Taking the “Ability” to Coaches 

Parasport is becoming more mainstream but the number of coaches who feel comfortable if a disabled person turned up to one of their training sessions or exercise class is still far behind where it should be.  The majority of the coaches don’t feel they have the correct skills or confidence.

Ability Consultancy has vast experience of working with coaches/volunteers to address these areas and has increased the opportunities for people with disabilities or health issues to take part in sport and exercise.

a coach with a group of yung people sat on the playing field listening to the coach

Having worked 1:1 with a coach we were able to support them to positively identify their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats which included some areas that the coach was not aware of. Carrying out this exercise it became apparent to the coach that skills they already had are transferrable and the person attending the sessions did not expect the coach to have all the answers. By just completing the SWOT analysis the coach gained confidence as this showed what they already knew and that they had more skills than they thought. A training needs analysis was then carried out and a number of development opportunities were identified, including workshops, self-help opportunities and mentoring by a coach or disabled sportsperson.

The breaking down of the barriers and making coaching disabled people fun and an everyday occurrence, enabled the coach to open up their session to everyone.

Over the coming months, the coach became more confident, included two disabled sprinters in their group, got a couple of able-bodied group members to become guide runners and mentors to the whole group and a point of contact with any new person who might join in.  This has resulted in a fully inclusive training group and other coaches in the club looking to open their groups to anyone.

After a year of getting support, one of the athletes made National Standard and is well on the way to climb the ladder and represent GB in a few years. The number of disabled people taking part increased and continues to do so. A number of other coaches have started working with disabled athletes and this has seen an increase in club membership as well as the introduction of a club mandatory workshop around inclusivity for new coaches and volunteers.