How to Get into Disability Sports
How to Get into Disability Sports
Keeping active by getting involved in different sports is beneficial for body, mind and soul, no matter your ability. However, putting yourself out there and participating in a new sport can be easier said than done, especially if society has put barriers in your path before.
Accessible sports and activities are becoming more widespread as disability awareness improves and the need for inclusive spaces is understood by more people. As a provider of holidays for people with disabilities, we’ve seen time and again how beneficial adventure and activity can be, so are always keen to see more people pursue the sports they love!
Finding the Right Disability Sport For You
No matter what sport you’re interested in, chances are it can be adapted to your needs and made accessible to everyone. Maybe you’ve been inspired by others in your lives or have taken an interest in a sport you’ve seen played on TV? There are countless sports to explore:
- Wheelchair rugby
- Accessible cycling
- Inclusive football
- Wheelchair tennis
- Accessible watersports
These are obviously just a snapshot of some popular sports you could get into, but with the right equipment and club, there is no limit to the activities you can get involved in as someone with disabilities. From inclusive gymnastics to climbing to sailing, there is something for everyone, regardless of age, ability or interest.
Finding Your Local Accessible Sports Clubs
But how can you start getting involved?
Aside from just starting out on your own, the most obvious place to start is seeking a dedicated or inclusive club for your sport in your local area. Taking to social media and finding relevant Facebook groups or club pages is a good initial step and may help unearth some interesting sports you wouldn’t have thought about trying before.
The organisation Parasport provides a very handy activity finder that’ll help you narrow down the search and show what kind of sports events are being held near you, again giving you a good idea of the types of clubs operating in your area.
Finding An Inclusive Gym
If you want to build your strength or keep fit more generally, you may also be drawn to joining a gym. Starting at a gym can be daunting, doubly so if you’re not sure whether they can provide a welcoming environment with the support you need.
The Inclusive Fitness Initiative works to make gyms more accessible to people with disabilities and aims to close the activity gap. Gyms with IFI Mark accreditation are recognised as becoming more disability-friendly.
There are now more than 400 gyms with the IFI Mark around the UK, so it is well worth seeing if there are any local to you.
Resources for Accessible Sports
There are lots of organisations doing important work to increase the availability of sports and encourage the best ways to keep active for people with disabilities.
Among these, notable examples include the seven National Disability Sports Organisations:
- British Blind Sport
- Cerebral Palsy Sport
- Dwarf Sports Association UK
- Special Olympics Great Britain
- UK Deaf Sport
If you want to get serious about your sport, these are the organisations to turn to! You will be able to access support, advice and opportunities with the resources they provide.
Activity Alliance also provides some great resources regarding sports and disability, especially for other organisations that want to make themselves more accessible and offer better disability-friendly activities and environments.
Accessible Sporting Equipment
Depending on the sport you’re doing, you may need specialist equipment to take part comfortably and safely. Many accessible clubs will have the equipment you need or make the necessary adaptations; however, don’t take this as a given – you may have to seek out your own equipment for certain sports.
If you’re planning on putting a lot of time into a sport and getting a lot of enjoyment out of it, it may be worth investing in your own equipment. For example, if cycling is something you’re starting to love, but you can only do it with your local club’s bike, it may be worth investing in your own handcycle or recumbent bike.
Accessible sporting equipment can be expensive, but the physical and mental benefits of staying active can make it worth the cost. Plus, you may be able to get grants or support from disability sports charities that could help cover the costs of the equipment you’re after.
Accessible Activity Holidays
If you can’t find anywhere local that is offering the level of accessibility and activities you want, it may be time to seek adventure a little further afield.
Accessible holidays that offer a range of activities provide a great opportunity to get truly active and step out of your comfort zone. Depending on the centre you visit, you could try things like horse riding, zip lining, abseiling and surfing the waves – if that’s not getting active, we don’t know what is!
Holidays like these provide a chance to get away from the normal routine and try your hand at lots of different sports or physical activities somewhere you know will be able to cater to your needs and support you throughout your stay.
Here at Calvert Exmoor, our guests can participate in a whole host of accessible adventure activities and sporting endeavours during the day before retiring to our accessible accommodation to relax in the evenings for a fulfilling and memorable holiday experience.
If this sounds like something you or a loved one would enjoy, please get in touch to find out more about booking a stay with us.