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UK Coaching Team
27
Supporting Specific Needs

‘Paralympics helping change people’s perceptions of disability’, says UK Sport Chief

We spoke to UK Sport CEO Sally Munday at a Paralympics wheelchair basketball showcase event in Leeds – organised by UK Sport in partnership with The National Lottery and British Paralympic Association. She told us that she believed “more and more coaches understand the importance of inclusivity”. The ‘Inspiring Communities’ events are designed to showcase the inspirational effect our Paralympians are having on sport participation, and beyond, and Sally discusses the vital role that great coaching has to play in creating a positive and sustainable Tokyo 2020 legacy

We also spoke to British Wheelchair Basketball Participation Director Jo Richards about coaching's role in growing participation and inspiring a lifelong love of the sport.

She said: “The coach is usually the first person a participant meets when they turn up to a session so it’s really important that they make people feel welcome, comfortable and safe. It’s important that that first interaction with the sport is a positive one, so they want to keep coming back to enjoy the sport.

“More than anything, you are there to coach an individual and it’s about making sure you know who you are coaching, making sure you can adapt the environment and making sure that you can meet that person’s individual demands, whether someone is disabled or non-disabled.

“Sometimes you can get a mix of different abilities within the same session, so it’s about making sure you can manage that safely and appropriately so that participants all feel included.”

As the Paralympics continue to grow exponentially in size and scale, we asked Jo how important the rise and rise of the Paralympic movement was to wheelchair basketball.

The Paralympics play a really big role for us in making sure that we can shine a spotlight on the sport that we already know and love, meaning we can get out there to more people and break down barriers.

“There is often a perception that you have to be a full-time wheelchair user to play wheelchair basketball, which is not the case. You actually don’t have to be disabled at all. We’re completely inclusive and we want to make sure that everybody out there knows that.

“We have experienced coaches who are always there and ready to inspire the younger coaches and activators through the Inspire a Generation programme that we’ve got now. Giving back to that next generation of coaches is something that we’re really passionate about as a sport, bringing more people into coaching who will hopefully have a lifelong career in wheelchair basketball.”

Related Resources

  • Wheelchair Basketball Changed Her Life, Now Anna is Changing the Lives of Others

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  • Success ‘Storey’! How GB Paralympians, GB Cycling and Great British Coaches are Transforming Lives

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  • ‘Unorthobox’ Coaches Pack a Powerful and Positive Punch for Inclusive Sport

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UK Coaching Team