BBS and Partners Celebrate #GreatCoaching During UK Coaching Week!
British Blind Sport (BBS) is proud to be an official partner of UK Coaching’s Coaching Week, a national awareness campaign which empowers athletes, coaches and the public to celebrate great coaching!
Impact of Great Coaching
UK Coaching Week is an opportunity for BBS and our partners to recognise coaches we work with and raise awareness of the important role they play in helping blind and partially sighted people lead active and independent lives. There is a great coach in all of us. Whatever your sport, whatever your background, whatever your level of experience - great coaching starts with you!
Colin Johnson – Guide Runner
Colin Johnson is the group leader for VI (Visually Impaired) Runners Bristol, an England Athletics running group of both sighted guides and blind and partially sighted runners, connecting people to enable them to take part in training runs and races regardless of their fitness and ability.
In September 2021, more than 10,000 runners took to the streets for the return of the Great Bristol Run. The event featured the UK's first-ever dedicated 10k race for blind and partially sighted people after Colin asked that The Great Run Company include a race to encourage people with sight loss to take part. Colin says, “The goal was to try and raise awareness of VI running because there is currently only a tiny fraction of blind and partially sighted people that do get out and run, and the benefits can be enormous with mental well-being and self-belief. The race was a great success and I hope that it will be the start of others doing similar events.”
Colin started running 25 years ago when he entered the Bristol half marathon. He first came across guide running when he met Chris Blackabee, who needed a guide to get him through his first marathon.
This Saturday, 11th June, Colin is guiding Chris who will be the first-ever blind man to compete in this year’s Man V Horse race which is an off-road marathon. Their goal is to inspire other blind and partially sighted people to try running. BBS want to say a huge thank you to Colin, who continuously supports blind and partially sighted runners in the Bristol community and beyond, motivating many to take those first steps towards being physically active.
Frankie Rohan - Visually Impaired Tennis Coach
After she started losing her sight at the age of 28, Frankie Rohan's life could have taken a very different route. Thankfully, her mum persuaded her to go to an RNIB event where she met the Northeast Visually Impaired Tennis Club. Fast forward 5 years and Frankie is now a qualified tennis coach leading VI sessions in the Northeast, coaching B1 players in the GB squad and is the Workforce Officer at BBS.
Frankie says, "I had no idea there were sports designed specifically for people who are blind or partially sighted. Being around other people who were in a similar situation and shared my interests has been an important source of support for me since losing a lot of my vision. Taking my LTA Coaching qualifications has been a great process to go through. I've made loads of new contacts through tennis coaching, and I think VI players appreciate the empathy and experience I can bring. Tennis has given me so many good friends and so many good times I can honestly say I wouldn't be where I am today without tennis."
Because of Frankie Rohan and her enthusiasm and passion, many visually impaired and blind people in the Northeast have been inspired to pick up a racket and give tennis a go. Thank you Frankie!
Kathryn Fielding – Goalball Coach
At Goalball UK, we are thankful to all our coaches, from their first contact with our sport through to our talent and Great Britain teams...
However, a special thanks goes to Kathryn Fielding who has helped, supported and developed every one of us in her inimitable way. Kathryn’s commitment to Goalball, and the success of the sport, is phenomenal. Whether it’s getting sessions started, delivering qualifications, facilitating training or running competitions of all levels, Kathryn will undoubtedly be there giving 100% of her effort, as well as a huge amount of her time, to ensure everything is successful and fully accessible for all.
Kathryn has travelled the length and breadth of the UK to promote and introduce Goalball, giving blind and partially sighted people of all ages the opportunity to take part in the sport. She is well-known for her contributions to the sport and the positive impact she has had on people's lives.
Bob Lathbury – Boccia Coach
BBS has hosted numerous "Have a Go Days" around the country since lockdown eased in 2021. Bob has travelled from Sheffield to Bristol and everywhere in-between to deliver boccia sessions for our blind and partially sighted participants, as a volunteer. He is enthusiastic about sports and the inclusion of people with disabilities. Many people have been inspired by him to take up boccia, including an 83-year-old gentleman at our Bristol event. Bob creates fun and engaging sessions, tailoring them to the needs of his participants and ensuring that everyone leaves with a better understanding of the sport and of sports in general. He also works with elite athletes, coaching the England Performance Squad. Sport in general needs more coaches like Bob - passionate, selfless and skilled!
Lancashire Lions Visually Impaired Sports Club
Sheraz Chohan – Visually Impaired Coach
Sheraz puts huge amounts of effort into connecting with and understanding all of his participants as individuals. He can talk about inclusivity from direct experience as someone with a visual impairment, creating an inclusive environment where everyone is supported to participate.
Sheraz creates an environment where people feel empowered and motivated by actively encouraging feedback from participants and volunteers. Sheraz uses this feedback to develop sessions with his participants while offering volunteers the chance to take the lead on delivery. Sheraz, not only a brilliant coach, is fantastic at facilitating leadership opportunities for others.
Sheraz has been the main driving force behind the establishment of Lancashire Lions Visually Impaired Sports Club, based in Manchester. This multi-sports club, specifically created to offer more opportunities to be active to those with a visual impairment, has been hugely successful.
In addition, Sheraz was instrumental in the development of the UK Blind Baseball Association, an affiliated governing organisation which aims to grow blind baseball across the whole of the UK.
Marc Waggitt – Swimming Coach
Marc first assisted BBS at our National Youth Swimming Gala. He volunteers and donates his time each year to teach our beginner's swimming lessons to help develop our young swimmers and increase their confidence in the water. Marc has coached in the UK and USA across a variety of sports and has had multiple students win medals, including at the Special Olympics.
Marc lives in the Northeast with his wife and son Jack, who has a visual impairment. He says, “A good coach should be approachable; they should be dynamic in teaching and enthusiastic. If they cannot cater for your needs or help find someone who can, they may not be the coach for you. Make sure you build a connection and relationship with your coach because you need to trust them. Coaching is teaching, you will be learning from this person. Find a sport or activity using the BBS Activity Finder - it’s a brilliant tool and I’ve told many people about it and to register their club or organisation if they have VI coaches.”
Our award-winning e-learning “Coaching People with Visual Impairment” is packed full of helpful tips, practical solutions and videos to increase coaches’ knowledge, assurance and skills, ultimately making their practice more inclusive. The course is suitable for coaches of all levels and is fully accessible to blind and partially sighted learners.
As part of this year's celebration, we are offering a 10% discount on the course using code BBSCWI. This code will be valid to use until 30/06/2022. BBS Members can enjoy a 33% discount on this course. To get your discount code, contact BBS on 01926 424 247 or email email@example.com
Click here to try a free demo: https://www.ukcoaching.org/courses/elearning-courses/coaching-people-with-a-visual-impairment
UK Coaching has also launched #Born2Coach, a movement that will inspire people to get into coaching while also empowering those who already coach to improve their skills. The collaboration will ensure coaching becomes more accessible, inclusive and innovative than ever before. To find out more about the campaign and how you can get involved, visit: https://www.ukcoaching.org/born2coach