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What is the American Development Model?

The USA Fencing American Development Model is a framework or roadmap to guide the development of fencers; to enhance engagement, enjoyment and athletic potential; and to keep fencers in the sport longer.  The goal is to create a positive experience and to create a program that focuses on the individual athlete at each stage of development.

Core Values

Following the core values will help USA Fencing optimize fencers' experience and long-term development in the sport, whether it be success at the elite level or a lifetime of fencing participation.

  • Developmentally appropriate training and competition
  • Multisport or multi-activity participation - building an athletic base
  • Fun and engaging learning environments
  • Quality coaching at all age levels
  • Focus on development over results, success through personal growth

For more information on each of the USA Fencing ADM core values, click here.


  • Promote physical literacy and athleticism
  • Implement developmentally appropriate activities and competitions
  • Encourage multisport/multi-activity participation
  • Focus on the well-being and psychosocial development
  • Foster an athlete-centered environment focused on engagement and enjoyment
  • Support success and development of athletes
  • Retain athletes in the sport of fencing
  • Promote fencing/physical activity across the lifespan
  • Decrease overuse injuries and burnout

ADM Stages

Note that the age ranges are a general guideline and by no means a primary factor to determine when an athlete should progress to the next stage. Progression will be dependent, in part, on goals, resources, commitment and the age at which athletes are introduced to fencing.


Click on the Core Values and ADM Stages documents below to download or print.