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Benchmarks for Youth Foil Fencers

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Our recent post, “Potential Benchmark Indicators for Youth Men & Women Saber Fencers”, generated significant interest, so we have decided to bring forward a similar post for youth foil fencers! Check out our post “Frequency Benchmarks for Local & Regional Tournament Events by Youth Foil Fencers (Y10, Y12, Y14)”.

While the USFA’s classification system for fencers was primarily designed to provide an objective scale for the seeding of competitions, the system is now widely used by youth fencers to mark their progress in the sport.  Being awarded an “E” rating is a major milestone in the fencing life of many youth fencers and is often seen as a “rite of passage” between a “beginner” and a more accomplished fencer.

The pursuit of even higher classifications can lead to frustration and disappointment unless there is a realistic understanding of the time required to develop fencing skills, build confidence, and experience success. We have therefore developed a set of benchmark indicators which provide a realistic timeline for youth foilists seeking to achieve a rating classification.

So what is a benchmark indicator? A benchmark indicator is a measurement that can help a fencer improve his or her performance.  Benchmarks are goals to aim for. Fencers can choose benchmarks based on either standards or averages derived from their age-gender-weapon category or experience group. For instance, fencers may look to peak performers in an age-gender-weapon category and set their performance levels in areas such as training or the time required to reach different classification levels as their benchmarks – the levels they will strive to reach.  Benchmark indicators can motivate fencers, giving them measurable goals to achieve. They can help youth fencers see how they measure up to others in their age or experience group.

Benchmarking is all about comparing an athlete’s performance with others. Therefore, care needs to be exercised in choosing potential partners. For the purpose of deriving benchmark indicators for both youth men and women foilists, we examined the historical performance of a group of foil fencers who are currently ranked in either Cadet Men’s Foil or Cadet Women’s Foil and were born in 2001 or later. These ideal benchmarking fencers are ranked in the tables at the bottom of this post.  The benchmark partners represent a diverse group of fencers from different clubs, different states with a range of rating classifications and birth years. All of the rating classifications were awarded during the Y-10 to Y-14 period. The group also represents peak performers as its members have achieved a ranking in the Cadet Division as a youth fencer.

Youth Men Foil Fencers

The group of men foilists consists of 38 fencers who are currently ranked in Cadet Men’s Foil from # 3 through #91, with a spread of rating classifications from “A” to “C.” The group represents three birth years (2001, 2002 and 2003) and 22 clubs in nine states. The fencers’ average age at their first tournament was 9.3 years, with a range of 6.5 to 13.2 years as illustrated in the table below.

“E” ratings were awarded to 31 or about 82% of the group.  The average time spent between the first event and being awarded an “E” rating was 2.7 years with a standard deviation of 1.1 years. This means that about 70% of “E” rated youth men foilists were awarded their rating between 1.6 years and 3.8 years (2.7 years -/+1.1 years) after their first event. Fifty percent (50%) took between two years (25th percentile) and 3.2 years (75th percentile) to achieve their “E” rating. Of the group of 38 fencers, only five have an “A” rating, which took on average 5.9 years to achieve since their first event. See our earlier post on the clubs generating the largest number of “A” rated foil fencers for the entire fencing population in 2014-2015.

 Benchmark Indicators for Youth Men Foilists

Age at First Event (Years) Years Between First Event and “E” Rating Years Between First Event and “D” Rating Years Between First Event and “C” Rating Years Between First Event and “B” Rating Years Between First Event and “A” Rating
Average 9.3 2.7 3.5 3.8 5.2 5.9
Standard Deviation 1.7 1.1 1.3 1.4 1.2 1.0
Maximum 13.2 5.1 5.3 6.0 7.1 7.1
Minimum 6.5 0.7 0.4 1.2 2.9 4.3
Median 8.8 2.5 3.2 3.9 5.0 5.9
75th Percentile 10.4 3.2 4.6 5.1 5.9 6.1
25th Percentile 8.0 2.0 2.7 2.8 4.6 5.9
Number of Fencers 38 31 29 36 21 5
Source: National Fencing Club Rankings based on an analysis of USFA national event and askFRED.net data.

The distribution of years between the first event and the rating classifications awarded to youth men foilists currently ranked in Cadet Men’s Foil at July 18, 2016, is highlighted in the box-and-whisker plots below.

Each rating classification has a diagram, the height of which represents the numerical range of years (minimum and maximum values). The “boxes” represent the 25th through the 75th percentile. This type of chart enables the reader to make quick comparisons among the rating classifications.

This graph tells us that the full range of years to achieve an “E” rating for the group was quite large, extending from 0.7 years on the low end to 5.1 years on the high end. Scrolling over the box-and-whisker plot for the “E” rating highlights the data set: E 0.7-5.1, 2.0-3.2   The middle half (mid-spread) of fencers gained their “E” rating between 2.0 and 3.2 years after their first tournament. The 25% of “E” ratings which took the least amount of time to achieve are grouped across a 1.3-year range (2.0-0.7 = 1.3). The distance across which the top 25% are distributed is slightly larger at 1.9 years (5.1-3.2 = 1.9)

Youth Women Foil Fencers

The group of women foilists consists of 53 fencers who are currently ranked in Cadet Women’s Foil from # 2 through #85, with a spread of rating classifications from “E” to “A.” The group represents three birth years (2001, 2002 and 2003) and 27 clubs in 10 states. The fencers’ average age at their first tournament was 9.9 years, with a range of 7.4 to 12.7 years as illustrated in the table below.

