Watching the Paralympics on Channel 4 you can’t help but see the term Super Human, it’s even on the posters around town. Whatever your personal view on the term you cannot help but be in awe of the achievements that the individual athletes have achieved, the adversity and challenges they have overcome before even starting to compete.
This got me thinking about their coaches, how they will need to think differently, and be curious in order to maximise their support of their athletes. Often the text book won’t work as the technique is different, an athlete’s centre of gravity or buoyancy is different because of their impairment. The coach/athlete needs to be close and the coach needs to understand the challenges that the disability brings to the individual, training, competition and the athletes support network.
The coaches have to think differently in their approach, step outside their comfort zone and challenge their coaching to support their athletes to be the best they can be. This raises the question of putting yourself out there, being vulnerable and asking the question to your athletes about their impairment: the athlete is the specialist on their own body and how it will react after all. It sounds obvious but how many coaches take the time to find out ‘what is really going on’ with their athletes. Take a bow para coaches, you are Super Human.
sports coach UK have a number of fact sheets that provide advice and guidance on disabilities so that you can have an informed conversation with your athletes. Take a look at them here: http://www.sportscoachuk.org/resource/impairment-specific-factsheets
Chris Chapman, sports coach UK, Talent & Performance Lead Officer