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Chris Chapman
Talent and Performance Supporting Specific Needs

Super Human

UK Coaching's Talent and Performance Development Lead Officer Chris Chapman offers his thoughts on why he thinks Paralympic coaches are super human

Despite it being plastered over marketing posters across town, I couldn't help but think of the term 'super human' when watching the Rio 2016 Paralympics on Channel 4. You cannot help but be in awe of the achievements of individual athletes, some of who have overcome significant challenges before even starting to compete.

This got me thinking about their coaches, how differently will they need to think in order to maximise their support for their athletes? Often the 'text book' method won’t work as an athlete's technique will differ depending on the impairment.

The coach/athlete relationship needs to be at a point where the coach fully understands the qualities of their athlete's impairment when it comes to training and competiting, and in the athlete's wider support network. The coach may have to think differently in their approach, step outside their comfort zone and challenge their coaching in order to support their athlete to be the best they can be.

This raises a general question of how all coaches can make their practice more inclusive of people with impairments? Putting yourself out there and getting to know your participants is a good start. Soon your disabled participants will guide you in the characteristics of their impairment and you can change your coaching to complement.

Take a bow para-coaches, you are super human.

UK Coaching has a number of resources that provide advice and guidance on making your coaching more inclusive. Delve in by following the link below.  


Inclusive Coaching

Top tips and advice to make your coaching more inclusive


Related Resources

  • Coaching Disabled People: What Coaches Need to Know

  • John Clark - Head Coach of British Para-alpine Skiing

  • Para-javelin Coach Dave Turner


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Chris Chapman