Back on September 13, 2013, is when I first saw the Guinness commercial that featured a person with a disability playing wheelchair basketball with some of his friends without a disability. Almost immediately I knew this commercial was going to be talked about for a long time, as well as make me want to have a drink.
Posts Tagged 'sport'
According to statistics, anxiety is one of the most common mental illnesses in the world, affecting more than 40 million adults in the United States alone.
The typical causes of anxiety include personality, brain chemistry, life events, genetics, and the disorder is also frequently linked with depression, which I discussed in my last blog post.
A new generation of Ability Thinkers – what will it take to make lasting change? As I ponder this thought, it is with windows open on a 70 degree night in January in St. Louis! That is crazy and really unheard of! Almost as crazy as a world where we can someday imagine that kids/adults with disabilities are treated no differently than those without disabilities.
What will it take to get us there as a nation and a world?
The coach and athlete of today now have a wealth of information at their fingertips to support their goal of developing athletic ability. This information may be derived from academic journals or coffee -table magazines, perhaps it is gleaned from internet chatlines or from credible sources organizations like NCPAD, but wherever it comes from sorting the kernel from the chafe requires skill and pragmatism. The phrase “A little knowledge could be a dangerous thing” is a necessary and cautionary reminder that not every piece of coaching wisdom is well conceived or suitable for your special needs athlete. There is certainly a danger in over-analyzing every single possible risk, benefit, sports tactic, counter tactic, etc, and you may find your head is whirring with contradictory ideas; sports psychologists might suggest that you are in a state of “analysis – paralysis.”
Ask a teacher or coach this question: When is a special needs athlete ready for competitive sports? The answers may surprise you for they can reveal the coaches’ sports philosophy, personal beliefs, and maybe even hint at a bias about the capabilities of the athletes they work with. Some coaches believe that the earlier an athlete starts competition the better they will be prepared for challenges later in their sporting lives. Other coaches – myself included – believe that such a decision is best determined by assessing each athlete’s capabilities (physical and intellectual) and their interests in competition; not by their age. I do not view chronology as a good predictor of athletic readiness.
Parents of special needs athletes, deciding that now is the time for their child to enjoy the benefits of school or community sports, will seek ways to find the right environment for their child. They will look for programs that encourage inclusion, promote their child’s sports development and have coaches that understand that their child may learn, think or behave in different ways. My recent experience attempting to enroll my son in community soccer shows that unfortunately things do not always follow this script.
In soccer it is a convention that you kick the ball out of bounds if an opponent has become injured; thus you stop the play. When play resumes, the attacking team is expected to give the ball to the defending team as a mark of good sportsmanship. In ice hockey you must not “spray” the goalkeeper with ice using your ice skates; if you do, you will likely attract the anger of the goalkeeper’s teammates. In a track running race, it is expected that you are two strides in front of a rival before you move directly in front of them (i.e. you are not allowed to interrupt the stride of your opponent).
What elements should be included in an exercise program? The question seems straight forward enough – but the answers that I have heard in my 30 years of teaching and coaching range range from the helpful to the bizarre. I have benefitted from a running program carefully designed to develop speed, strength and flexibility. But I was also once advised to fill a backpack with heavy rocks and sprint down hill so as to “stress my bones.” That advice cast a new application for the theatrical phrase: “Break a leg!”