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Thread: Junior Fencers/Coaches Take Note--New Junior Selection Policy- changes

  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by FencingMove View Post
    Agree, but also I think it's down to the infrastructure available to them. If you look at other countries, kids are able to go to the salle after school to practice everyday. Salles are owned and operated by coaches who see fencing as a legitimate full time job.

    Whilst there are a couple of examples of this being the case in the UK there are simply not enough clubs like this catching enough kids to give them the opportunities their European/US cousins have.

    Yes it's a matter of dedication and commitment, I think those elements are probably the principle ingredients of a good athlete, but our youngsters also need the facilities to channel their dedication effectively. This, in my opinion is where the NGB should be focusing it's efforts.

    Set up more salles across the country, set up centres of excellence with maximum catchment areas with fully funded, full time coaches which are open more than three days a week. Give our youngsters a chance to demonstrate their dedication.

    This should be the priority above all else at the moment. Just look at the (relative) success Truro have been able to generate with access to a relatively small population but with a full time dedicated fencing programme.

    Obviously this kind of set up would need a sacrifice in other areas of spending. This is something which should be considered. Currently we have one world class athlete. The horizon looks bleak for British fencing without a complete rethink of how we approach training and inclusion across the country.
    ...in the meantime whilst awaiting the centres of excellence to be set up the youngsters could ask their PE department if they could do some footwork in the gym at school for a a few minutes at lunchtime or after school, or if that's not possible make a bit of room in their garage or kitchen at home.

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by plenty View Post
    Um,
    As regards calender for season ahead;
    I just spotted that Manchester cadet EFC event seems to be a selection event ( it's in Red as opposed to highlighted green as a 'non nominated international ) .. I am a bit concerned as surely entries to Manchester cadet won't be limited to selected GB squad
    The rule as it relates to the Manchester EFC cadet event will be the same as in the past in that host countries are allowed to have 64 entries. The first 64 who register get to participate. This is not the case for the other designated cadet events hosted in Europe. In these cases the top 15 ranked cadets are selected as part of the squad.

    In terms of some of the other changes. It seems as though the concept of rolling and team points is similar to that used in the USA, however the proposed selection is different as it seems both ranking lists will be used to make the squad selections whereas the USA only use on or the other depending on where they are in the season.

    My only question would be why move the age for junior selection consideration from 16 to 17? Those fencers in their final cadet year should have the opportunity, if it is in line with their development, to compete for junior squad and team selection. Given the majority of the designated BRC cadet events are in fact U20 events, it would seem to me that the cadets are already being benchmarked against the juniors and in the event a cadet performs well enough to earn significant domestic points that would place them within squad ranking eligibility, it seems interesting why a decision / exception would need to be made???? Can anyone provide a plausible explanation?

  3. #23
    Member EdwardHyde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by InternationalFencingMum View Post
    My only question would be why move the age for junior selection consideration from 16 to 17? Those fencers in their final cadet year should have the opportunity, if it is in line with their development, to compete for junior squad and team selection. Given the majority of the designated BRC cadet events are in fact U20 events, it would seem to me that the cadets are already being benchmarked against the juniors and in the event a cadet performs well enough to earn significant domestic points that would place them within squad ranking eligibility, it seems interesting why a decision / exception would need to be made???? Can anyone provide a plausible explanation?
    Yes, very simply there is a world of difference between Juniors outside the UK and some of the Juniors inside. Here we have a very small circuit and the kids get used to seeing and fencing each other so they kind of know how to fence particular people. Some young fencers even at 18 and 19 do very well on the domestic circuit but find it difficult to advance in the international one.
    The Italians, French, Hungarians, Russians, etc are a very different kettle of fish for our youngsters, that first Junior comp can be like a trip to a totally different world but there is nothing stopping you going to non-nominated of course if you want to prove a point.
    I do not know which weapon you're involved with but if it were epee I would say that your fencer would need to be regularly medalling in Elite Senior events to get some idea of the differences. If you don't know these then imagine the Senior Nationals being held once a month with all the top seniors there plus some very able international fencers for added amusement.
    Oh & I forgot the other thing..the one about supervision cover needed for kids Vs young adults, a BF thing.