“E” ratings were awarded to 37 or about 70% of the group.  The average time spent between the first event and being awarded an “E” rating was 2.2 years with a standard deviation of 1.0 years. This means that about 70% of “E” rated youth women foilists were awarded their rating between 1.2 years and 3.2 years (2.2 years -/+1.0 years) after their first event. Fifty percent (50%) took between 1.5 years (25th percentile) and 3.0 years (75th percentile) to achieve their “E” rating. Of the group of 53 fencers, 23 or about43%  have an “A” rating, which took on average 4.8 years to achieve since their first event. See our earlier post on the clubs generating the largest number of “A” rated foil fencers for the entire fencing population in 2014-2015.

 Benchmark Indicators for Youth Women Foilists

Age at First Event (Years) Years Between First Event and “E” Rating Years Between First Event and “D” Rating Years Between First Event and “C” Rating Years Between First Event and “B” Rating Years Between First Event and “A” Rating
Average 9.9 2.2 2.8 3.2 3.7 4.8
Standard Deviation 1.2 1.0 1.0 1.1 1.1 1.1
Maximum 12.7 4.6 5.0 6.0 6.2 7.2
Minimum 7.4 0.6 1.0 1.0 1.4 3.3
Median 10.1 2.0 2.6 3.0 3.4 4.7
75th Percentile 10.7 3.0 3.7 3.9 4.5 5.5
25th Percentile 9.1 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 4.0
Number of Fencers 53 37 45 45 36 23
Source: National Fencing Club Rankings based on an analysis of USFA national event and askFRED.net data.

The distribution of years between the first event and the rating classifications awarded to youth women foilists currently ranked in Cadet Women’s Foil at July 18, 2016, is highlighted in the box-and-whisker plots below.

Each rating classification has a diagram, the height of which represents the numerical range of years (minimum and maximum values). The “boxes” represent the 25th through the 75th percentile. This type of chart enables the reader to make quick comparisons among the rating classifications.

This graph tells us that the full range of years to achieve an “E” rating for the group was quite large, extending from 0.6 years on the low end to 4.6 years on the high end. Scrolling over the box-and-whisker plot for the “E” rating highlights the data set: E 0.6-4.6, 1.5-3.0   The middle half (mid-spread) of fencers gained their “E” rating between 1.5 and 3.0 years after their first tournament. The 25% of “E” ratings which took the least amount of time to achieve are grouped across a 0.9-year range (1.5-0.6 = 0.9). The distance across which the top 25% are distributed is larger at 1.9 years (4.6-3.0 = 1.6)

The benchmark data contained in the post provides fundamental information for the development of realistic goals in attaining different rating classifications for youth foil fencers. The data recognizes the varied performance of youth fencers and the staircase nature of taking one step at a time to becoming an accomplished fencer.

Ranking of Cadet Men Foil Fencers Born in 2001 or Later (July, 18, 2016)

RankFencerBirth YearClubCurrent Rating
3Bravo, Kenji2001Massialas Foundation (M Team), CAA
5Olivares, Marcello2001Bluegrass Fencers' Club, KTA
6Zheng, Andrew2001Empire United Fencing, NJA
10Daniel, Ashton2001Silicon Valley Fencing Center, CAB
11Woods, Jack2001V Fencing Club, NJA
13Lu, Kerry2001San Francisco Fencers' Club, CAB
19Dayton, Draper2002Massialas Foundation (M Team), CAB
20Deback, Maximus2001Grand Rapids Fencing Academy, MIB
23Snytsheuvel, John2001Golubitsky Fencing Center, CAB
32Li, Brian2002Marx Fencing Academy, MAB
37Holmes, Leo2001Salle Mauro Fencing Academy, TXC
38Hossfeld, Finn2001Fencing Academy of Westchester, NYB
41Tan, Lawrence2001Golubitsky Fencing Center, CAB
44Paik, Hyun2002Empire United Fencing, NJC
45Liu, Patrick2002Gold Fencing Club, MAB
46Chen, James2003Brooklyn Bridge Fencing Club, NYD
50Reid, Clayton2002San Francisco Fencers' Club, CAB
51Toro, Alejandro2002Zeljkovic Fencing Academy, NJB
52Johnson, Cole2001Massialas Foundation (M Team), CAC
56Ding, Allan2001Olympia Fencing Center, MAA
58Chiang, Will2001Marx Fencing Academy, MAB
59TScarpa, Ryan20015T Fencing Club, NYB
61Ayupov, Ilya2003United Fencing Academy, CAC
64TWang, Brian2001Olympia Fencing Center, MAB
69Louie, Bryce2002Los Angeles International Fencing Center, CAC
70TJohnson, Aidan2001Empire United Fencing, NJB
73TGassner, Ethan2001San Francisco Fencers' Club, CAC
76TSohn, Christopher2002Massialas Foundation (M Team), CAC
78Lutar, Lucas2003Fencing Academy of Westchester, NYB
79TSheen, Grant2001Golubitsky Fencing Center, CAC
79TWang, Calvin2001Fencing Academy Of Philadelphia, PAD
81TFortner, Lance2001United Fencing Academy, CAC
83TDing, Andrew2002Empire United Fencing, NJB
83TLevy, Jasper2001Brooklyn Bridge Fencing Club, NYC
86Cho, Justin2001Premier Fencing Club, NJC
87Szapary, Tristan2001Fencing Academy Of Philadelphia, PAC
89Choi, Eric2001Northwest Fencing Center, ORC
91Kelly, Benjamin2001South Coast Fencing Center, CAC
Source: 2015-2016 USA Fencing National Rolling Point Standings Cadet Men's Foil

