Goalball is a Paralympic team sport designed specifically for the visually impaired. Participants compete in teams of three, and try to throw a ball that has bells embedded in it into the opponents’ goal. Eyeshades worn by all players allow enabled players to compete on an equal footing with visually impaired players.
During the session students and staff were given crucial tips on how to improve their technique and playing style, such as developing communication techniques that help identify the location of the ball and who is in play. Students at the Academy with visual impairment found the game very liberating and playing has given them and enormous confidence boost.
The our VI Specialist, Esta Bernardini, who will also be the teams coach said: “It’s been really inspiring for our visually impaired students to realise that they can achieve things in sport and they are able to play alongside sighted friends, equally. It’s a totally inclusive activity so everyone can join in, we are hoping to progress the Goalball Team and look into the possibility of a more structured league. We have been told that there is already some real talent amongst our players, some of whom have been invited to the Goalball UK Talent Camp hosted by the Royal National College for the Blind, Hereford – I couldn’t be more proud of their efforts.”
The session was delivered by Stephen Newey, National Schools Officer for Goalball UK. They involved both visually impaired and enabled students and came about after students decided to form a UAK Goalball Team, after an inspiring visit to Hanson Academy where students experienced a Goalball demonstration.