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    As Mr Hyde says the issue of supervision seems important to BF in respect of the change of age for junior selection. I understand that over the years and across weapons there have been a small but significant number of incidents requiring BF action after a given trip. The introduction of the stronger stand point on behaviour and meeting anti doping rules (which presumably also include misuse of alcohol) must be seen as helpful - though must be enforced.

    I do however wonder how the recent change in cadet trip management has impacted on that decision. The squads used to travel as a squad so were introduced at that earlier age to squad ethos. That is now less apparent. Has this helped or hindered I wonder. That said, if a 15 year old is proving they are top in the juniors why arenít they selected. This just means we send a potential weaker team by excluding the top ranked fencers to expose less qualified fencers to an environment that is equally as daunting for them. I do find that odd

    As Mr Hyde says there is a world of difference in Euro comps but if we delay exposure how does that help youngsters prepare?

  5. #25
    Member EdwardHyde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick E View Post
    As Mr Hyde says the issue of supervision seems important to BF in respect of the change of age for junior selection. I understand that over the years and across weapons there have been a small but significant number of incidents requiring BF action after a given trip. The introduction of the stronger stand point on behaviour and meeting anti doping rules (which presumably also include misuse of alcohol) must be seen as helpful - though must be enforced.

    I do however wonder how the recent change in cadet trip management has impacted on that decision. The squads used to travel as a squad so were introduced at that earlier age to squad ethos. That is now less apparent. Has this helped or hindered I wonder. That said, if a 15 year old is proving they are top in the juniors why aren’t they selected. This just means we send a potential weaker team by excluding the top ranked fencers to expose less qualified fencers to an environment that is equally as daunting for them. I do find that odd

    As Mr Hyde says there is a world of difference in Euro comps but if we delay exposure how does that help youngsters prepare?

    I would echo Nick E's thoughts, when is "too early"? Davide Di Veroli is 16 and yet he took silver in the recent Junior World Champs and has just reached the 32 in the current Paris Senior World Cup. Mate Tomas Koch at the grand old age of 17 beat the Olympic Champion and reached the semis of Heidenheim. Phil Marsh was still a Cadet when he won the Junior World Championships (would he have been selected now?). Clearly a date of birth is no indicator of performance but track record might be.
    No question in my mind that the removal of the "team and squad from the airport" feeling from the Cadet trips was an error by BF, it is never too early to build this. However Parents must accept that they are partly responsible for this by their constant querying of travel arrangements in the past. (not saying they were wrong but the baby truly went down the plug hole on that one).
    Discipline is a huge concern and it doesn't just relate to alcohol, there are a number of issues and possible concerns between U18s and over 18s and BF does not have the structure to cope with regulating that. This has not been helped in the past by parents inappropriately reaching for their lawyers when things have not gone well for their kids or when they misbehaved.
    As I suggested before, if parents feel that their offspring have a point to prove then there are non-nominateds to attend and for weapons that have WC events in this country there is an entry limit of 64 and a discretionary application process to follow

  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardHyde View Post
    Yes, very simply there is a world of difference between Juniors outside the UK and some of the Juniors inside. Here we have a very small circuit and the kids get used to seeing and fencing each other so they kind of know how to fence particular people. Some young fencers even at 18 and 19 do very well on the domestic circuit but find it difficult to advance in the international one.
    The Italians, French, Hungarians, Russians, etc are a very different kettle of fish for our youngsters, that first Junior comp can be like a trip to a totally different world but there is nothing stopping you going to non-nominated of course if you want to prove a point.
    I do not know which weapon you're involved with but if it were epee I would say that your fencer would need to be regularly medalling in Elite Senior events to get some idea of the differences. If you don't know these then imagine the Senior Nationals being held once a month with all the top seniors there plus some very able international fencers for added amusement.
    Oh & I forgot the other thing..the one about supervision cover needed for kids Vs young adults, a BF thing.
    I think the supervision thing is likely somewhat of a moot point if a fencer is serious. A 16 or 17 year old is still a minor and so would need an accompanying adult and a serious fencer will be just that, focused.

