It's a misconception that coaching an athlete with a disability requires highly specialized skills, knowledge or training. In fact, most coaches who work with athletes with a disability soon discover that coaching these participants is really no different than coaching any other athlete. The secret to successful coaching is to truly understand the person, to focus on their abilities, and to see what they can achieve.
"It's an honour to be a part of the transformation of an athlete as a coach, there is nothing better."
— Chris Holden
Role of a Coach
A coach in a parasport is similar to sports within the able-bodied sport system. You require a knowledge of, and passion for, the sport, an ability to teach and motivate your athletes, and an awareness of the Long-Term Athlete Development model to ensure your athletes develop in a safe and successful environment. Quality parasport coaches are important to ensure athletes have a good experience and are given every chance to reach their full potential.
Becoming a Coach
There is a National Coaching Certification Program offered by the Coaching Association of Canada which provides the resources. Also, many National Sport Organizations have sport-specific coaching resources that you can tap into.
Training to be a coach is a rewarding way to play a vital role in the community, stay active for life, and make a difference in the life and career of a para-athlete.
"I took a chance when I was asked by an athlete with a disability if I would coach him. Here I am now with 13 years and a world of experiences behind me with a world of adventure and excitement ahead."
— David Greig
ChPC, National Coach, Talent Development, Para-Athletics [Athletics Canada] and winner of the CPC’s 2010 Para Development Coach Award