Coaching people with Disabilities


Over the last decade awareness of sport for people with disabilities in Ireland has increased due to several factors including, the hosting of the Special Olympics World Games, the successes of Irish athletes at Paralympic Games and the development of structures by the Irish Sports Council, Sport NI, Disability NGBs, Disability Sport agencies and a number of mainstream NGBs.

Coaching Ireland launched the Coaching Strategy for Ireland with an all-Ireland remit, working to the policies of the Irish Sports Council and Sport NI.

The vision for coaching in Ireland is (as stated in the Coaching Strategy for Ireland 2008)

"Everyone involved in sport is working together with the common aim of delivering a quality coaching system which:

Is inclusive and fully integrates participants, performers and coaches of all abilities and backgrounds"

In order to achieve this vision, the Coaching Strategy for Ireland, included the Strategic Theme: Improving Access and Inclusion. Coaching Ireland worked with an expert group (established by NCTC) to develop this framework and the materials required to implement same. This Framework will provide the opportunity to address coaching for people with disabilities in a pragmatic manner up to 2012, in line with the Coaching Strategy for Ireland.

John Treacy, Chief Executive, Irish Sport Council and Eamonn McCartan Chief Executive of Sport Northern Ireland both attended the launch today and stressed the importance of an the all island approach to the framework and the work of Coaching Ireland.

Speaking at the launch, Mary Davis, Managing Director, Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia said that "Given the greater awareness in Ireland that people with disabilities participate in sport, it is appropriate to put in place coach education programmes to assist in making this involvement sustainable in the long-term. Having coaches deployed across sport at all levels who can provide quality experiences for people with disabilities will allow more to get involved, gain the benefits of being involved and contribute to keeping them involved for life."

Also speaking at the launch, John Fulham, former European 100m/200m sprint champion and Paralympic Finalist said that "The coaching process is the same for people with disabilities and non disabled. Good coaches listen to and look at the needs of individual participants, develop and deliver coaching programmes to optimise the ability of the athletes, review what is happening and repeat this cycle. For any athlete the input of a good coach will assist them to optimise their ability."

Coaching Ireland also announced today some of the key implementation requirements which are already in place, training will take place at the end of May and again in June to prepare the tutors to deliver the material. Declan O Leary Head of Coaching Services said that "Coaching Ireland are looking forward to supporting the National Governing Bodies to integrate the disability awareness materials into their coach education courses."

For further information contact:

Sheelagh Quinn, Head Corporate Services

Coaching Ireland

University of Limerick






07-Jun-09 by