    We are not epee. and even though I do see your point, I am not sure this can be used as an rationale on why 17 is better than 16 for consideration. The objective is for BF to send their very best to competitions to represent GBR. From a developement standpoint I think 16 year old should be competing at a junior level in order to prepare themselves for that next step up in competition and physicality. In fact, in the USA, their best cadet foilist this year also qualified for the junior mens foil team. This may be a rarity but I don't see why we would make a rule that would, in my opinion, only ever be used in order to stop this type of development. If you have a great 16 year old fencer, they should be able to compete - without needing special exceptions to be made.

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick E View Post
    A
    That said, if a 15 year old is proving they are top in the juniors why arenít they selected. This just means we send a potential weaker team by excluding the top ranked fencers to expose less qualified fencers to an environment that is equally as daunting for them. I do find that odd

    As Mr Hyde says there is a world of difference in Euro comps but if we delay exposure how does that help youngsters prepare?
    Exactly, I don't think it does help, it actively hinders. When you are dealing with minors, you are dealing with minors. I think BF do an admirable job in ensuring that the behaviour expectations are communicated and that there are severe consequences for flaunting the rules. However, even though these are athletes, they are still teenagers and teenagers are not running the world for a reason . Perhaps they should have a rule that if a minor is selected for a JWC they must have an accompanying adult who is responsible for them. Sure, it adds a burden of cost onto the parents but in the same vein, if you are competing at this level you have already made a certain peace with the fact that aside from possibly sailing and equestrian this is one of the most expensive sports to become a true worldclass competitor.

    Looking at all of our competitor countries with a strong successful presence in the sport it does not seem like anyone else is using age as an arbitrary constraint for developement.

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardHyde View Post
    As I suggested before, if parents feel that their offspring have a point to prove then there are non-nominateds to attend and for weapons that have WC events in this country there is an entry limit of 64 and a discretionary application process to follow
    Of course this is a way to "prove a point" but the question is, why should people be put in that position (with the additional travel cost and time off school etc) when it seems, unless I am missing something, that there really isn't a strong argument for why 17 is better than 16?

    IMHO, BF should be developing protocols that make sense and if there are real concerns and constraints (which I totally understand that there are and have been brought up), then put the burden back on the parents to help mitigate. Enforce an adult accompanying a minor rule for JWC and this should solve for the concerns on who is responsible for the minors behaviour and well being.

  9. #29
    Senior Member ChrisL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by InternationalFencingMum View Post
    Sure, it adds a burden of cost onto the parents but in the same vein, if you are competing at this level you have already made a certain peace with the fact that aside from possibly sailing and equestrian this is one of the most expensive sports to become a true worldclass competitor.
    [Citation needed]

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisL View Post
    [Citation needed]
    With you Chris

    Yes it is expensive, no question - "lunge, snap...that'll be £135 please" or "he/she just had a growth spurt so new jacket, breeches, plastron, mask"

    hmmm....could also add shooting (all types), Modern Pentathlon (imagine shooting+fencing+a horse), skiing and probably another half dozen non track & field sports..

    Don't get the "additional cost & school time thing" if you were selected you would pay for the trip anyway so all you are doing is paying the same money to go to a non-nominated event instead and these comps happen when they do so if a Nom-Comp was in term time you would take it off. Kind of irrelevant points IMHO.
    just a daddy...and chauffeur

  11. #31

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    [QUOTE

    Don't get the "additional cost & school time thing" if you were selected you would pay for the trip anyway so all you are doing is paying the same money to go to a non-nominated event instead and these comps happen when they do so if a Nom-Comp was in term time you would take it off. Kind of irrelevant points IMHO.[/QUOTE]

    The relevant part is that why would I choose to make a point with something that incurs additional cost and possible time off school for nothing gained in terms of points that would aid selection? If you compete at this level then given the travel involved their is often a day (or more) either side of the weekend that is required to set aside for travel. These days off school do add up and school are flexible but mindful of this. Therefore, taking additional time off school that has marginal gain except to prove a point does not seem worth it to me.

