British Fencing launched their partnership with Sport England with the aim of investing in and creating a Talent Pathway to provide young talented athletes with the opportunity to access World Class provision and move through a logical system to maximise their opportunity to be the best they can be.
In 2013, we introduced the two National Talent Programmes – The ‘Talent Identification & Confirmation (TIC) Programme’ and the ‘Talent Programme’, aiming to create an environment for talented athletes to excel echoing the philosophy of the World-Class programmes so they can aspire to be the next generation of world-beaters. This approach also aims to increase the quality and depth of talent at Junior and Cadet levels in order to achieve our mission of providing an oversupply of the right quality of athletes to enable medal targets to be met at a performance level.
Talent Identification and Confirmation Programme (TIC)
This programme represents the first stage of the performance pathway and is an extended assessment programme whereby an athlete’s talent characteristics are carefully verified, prior to stepping up onto the Talent Programme or returning back to a club environment. This includes the examination of an athlete’s coachability, responsiveness to the training stimulus, and adaptation to a high performance environment. Athletes can remain on this programme for three to 12 months, whilst noting that exceptions to these timescales may occur for very young fencers that were recruited early onto this programme. The TIC programme also allows athletes to make an informed judgement about the Olympic journey ahead and whether this is a route they want to commit to.
This programme represents the second stage of the performance pathway for talented fencers. Fencers on the Talent programme have been confirmed either through a direct assessment process or via the TIC programme as having the key attributes that if developed further could lead to the athlete becoming a world-class fencer. This programme underpins the World Class Podium Potential Programme and seeks to add value to an athlete’s development because they have demonstrated significant commitment and performance potential. Athletes will be given up to three years on this programme, whilst noting that exceptions may occur, before we would expect them to demonstrate the necessary attributes to enable them to move up the World Class pathway (should places be available).
TIC and Talent– what does it offer an athlete?
The aim of the two talent programmes is to deliver a structured development programme to identified young fencers, providing a high performance experience we can foster and support to promote success on the world stage.
How do athletes progress to the next stages of the Talent Pathway?
If athletes are selected onto one of the Talent Programmes they will be continually monitored and supported through their development plan to ensure they are making every effort to continuously develop. When the Talent Team believes that an athlete has attained the standard across the various elements they will have the opportunity to move up the pathway (noting places at podium potential and podium are limited and a space must be available).
Can athletes move off the Talent Pathway?
If athletes are indicating signs of slow or no development across a sustained period of time, the athlete’s position within the squad will be reviewed through the development plan reviews. If an athlete exits a programme, opportunities will arise to be reassessed if improvements have been made.
How many places are available in each programme?
Places are allocated based on the number of athletes that meet the standard the Talent Team are looking for. It is the programme objective to ensure we have as many athletes, at the correct high standard required, to enter the World Class Performance Programme. However, based on coaching and management resource, these number have to be managed to ensure we maintain maximum impact in the squads.