Being an inclusive coach

You should not underestimate the impact your coaching can have on disabled people. You can inspire and motive them to continue to play their sport. Current sports participation statistics tell us that there is still much work to be done to support disabled people in sport. Did you know that:

Sports coach UK spoke to a number of disabled people involved in sport at all levels. The following responses and guidance has been taken from those conversations.

Here’s what our interviewees said:

“A good coach is someone who is understanding. I think the most important thing is one that you can get on with and one that communicates well with you. And I think you both need to be on the same wavelength. I mean, I think if your coach wants different things to what you want or if they have different goals to the athlete, I don’t think it works .… I think that’s the most important thing, you are both clear on what you are trying to do.” (Steve)

“You can’t beat practical experiences. Coaches need more of it. In terms of the older generation, they don’t understand disability. In their time disability was shut out of the way. So they’ve had to learn what disability is and change their view on it. A few weeks after coaching us they change their view.” (Ross)

“Coaches have a lack of understanding. There isn’t enough on offer for them to help them understand about CP, dwarfism that type of stuff, just a lack of understanding. It isn’t until they coach someone or talk to someone that they think, hang on a minute its not as scary as it first seems and then they carry on.” (Ross)

“I’ve had experiences in the past where a coach has basically said he can’t do anything for me, that he thinks I can’t be helped to improve. So I was told not to bother to train. It’s not exactly inviting you to a session if you’ve been told nothing can be done for you.” (John)

“A good coach has to be able to understand me. You know, know my body, know how it moves. There’s no point thinking I’m like someone without a disability. So for me, my coach needs to be in tune with my body. Now to do this they’ve got to keep thinking all the time, they need to be reflective.” (Mark)