Ranking of Cadet Women Foil Fencers Born in 2001 or Later (July, 18, 2016)

RankFencerBirth YearClubCurrent Rating
2Devore, Delphine2001Fencers Club, NYA
3Tieu, May2001Premier Fencing Club, NJA
4Adler, Polly2001Fencers Club, NYA
6Zhang, Rachel2001International Fencers Alliance Of Boston, MAA
7Mandour, Sophia2001Baltimore Fencing Center, MDA
8Martos, Sara2002Massialas Foundation (M Team), CAA
9Lee, Morgan2001Brooklyn Bridge Fencing Club, NYA
11Scruggs, Lauren2003Empire United Fencing, NJA
13Lee, Annora2002Fencers Club, NYA
14Weintraub, Maia2002Fencing Academy Of Philadelphia, PAA
16Luong, Paige2001San Francisco Fencers Club, CAA
17Wang, Karina2001Baltimore Fencing Center, MDA
18Marinelli, Ever2001San Francisco Fencers Club, CAB
22Nishimura, Madeleine2002Massialas Foundation (M Team), CAB
25Lo, Ashley2001Gutkovskiy Fencing Academy, NJB
27Yaroshenko, Karina2002Los Angeles International Fencing Center, CAA
31Stamos, Maria2002Manhattan Fencing Center, NYA
33Tian, Grace2001Massialas Foundation (M Team), CAB
34Pustilnik, Nicole2002Team Touche Fencing Center, CAA
36Parris, Briana2001Gutkovskiy Fencing Academy, NJB
37TTang, Louise2001UnattachedA
39Yankovskiy, Anastasia2002Silicon Valley Fencing Center, CAA
43Sylvester-Chin, Zoe2002Peter Westbrook Foundation, NYA
46TWeintraub, Rei2002Fencers Club, NYA
46TLukins, Tianji2001Massialas Foundation (M Team), CAA
50Marotta, Veronica2002Fencers Club, NYB
51Kasi, Anisha2001Gutkovskiy Fencing Academy, NJA
52Lee, Yejine2002Top Fencing Club, NJB
53TRhodes, Zander2003V Fencing Club, NJC
55Hunt, Tarleton2001Salle Mauro Fencing Academy, TXC
56Ferrari, Christina2002Fencing Academy Of Westchester, NYB
57Cho, Sabrina2002San Francisco Fencers Club, CAB
58Cola, Emmanuelle2001Lionheart Fencing Academy/Coeur Du Lion Fencing Club, CAC
59Li, Grace2003Gold Fencing Club, MAA
60Proestakis, Katina2002Salle Mauro Fencing Academy, TXB
61Tan, Helen2002Fencing Institute Of Texas, TXA
62Koo, Haley2002Gutkovskiy Fencing Academy, NJB
64Floyd, Ava2002Empire United Fencing, NJD
65TKim, Lauren2003Empire United Fencing, NJD
65TLange, Catherine2002Academy Of Fencing Masters, CAD
67Tan, Delphine2001San Francisco Fencers Club, CAC
69Parker Kianna2001New Amsterdam Fencing Academy North, NYC
71Ahn, Gabriella2003Fencers Club, NYB
72Crompton, Celia2001Renaissance Fencing Club, MIC
73Thompson, Julia2001V Fencing Club, NJB
74Chusid, Renata2003Gutkovskiy Fencing Academy, NJB
75TLee, Allison2003Empire United Fencing, NJC
75TAlfonso, Czarina2002Gutkovskiy Fencing Academy, NJC
77Hao, Alicia2002Gold Fencing Club, MAC
79Abayeva, Sasha2002Fencing Academy Of Westchester, NYB
81TMassick, Laine2004Royal Arts Fencing Academy, OHE
83Breker, Anika2002Rhode Island Fencing Academy And Club, RIC
85Eng, Jade2001UnattachedB
Source: 2015-2016 USA Fencing National Rolling Point Standings Cadet Women's Foil

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