Saturday April 9th was an exciting day. The first time that Ontario Soccer had partnered with Ontario Blind Sport in a more structured and formal way to deliver a blind soccer course that closely followed NCCP coach education philosophies and structure using the experience both Facilitators had as Learning Facilitators in our own right.
The collaboration enabled Ontario Soccer to bring the sport specific knowledge to the session while Ontario Blind Sport talked in detail about guiding, classification and the specific nature of the blind community. A total of 13 candidates attended the workshop from predominantly two backgrounds. The first were a local group of coaches who are preparing to offer a Sudbury regional program of blind soccer and the second were the local CNIB Staff who will be offering support and promotion in the community to their client base. Both groups engaged in good discussion during the classroom session which focused on:
- Player Pathways across sport for athletes with a disability
- Laws of the Game including field of play and taping
- Long term Athlete Development Model, specifically First Interaction and Awareness
Group work discussing appropriate language.
Greg Theriault, Ontario Blind Sport discusses Classification.
The gym session focuses heavily on the safety of the sport and the role of the Guide in supporting their athlete including field familiarization and keys to good communication. Coaches then delved in to the specific techniques around the basic skills of passing and control, dribbling then shooting before finishing with a small sided game. Over the 90 minutes of practical activity the group built confidence playing soccer without their sense of sight and working hard at developing listening skills.
Key Factors when coaching athletes with a visual impairment:
1. Safety from the education of Guides to a clear, organised training area
2. Communication is key, with clear succinct direction at the right time
3. Keep Guides on hand throughout the session, including during the game.