    Personally, as I said previously, I would prefer to leave the age at 16. It would be preferable if the point did not need to be made because of the yet-to-be-explained-rationale of moving the age requirement from 16 to 17. Of course if selected I would incur that cost and take the time off school anyway but it would be worthwhile since there are points on line and points in this sport do indeed lead to prizes in terms of squad, euro and world team selection.

    The other interesting observation in looking at the calendar is whether the same procedure will be in place in order to request to attend the non-nominated competitions. If the non-nominated competitions are now being earmarked as "non-nominated international with team selected" that would presumably mean the team of 4 would possibly also plan to compete in the individual (given the trip it would sort of make sense). If this was the case and they did then the 4 places without the need for the country to supply a ref would now be taken up. So, I will wait to see when the full procedures come out but unless the fee for a ref is included for the "non-nominated with team selected" it may mean that it is not the same path or that there is more likely a referee cost associated with entry to these events whereas previously (because there were no points available that counted in the domestic race) the uptake on these events did not seem to ever break the "up to 4 allowed before the ref fee came to pass" rule.

  12. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisL View Post
    [Citation needed]
    https://www.betterfencer.com/articles/fencing-budget

  13. #33

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    Just took a quick look at each of the weapons / gender and in terms of selections for nominated events - clearly with the understanding that there are several tournaments that will take place prior to a selection being made - there are currently 1 JME, 2 JWE, 3 JMF, 0 JWF, 0 JMS and 2 JWS athletes who in the event their performance in their opening tournaments keeps them in the current top 12 positions would not be eligible to be selected without an exemption to the "must be 17" proposed rule. It will be interesting to see how this goes should it make it through to the final document.

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    Iím sure that if GB produces the equivalent of Kenji Bravo then BF will be more than happy to select the relevant fencer for the junior squad. So, consistent performances of L16 and above at international cadet competitions will no doubt do the job. Or go for the non-nominated junior competitions (outside Europe, perhaps, for ranking points and if you have the funds to do that, which most donít, of course). And above all, keep things in perspective- this is a long haul game.

  15. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by SMJ View Post
    I’m sure that if GB produces the equivalent of Kenji Bravo then BF will be more than happy to select the relevant fencer for the junior squad. So, consistent performances of L16 and above at international cadet competitions will no doubt do the job. Or go for the non-nominated junior competitions (outside Europe, perhaps, for ranking points and if you have the funds to do that, which most don’t, of course). And above all, keep things in perspective- this is a long haul game.
    Absolutely, however, in order to get that good he worked hard in his club and attended many, many tournaments: US domestic (cadet, junior and senior) and international (cadet, junior and USA GP senior) along the way. He along with his coach GM, were freely able to choose what path to take without his age being a criteria You don't get that good, regardless of innate talent, without a tremendous amount of hard work and a ton of strip experience at all levels. If we restrict the fencers from being selected without an exemption coming into play then we run the risk of not having the best of the best competing. The consistent L16 in cadet competitions is not relevant from what I have read to being selected for a junior event. Non-nominated competitions regardless of their location do not provide points that can be used for Junior rankings, they merely serve the purpose of proving a point but again, not sure why someone should need to do that. It is for sure a long haul game

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    Quote Originally Posted by InternationalFencingMum View Post
    Just took a quick look at each of the weapons / gender and in terms of selections for nominated events - clearly with the understanding that there are several tournaments that will take place prior to a selection being made - there are currently 1 JME, 2 JWE, 3 JMF, 0 JWF, 0 JMS and 2 JWS athletes who in the event their performance in their opening tournaments keeps them in the current top 12 positions would not be eligible to be selected without an exemption to the "must be 17" proposed rule. It will be interesting to see how this goes should it make it through to the final document.
    I really hate referencing individual youth fencers or their performance on this public forum, but you have a point about the current rankings and excluded fencers. Looking to one of the fencers you reference, I have observed their placing in the automatic selection zone for their junior weapon all season, and because they were not hitting the right age for selection, have not had that opportunity, albeit they have fenced on the cadet squad.

