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New Book Offers Insight into Coaching Disabled Athletes at Elite Level

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As the world’s biggest disability sport event draws to a close, with Great Britain taking home an enormous 147 medals, attention now turns to how we continue to create opportunities for disabled people to participate in sport at the elite level.

The London 2012 Paralympic Games provided a seismic shift in people’s attitudes to, and perceptions of, disability sport, and at the Rio Games there was further recognition of the incredible achievements of the elite performers and athletes who have overcome adversity, trauma and personal battles to make it to the top.

Behind each and every one of those world class athletes was a world class coach. Now, a new book, edited by two academics at the University of Worcester, one of the UK’s leaders in disability sport, is the first to take an in-depth look at the role of coaches and adaptive coaching at the highest level of this rapidly developing field.

“Coaches working in disability sport need a far greater level of understanding of those aspects of physiology and sporting technique that are specific to the discipline they are working within,” said Professor Derek Peters, an expert in Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity. “They almost need to be expert in their athlete’s disability as well as in their sport, in order to coach them to achieve at the highest level.”

Using in-depth case studies of elite disability sport coaches from around the world, High Performance Disability Sports Coaching, offers a framework for critical reflection on coaching practice as well as the reader’s own experiences of disability sport. The book also evaluates the vital role of the coach in raising the bar of performance in a variety of elite level disability sports, including athletics, basketball, boccia, equestrian sport, rowing, soccer, skiing, swimming and volleyball.

Providing a valuable evidence-based learning resource to support coaches and students in developing their own practice, High Performance Disability Sport Coaching is essential reading for all those interested in disability sport, coaching practice, elite sport development and the Paralympic Games.

Dr Geoff Kohe, co-editor with Professor Peters, said: “There is no other book out there that focuses on coaching disabled athletes at elite level. This is such a growing area, thanks in most part to the Paralympic Games, and there is a real need for further academic and research work in this area.”

The University of Worcester has gained a reputation as the most inclusive university in the UK, not least for its work around disability sport. The University is the home of British Wheelchair Basketball, who train at the 2,000 seat University of Worcester Arena, the first indoor sports venue in the country designed specifically to meet the needs of the wheelchair athlete.

Three students of the University competed in the Rio Paralympic games and a number of others have been involved in supporting athletes to compete at the highest level.

For more information about the book, High Performance Disability Sport Coaching, visit https://www.routledge.com/High-Performance-Disability-Sport-Coaching/Kohe-Peters/p/book/9781138860377