21 October 2022
The University of Cape Town ParaSports Club hosted a historic Blind Football Coaching Workshop from 14 to17 May. The workshop was facilitated by Keon Richardson, an international facilitator who is passionate about the growth of the game, and came with a wealth of experience. 6 Organisations participated and all involved grew immensely from the experience. The organizations were UCT ParaSports Club, Innovation for the Blind, Athlone School for the Blind, League of the Friends of the Blind, Cape Town Society for the Blind, and Gugulethu United Goalball Club.
The facilitator made sure to keep the sessions interactive so all participants could influence how the training took place. There was a strong balance between the theoretical and practical elements of the sport. The first key element we were taught was safety. Building from safety, we went through effective communication including tactile coaching techniques. When we took to the field we went through attack, defence, goalkeeping and how to combine play. Emphasis was still placed on safety, effective communication and fun. Exercises escalated in complexity therefore allowing players and coaches to establish the fundamentals and build from them. One very positive habit the facilitator instilled in the participants was to end exercises on a good note, e.g. end a passing exercise with an accurate pass, or end a goalkeeping exercise with a successful save.
By the end of the four days, everyone was exhausted but also energised by the knowledge and skills gained. Much like the exercises from the workshop there’s now an escalation: participating organisations have been provided with Blind Footballs and blindfolds so they can start practices with the aim of establishing a Western Cape Blind Football league. Proceeding into 2023, we hope to have friendly matches and possibly a follow up workshop so as to keep the sport growing while we lay the foundations for formalising the league.