Development Programme please read the introduction to the programme here, which summarises the purpose, our values, and what we deliver. Please also take time to familiarise yourself with the Athlete Pathway. In particular the Pathway Stage Descriptions as your application to join the ADP will be assessed in relation to these.

The ADP is designed to support the development of athletes who have the attributes – including attitude, commitment and ability – to move up the Pathway to success at senior international level, specifically Senior World Championship and Olympic level.

Whilst results and rankings are a part of the application process, athletes are not automatically eligible to join the BF ADP simply based on results or rankings.

Applications will be assessed based on evidence relating to the Fencer Pathway Model and a number of the BF Pathway Stage Components such as:

  • Behaviour and Commitment
  • Adaptability & Decision Making
  • Technical Excellence
  • Age and stage appropriate ability to tolerate mental and physical load
  • Performance/Results
  • Training Environments
  • Support (Coaches, SS&M, Parents)
  • Competition Targets

The eligibility criteria to submit an application to apply to join the ADP are:

  • Birth Year of 2010 and below (2009, 2008 etc)
  • Satisfactory Disciplinary Record
  • Suitable performance level to demonstrate potential to achieve, this normally is demonstrated via the BF Ranking list

Applications at T3 level and above will typically be done on an invitation only basis supported by the ADP Coaching Leads. Athletes will still be required to provide the evidence described below aligned with the expectations of the Pathway Stage they are identifying with. If you are age 21 and over, at pathway stage T4 and above and are not already part of the ADP or receiving invites to camps please contact [email protected]

For athletes applying to join at T1/T2 pathway levels (Sport England funded pathway activities), there is an annual two stage application process.

Athletes with a ranking of top 15 (Cadet, Junior) or who have been selected to represent GBR at a Senior World Cup will be eligible  to submit an application.

The application window for the 2024 -2025 season is now open.  Reviews of the fencer on Pathway  will be undertaken and some invites to apply will be sent out to fencer, as well as the open application. The dates for the application window for the 2024-2025 season will be advertised on the British Fencing’s social media channels in due course.

Application Form – Click Here

The first stage of the T1/T2 application process will require athletes to provide:

  • Evidence of having an idea of where you want to get to, in and out of fencing, and some ideas of the steps need to get there
  • Evidence of goals for fencing, academics and other interests (process, performance, outcome) set and agreed with your coach
  • Evidence that you have in place a basic training and competition plan
  • Evidence that you have a suitable support structure in place (personal coach, parental/guardians support where appropriate)

Evidence should include:

  • A Personal Statement written by the athlete which provides in their own words their overarching values, motivation, and ambitions in fencing, education and/or professionally.
  • A Plan/profile including
    • An integrated training plan that you use to balance your different time commitments and responsibilities
    • A seasonal competition plan that matches your competition goals, with an associated understanding of costs.
    • A medium term (2-3 year) plan that aligns your fencing ambitions with other lifestyle factors (education, exams, work etc)
  • Parental Statement For athletes that are U18 a short (max 1 page) statement includes:
    • Parental values, motivation and ambitions for their child
    • Parental performance ethos and description of their role in their child’s fencing career.
    • A commitment to promoting athlete autonomy and problem solving, allowing athletes to develop ‘self-coaching skills’
    • Committed to supporting athletes to share feedback in a constructive manner to drive performance.

For athletes aged 18 and over it is the expectation of the programme that athletes are independent, resilient and manage their own interactions with the programme. For parents/guardians still intending to be involved with the administration and management of the athlete’s participation in the programme, please submit a parental statement as above plus a short explanation and description of if, how and when these responsibilities will be transferred to the athlete.

  • Support Staff/Coach CVs (with relevant qualifications and experience). As a minimum criteria the personal coaches of athletes wishing to join the ADP fencing coaches must be a minimum of Level 2 on the BF Coach Register (or their Federation equivalent), with a satisfactory disciplinary and safeguarding record.

Should an athlete be successful in the first stage they (along with their personal coach) will be invited to attend an assessment camp, normally held between Christmas and New Year. Additional information will be requested in advance of the camp including:

  • Video footage – taken in training and/or competition
  • Support Staff/Coach Personal Development Plans demonstrating a commitment to develop in performance athlete space and maintaining up to date knowledge.  Fencing coach PDPs should include plans to reach Level 4 and an Advanced Coaching status.

There is an additional opportunity to join the ADP via the Diploma in Sport Excellence (DiSE) programme, although the bulk of the places available are expected to be taken up by existing ADP fencers. The DiSE application window is usually open until the start of August. For further information on the programme Click Here.


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


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