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Home » Groups » Inclusive Coaching » blogs » Wendy Russell » Disadvantaged, handicapped and limiting disabilities!
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Disadvantaged, handicapped and limiting disabilities!

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During my time setting up deaf hockey I wanted to know how and when other coaches get their first experiences of looking at how to provide, support and coach those that have a "disability".

I call it "disability" as it is described as a physical or mental condition that limits a person's movements, senses, or activities. Which is also a disadvantage or a handicap. The disabled people I have met, coached and worked with would say that it has not been a disadvantage. In fact, it has given them opportunities that they wouldn't have had before. Such as playing for England or coaching at an elite level.

Earlier this year the English Federation of Disability Sport conducted a research project to explore young disabled people's experiences of sport and physical activity, during their transition from education to adulthood. Whilst conducting this research it became apparent that a barrier stopping disability participation in sport was that coaches may not always be aware of a persons needs or know how to adapt activities to facilitate them taking part. 

The disadvantages, limits or handicaps experienced by those with disabilities when trying to access sport and physical activities come from how we as coaches put together our sessions. During the coaches development, across level 1 and 2 courses, there is very little to build their confidence to adapt their sessions for those with disabilities. They cover how to adapt practise for grassroots level through to performance coaching. Is looking at how to modify drills to allow all 'beginners' access enough?

If more grassroots coaches had guidance on coaching those who have a visual or learning needs, for example, would this give them confidence to cater for an athlete or player that comes to one of their sessions? 

At a recent hockey tournament I was discussing with an assistant coach from a local club a child he supports who has Down Syndrome. The coach admitted that rather than have the child integrated in the main group of their peers they did a large amount of 1-2-1 work. The key reason being that the lead coach of the group didn't know how to integrate them. An all to familiar story. We discussed different strategies on how the coach could facilitate the hockey player joining in with everyone else and still be supported. Small changes, such as coaching the whole group to use simple sign language would be key in both the coach and the players development. 

sports coach UK do an effective communications course. (Video below)

I urge every coach to do this as this is a great way to learn how to impart your knowledge at all levels, especially to those who have a hearing impairment. However, could this be part of a National Governing Bodies level 2 course? This would help to ensure that every coach is more confident, assured and educated in being able to deliver a session that really does cater for all.

There are over 45,000 deaf children in the UK*, 1 in 30 people who have a sight loss** and over 350,000 people with learning disabilities***. With these figures it is odds on that a coach will come into contact with someone who is considered "disabled". 

Let's stop the lack of coach education from being the barrier that stops disabled people from taking part in sport.

Further information


Figures from *Action on hearing, **RNIB and ***The NHS

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Comments (5)

   
JKKennington
Thank you Wendy, I'm becoming more involved than usual coaching Sailability and any information coming from another coach's point of view is really useful. I hope you get others input too as a broad discussion helps all of us. Cheers, JK PS We all need to pressurise our NGO's, well put :-)
04/06/16
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andyB
I agree that there should be a unit at level 2 if not level 1 of any coaching course. Having an interest in coaching people with all abilities I took myself off on a EFFS course which was great as I had to take part in sports from a disabled viewpoint which helped me consider how to adapt my coaching to account for all. As both a target shooting and an archery coach it has meant that you learn quickly to adapt both you coaching and equipment to suit. Coaching at the Spea coal Olympics often involves a three to one ratio but is very rewarding when they hit the target.

The sports coach uk course is ok but does not allow you to do the sports just presents information to consider.
05/06/16
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JKKennington
Well put, a group where " the lead coach of the group didn't know how to integrate them " ? Depressing.
I use almost 1-2-1 occasionally to improve confidence, often a more experienced group member acting as a peer mentor will share their experiences and skills to integrate a person far more effectively than I can as they live the 'you can do it' message eg a partially blind autistic guest buddying a deaf partially blind autist..
The rest of the time we're all 'in it' together which is admittedly much easier for me to say in the level playing field of purpose built sailing boats out on the protected environment of Bristol's docks.
The Sainsbury training session is brilliant by the way, go to it if you can.
Fair winds and following seas, JK
18/06/16
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smilner
How about this guide as a starting point to coaches:
http://www.sportscoachuk.org/sites/default/files/Quick-Guide-to-Inclusive-Coaching.pdf
Sorry for the shameless plug but this information can help any coach coach their group better through grouping people at certain points of their sessions by ability (no mention of disability here!!)
28/09/16
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MartinR

As a charity we have been coaching Angling for people with various disabilities for a number of years, which has been well received by all of the participants. Through the sport it has helped with the wellbeing and interaction with great days being enjoyed by all including the coaches. The main obstacle has been obtaining funding to support the coaching sessions!

16/08/17
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