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Support for Coaches Training Blind & Partially Sighted Swimmers & Tennis Players



New courses have been launched to help swimming and tennis coaches play their role in boosting the number of blind and partially sighted people participating in the sports.

 

Leading sight loss charity British Blind Sport has partnered with Swim England, the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and UK Coaching, to create a bespoke online training package to give coaches at all levels more confidence at helping those with sight loss to pursue the sports as a hobby or career.

 

Bespoke swimming and tennis training sessions teach coaches how to include those with sight loss in sessions with their fully-sighted peers - including the importance of providing detailed commentary on their surroundings and what is happening around them – from walking out of the changing room to stepping out on court or into the pool.

 

The swimming session also recommends hands-on tactile demonstrations when teaching new swimming techniques, as well as how to help blind and partially sighted swimmers to develop and progress both recreationally and competitively.

 

The tennis session explains how to identify tennis techniques that are appropriate to teach according to one’s level of sight, and also recommends hands-on tactile demonstrations when teaching participants new warm-up or tennis techniques, and how to track the noise of the tennis ball.

 

The bespoke sessions are also complemented by generic training around sight loss and how it affects participants, creating engaging environments, and venue accessibility to name a few.

 

“As a charity that is striving to break down sporting barriers for those with sight loss, we know first-hand that swimming and tennis are sports that blind and partially sighted people are keen to participate in, but having enough confident coaches is key to helping them take that first step – which is often the biggest,” said Frankie Rohan, Workforce Officer at British Blind Sport, who is herself severely sight impaired.


“So many sports coaches across various sports tell us that they do not feel confident teaching an individual with sight loss because they don’t want to say the wrong thing or don’t know how to integrate them into a session safely and appropriately – and this new course has a crucial role to play in changing that."



The new e-learning sessions feed into the See Sport Differently campaign that British Blind Sport has partnered with RNIB on, which shows that one in two blind and partially sighted people feel that having sight loss stops them from exercising as much as they would like to, with one in three saying there are sports they want to try but have been unable to.


The training courses – the first sport-specific sight loss e-learning courses - will be promoted by the LTA and Swim England to their coaches/workforce across the UK.


For more information about coaching blind and partially sighted people in swimming and tennis visit www.swimming.org/ios/coaching-training/ or www.lta.org.uk/play/inclusion-disability/visually-impaired-tennis/

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