Approach an organisation that supports people with a disability

Find local organisations in your area that support people with a disability (eg Special Olympics, Ausrapid, Disability Sport AustraliaYooralla etc) and form links with these organisations through some of the ideas set out below:

 Build public awareness

  • Invite the athletes to compete in a demonstration game or exhibition at a home competition
  • Invite the athletes and families to a home competition
  • Include information on the athletes in your Club program, media guide, newsletter, etc

Make facilities available

  • Play a pre-season exhibition scrimmage or game to benefit the athletes with intellectual disabilities
  • Allow the group to take donations at the door or at the concessions stands

Offer a range of activities/events for all abilities

  • An average team will include athletes who have very limited exposure to a sport and athletes who have been playing for years, perhaps even in integrated sports programs in the community
  • Setting up practices will be much easier once you know the ability of each athlete
  • Offer all programs, competitions and activities available and allow the athlete to chose what they would like to get involved in rather than you deciding on their behalf

Examples of dealing with different ability levels

  • Ask more experienced athletes to help teach skills to new athletes (you can set up mentoring programs)
  • Split the athletes into two groups: an independent group and one that you work with more closely
  • Set up stations at practice, but set individual goals depending on the skill level of each athlete
  • Follow the CHANGE IT principle to ensure all sessions are inclusive

Provide safe training and competition opportunities

  • This is no different from any other coaching situation, but it is important to always remember
  • Each person with a disability is different from another person just like able bodied people

Involve families and/or other support groups

  • Many families would like to only be involved by coming to the competitions and cheering. Others seek more active roles as assistants or coaches themselves.
  • All of these are acceptable and a part of the ‘team experience’
  • The more effectively you find ways to include families in the team experience, the easier the season will become
  • Families are like athletes; each is unique. You shouldn’t try to make assumptions about their potential for support based on anything but personal experience.