    That fencer remains higher ranked than seven other fencers in that weapon, all of whom have international ranking points in their GB ranking, and still sits in the automatic selection zone. That fencer now faces another year away from securing junior experience because the age goalpost is set to shift.

    That fencer has also sat in the top 30 of the GB senior rankings all season, but is still not mature enough for junior selection in the current criteria.

    Apologies for referencing this fencer, and Iím sure folk will work out who I am talking about, but it does show quite vividly exactly the scenario you have pointed out, so I felt was worth noting. And Iím sure that next season, with the higher age applied, there will be other fencers equally disadvantaged by the selection policy.

    You could say apply discretion - but with such a limited number of fencers reaching this performance already from the younger age bands, surely their results speak for themselves.

    Letís hope that this specific point of what I would otherwise see as a comprehensively written policy can be reviewed before implementation.

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    Sorry to labour this point on age, but away from this thread I have had other communication that makes the proposed 17 year eligibility rule seem bizarre.

    Apparently at age 16 you can represent your home nation in both Commonwealth Junior and Senior events, as well as representing of course in more localised home nations events at senior level. But ..... such a fencer would still not be mature enough to represent GB at Junior level.

    Of course by highlighting this BF could just try to raise the bar for other eligibility, but that would seem just as bizarre as other governing bodies wouldnít have to follow that lead.

    This age thing has to go ......

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick E View Post
    This age thing has to go ......
    Well, we're going to have to disagree on that one Nick! I'm a great advocate of our younger fencers sticking with their age groups - I've had many a face to face discussion about this Ö and I appreciate it's certainly not a popularly held view! On a personal level - as I have a 16 year old fencer - this works out nicely. It takes the pressure off trying to get on the Junior ladder whilst trying to succeed in the final year of cadets. We can now focus all our efforts on being the best cadet fencer possible.

    Looking at the bigger picture, should we be in the fortunate position where we have a cadet consistently making L8s or better at EFC events then the Junior selection scheme does have proviso for that in the exceptions of point 9;

    The exception would be
    1. where the ADT, identifies an athlete whose development would be significantly hindered by
    non-selection
    2. where the ADT, determines that the weapon team development strategy and the athlete
    development supports the selection of a younger athlete
    but, as of right now, for epee at least - we don't have anyone doing that and if we did, then they've have a good case to put to the ADT for inclusion based on those 2 points.

    This is one of the changes I'm happy with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by danKew View Post
    It takes the pressure off trying to get on the Junior ladder whilst trying to succeed in the final year of cadets. We can now focus all our efforts on being the best cadet fencer possible.
    I feel this is the main thinking behind this particular rule. It does seem to make sense, of course there are exceptions, which is why U-17s are not being disallowed selection completely.

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by danKew View Post
    but, as of right now, for epee at least - we don't have anyone doing that and if we did, then they've have a good case to put to the ADT for inclusion based on those 2 points.

    This is one of the changes I'm happy with.
    The whole issue of fencers doing Under 20 events early is a difficult one and varies very much between weapon, Gender and individual.

    I think that early exposure to Under 20 world cup events (at 15-16) can actually be very beneficial to many fencers, as there is quite a step up from Cadet to Juniors and to have had at try at Juniors to see that step can be an eye opener and can lead to fencers realising they need to work harder to get to that level.

    But allowing just one a season for those of Cadet ages, who are suitably ranked for selection, gives the taste, without burning the kids out who currently try to do both full Junior and Cadet seasons.

    I have over the years advised some Cadet fencers to try out a Junior world cup, and have advised others against that. It is very individual whether the experience will be likely to benefit or be of detriment to a fencer.

    I would never advise a fencer to try to do both Cadet and Junior full International circuits as it is just too much with studies also being of high priority around this age-group.
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