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Effective Communication is Part and Parcel of Great Coaching

Does being deaf or hard of hearing create a barrier to communication? Matt Majendie finds out what tactics deaf and hard of hearing coaches use to communicate with the people they coach and discovers the universal importance of good communication, regardless of your approach

For deaf coaches across all sports, and indeed other areas of interest, the focus should not be on the fact a person is deaf, but on the role itself.

World-renowned percussionist Evelyn Glennie wrote an essay in which she admitted that “if the audience is instead only wondering how a deaf musician can play percussion, then I have failed as a musician.”

She famously said:

I’m not a deaf musician, I’m a musician who happens to be deaf.” 

There are parallels in all walks of life, and for deaf coaches in sport, the issue is no different. Merely change the word ‘musician’ for ‘coach’, and Glennie’s quote still stands for many.

Memnos Costi is a UEFA B licensed football coach. He also just happens to be deaf. His is an impressive pedigree that includes coaching St John’s Deaf FC for over a decade and a half, during which they have won the British Deaf Cup multiple times and the Deaf Champions League on many an occasion. In addition, he coached the British women’s team before the Deaflympics, as well as Cyprus’ deaf football team.

There have undoubtedly been barriers along the way. He likes to say: “In the deaf world, there are no barriers, I am free to fly”, before adding of his ongoing coaching progress: “In a hearing world, it’s much harder.”

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