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Coaching Skills Development in Boccia and Swimming PDF Print E-mail

Name of the EGP
Coaching Skills Development in Boccia and Swimming

Description the EGP:
This project aims to provide additional coaching opportunities to Sport Sciences University Students aiming for a future professional career in APA. The project was developed in cooperation with the Sport Sciences and Physical Education Faculty, University of Coimbra, as part of an optional subject included in the undergraduate curriculum. This project is based on an optional in loco coaching practice period with a possible duration of one or two academic semester based on the student’s choice.

The programme includes the following specific tasks:

  1. Assessment of the athlete
  2. Periodisation of the competitive season
  3. Annual training plan
  4. Coaching two times per week 90 minutes training sessions
  5. Counselling and supporting athletes during the competitions
  6. Final report for the all competitive season

Where is it provided?
The project is offered at the Associação de Paralisia Cerebral de Coimbra (APCC), Coimbra Portugal.

Who is providing this programme?
The project is based on a cooperation protocol between APCC and the Faculty of Sport Sciences and Physical Education from the University of Coimbra that exists since 1996.

Local/National/European level of programme?
The programme is running at local level but has national and international impact as the future APA professionals that benefit from the programme´s experience are Sport Sciences students from different points of Portugal or Erasmus Students from different parts of Europe, involved in the Faculties undergraduate programmes.

Segregated/inclusive setting?
APCC is an institution with a very inclusive environment (many students with disabilities are included in the regular school environment, many of the projects developed by the institution are opened and involve strong participation from the community, the institution has a kindergarten where all the children play in an inclusive environment), however Disability Sport occurs in Portugal as in many other European Countries in a non inclusive setting. The recent extent of Boccia as a new sport for elderly people contributed for a more inclusive environment in particular at recreational event where competition and performance are not perceived as the primary goals.

Recreational/competitive level?
Competitive level – Periodisation, annual planning and coaching skills aim to prepare athletes to regional and national competition levels. 91

What is the target group?
The target group are individuals with cerebral palsy classes BC1, BC2, BC3 and BC4 and elderly people.

What is the content of the programme?
The students in the role of coaches are requested to accomplish the following specific tasks and organise a portfolio that will express all the coaching work developed through a training season. This portfolio includes specific information built up by the coach in the following areas:

  1. Initial assessment of the athlete (functional, physiological and psychological)
  2. Periodisation of the competitive season
  3. Annual training plan
  4. raining sessions plans (two times per week 90 minutes training sessions) including technical, tactical, physiological and psychological training
  5. Intermediate assessment and data analyses
  6. Counselling reports about the support provided to the athlete during competition (weekends)
  7. Final assessment and final report for the all competitive season

The programme also includes the student´s participation in the organisation of sport activities preestablished in the institutions annual plan (as students, in the role of coaches, are viewed as a member of the staff).

Why this EGP is relevant to be included in EUSAPA project?
This example of good practices is relevant to EUSAPA because:

  1. It describes the importance of the cooperation between the academic world and the professional world for the preparation of more qualified APA professionals, with better intervention skills linking theory to practice.
  2. It describes the opportunity given to future APA professionals still under academic training to experience, under qualified professional supervision, practical intervention daily situations in training that will have an important role for the development of competences and skills that they would only be able to acquire latter in life, when included in the labour market.
  3. It is a good example of the support and the type of links that should be established to facilitate the transition of students into professionals, aiming for better and faster quality services provided by young professionals that recently arrive to the labour market.
  4. It is a good opportunity for students to test and confirm their vocational options and future professional career before they finish their training and re-direct their options if needed, avoiding to face that reality already included in the labour world. 

BC1 – Players in this class throw the ball with the hand or foot. They may compete with an assistant who stays outside of the competitor’s playing box, to stabilise or adjust their playing chair and give the ball to the player when requested.
BC2 – Players in this class throw the ball with the hand. They are not eligible for assistance.
BC3 – Players in this class have very severe locomotor dysfunction in all four extremities. Players in this class have no sustained grasp or release action and although they may have arm movement, they have insufficient range of movement to propel a Boccia ball onto the court. They may use an assistive device such as a ramp to deliver the ball. They may compete with an assistant; assistants must keep their back to the court and their eyes averted from play.
BC4 – Players in this class have severe locomotor dysfunction of all four extremities as well as poor trunk control. They can demonstrate
sufficient dexterity to throw the ball onto the court. Players are not eligible for assistance. 92

What skills, competences and knowledge are present in this EGP?

  1. Develop and adapt exercise and training programmes for individuals with disabilities and/or special needs for specific sports
    1. Ability to develop appropriate programmes
    2. Ability to communicate in the appropriate environment
    3. Ability to adapt in the appropriate environment
      1. Mission, vision, aims and objectives of the programme
      2. Individuals with disabilities and/or special needs in relation to sport (exercise and training)
      3. Sport opportunities and settings for individuals with special needs
      4. Sports Science
      5. Theory of sport training
      6. Sports specific background
      7. Rules and classifications
      8. Legal and ethical issues
      9. General principles of adaptation
  2. Initial assessment of current situation and past history
    1. Ability to use specific assessment instruments
    2. Ability to analyse and interpret the data on the basis of theory
    3. Ability to consider and assess accessibility in the sports specific context
      1. Protocols, test measurements, batteries, biographical information, techniques for questioning
      2. Accessibility
  3. Develop and adapt exercise and training plans
    1. Ability to identify resources
    2. Ability to adapt and use appropriate equipment
    3. Ability to apply principles of theory of sport training
    4. Ability to set realistic goals
      1. Sports Science
      2. Theory of sport training
      3. Sports specific background
      4. Rules and classifications
  4. Adapt coaching strategies
    1. Ability to use appropriate coaching methods
    2. Ability to communicate
    3. Ability to actively engage with the coaching environment (e.g. interaction, learning process, cooperation, cohesion)
      1. Coaching styles
      2. Coaching methods
      3. General communication strategies
      4. Methods of alternative communication as required
      5. Appropriate Sports Science knowledge
  5. Communication and cooperation
    1. Ability to communicate with the appropriate support networks
    2. Ability to communicate effectively with participants and target groups
    3. Ability to identify and choose appropriate strategies to communicate with key individuals or networks
      1. General communication strategies
      2. Methods of alternative communication as required 93
  6. Evaluate impact and re-adjust the plan
    1. Ability to use specific assessment instruments
    2. Ability to practically interpret, reassess and re-adjust the plan
    3. Ability to be self reflective
      1. Protocols, observation techniques, test measurements, test batteries, biographical information, techniques for questioning
  7. Administration
    1. Ability to perform administrative tasks
    2. Ability to organise and prioritise information
      1. Basic administration systems
      2. Language and information technology
      3. Prepare reports
Example of good practice was described by Jose Pedro Ferreira from the University of Coimbra, Portugal.


This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This website reflects the views only of the author,
and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
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