On the 27th of November 2011 the DCAA ran a “Coaching Visually Impaired Archers” training day which was open to existing and newly qualified coaches, Derby College students and local Sight Support Derbyshire volunteers. The session was delivered by Sue Habgood and Colin Dickinson, who are County Coaches with the British Blind Sport Development Team, in conjunction with Sight Support Derbyshire, Derby College and DCAA.
Derby College facilitated the session by opening up the recently re-furbished Johnson Building in Derby City centre on a Sunday giving us access to conference rooms, canteen area and the main sports hall. Sue and Colin started the process with a power point presentation during which the attendees were made aware of the need to think outside of the usual coaching methods when dealing with beginners. The use of special equipment, in particular tactic sights, was also discussed.
The training moved in to the Sports Hall where the coaches, students and volunteers alike were shown how to deal with the physical aspects of coaching visually impaired archers. After demonstrating the correct technique Colin and Sue took a step back and let the candidates put the theory in to practice. Some of the group found this challenging, especially the existing archers who would normally use their own body to demonstrate the correct stance and execution of the shot. After re-thinking the process everyone soon got the idea and was able to instruct a “blind” archer.
After enjoying a huge lunch, the party were introduced to a local VI group who had expressed a wish to have a go at archery. Colin and Sue welcomed the group and explained the format for the taster session. The course candidates were then asked to select a beginner and take them through the process of shooting a bow. The experienced archers took the lead and then adopted the role of mentor to pass on some of their valuable knowledge to the students and volunteers. All in all, a useful and valuable training session for the participants and a great way to introduce new people to the sport.
Many thanks to Sue and Colin for driving all the way up from Brighton to deliver an excellent and enjoyable training session and a special thank you to Naomi Neighbour for providing a delicious lunch, Helen Rowley of Sight Support Derbyshire for organising the VI group and Mick Tate of Derby College for use of the venue.
Article written by Shaun Thomas, Derbyshire CDC.
More training sessions are to be arranged across the county during May 2012. For more information please contact Helen.Rowley@sightsupportderbyshire.org.uk