Sports Adaptations

Archery | Athletics | Cycling | Goalball | Golf | Gymnastics | Judo | Outdoor Recreation | Powerlifting | Showdown | Skiing | Swimming | Tenpin Bowling | Wrestling


Archery

The following is a description of the equipment and technique used, and the assistance needed when shooting archery as a person who is visually impaired.

Adaptive equipment:

The best design is sturdy, adjustable and portable.

Sturdy:  The foot-marker must not be susceptible to bending, cracking or breaking. It must be able to withstand occasional accidental standing or stepping on it. The tripod used to mount the sighting aid must not wobble or flex.

Adjustable:  The foot-marker and tripod must adjust according to an archer's height, stance and arm length when at full draw. The archer must be able to make quick adjustments to the sighting aid during shooting ends and efficient larger adjustments to the entire apparatus between shooting ends.

Portability: The tripod and foot-marker must be light-weight and collapsible in such a way that it can be transported easily in a vehicle or cargo compartment of a plane and when carried onto the shooting range. .

Foot-marker:

The foot-marker enables the visually impaired archer to return to the same position on the shooting line at the beginning of each shooting end. It is placed on the ground relative to the shooting line. It is placed so that the archer can back up against it, touching the back of her heels to the board at the position of the foot placement indicators protruding from the board. These foot placement indicators are adjustable depending on the archer's preferred stance. When the archer is standing properly, relative to the foot-marker, she will have one foot either side of the shooting line.

Tripod/mount for sight:

The tripod holds the sighting aid. It enables the visually impaired archer to aim. When set up, it is indexed into the foot-marker so that they become one unit. The archer raises her bow and touches the back of her hand to a probe that protrudes from the sight. The archer is allowed one point of contact for sighting.

Spotter:

A spotter will guide the visually impaired archer to the shooting line in the area of the foot-marker. The spotter will stand 3 feet behind the shooting line, directly behind the archer. The spotter will tell the archer where arrow hits the target after each arrow is shot. The spotter will indicate the color of the ring and the position in that ring by saying the clock face. Example: Red, 10 o'clock. Miss, 3 o'clock. After each shooting end, the spotter will guide the archer to the target so she can retrieve her arrows and may assist with scoring.

This video clip was taken of Janice Walth by a member of her club this past May. The first one is 18 seconds and shows the close-ups of the equipment. The second one is a little longer, 8 minutes.  It shows me shooting and retrieving my arrows. Courtney, is shooting behind Janice. This demonstrates how an archer who is visually impaired can participate in his/her local club and be quite independent. We connect one end of a rope to my tripod and other end to the target so I can retrieve my own arrows and return to the line myself. At a tournament, though, I use a spotter.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNEAD1dMqmw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIKwGLBPwy8

For Additional Information Please Contact Janice Walth

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Athletics

Video: Basics of Guide Running for Track & Field and Trail

Modifications and Suggestions for Training and Competition

Track

1 Guide Running

a. B1. If the runner is blind or has little vision, use a guide runner. Have guide and blind runner hold opposite ends of a 2.5 foot length of rope loosely between 2nd and 3rd fingers. In early stages of guide running, a shorter rope may be used to increase confidence. Lengthen rope as runner gains confidence, since longer rope allows a more natural arm swing. A short tether (arms in unison) work well for some guide/competitor combinations. Don't tie or knot around fingers or wrist, since a fall could dislocate a joint. Start by walking, then jogging and then running on a track or other smooth running surface. The guide runs either alongside or slightly behind the runner. Competitors have varying opinions in regards to running on either the inside or outside of the guide. Give runner only minimal information about conditions, such as need to pass slower runners, etc.

b. B2. If runner has enough vision to follow, guide should wear easily seen colored shirt and place self in the "good visual spot" of runner and run either alongside or slightly behind. Use smooth safe surfaces underfoot in the beginning to avoid tripping; then gradually move to sidewalks, etc., if runner desires. Guide gives feedback about conditions underfoot.
If runner has enough vision to run safely without a guide, when practicing, use inside lane to make it easy to visually follow the curb/grass line. Practice moving from lane to lane, with the head down, watching the lane lines.

Guide Running

Guide running for the blind is an exhilarating experience. Often runners are hesitant to serve as guide runners fearing they will do something or not do something that could result in injury or a poor performance for the blind athlete. In actuality, running with a blind runner is nearly the same as running with your regular sighted training partners.

The guide runner and blind athlete run in unison with a foot long tether held firmly in the fingers of the guide and athlete. Tethers can be as simple as a shoe string or made of other materials such as leather. The purpose of the tether is to allow freedom of movement for both the blind athlete and the guide, but keep them in close proximity of each other. As they run, the guide becomes a play-by-play announcer of sorts. It is the guide's responsibility to provide verbal cues to the athlete on matters such as upcoming hills, turns, curbs, uneven footing, where other competitors are in the race, times, etc.

At events such as the Texas Roadhouse Stampede for VIPS in Lousiville, Ky. it is common that the blind athlete and guide will be running together for the first time. Experienced blind athletes will know what type of tether and methods of communication works best for them and they will convey this to the guide. Usually an easy warm-up run before the race will allow the guide and athlete to become one team so both are comfortable with each other when the gun goes off to start the race. If one is a veteran guide runner, they will have the experiences necessary to easily guide experienced or novice blind athletes. The trickiest tandem is when the guide has little or no guide running experience and the blind athlete is a novice. In this case, it is important to have an experienced guide or blind athlete on hand to give a quick clinic on effective guide running and answer questions that either the guide or athlete may have.

Finally, it is important that the guide runner be a faster runner than the blind athlete. This will allow the guide to focus on the needs of the blind athlete and not be concerned with their ability to keep up the pace. Also, a faster guide will be more relaxed with their running and the athlete will feel this through the tether each is holding, reassuring the athlete that the guide will be able to stay up. In the case of an exceptionally gifted blind runner, such as Henry Wanyoike, who has run the 5K in 15 minutes and 17 seconds (averaging 4 minutes and 55 seconds per mile for 3.1 miles), it may be difficult to find a guide who can stay up with him. One solution is for Henry to bring his own guide with him, one that he knows can run at his pace. Often, this may not be possible, so it is important to locate a runner in the community who can run Henry's pace (this can be tough as there may be few, if any runners, in the local community who can run the entire race at such a fast rate). If one runner can not be found, the last option is to locate two or three runners who can run a mile or two at Henry's pace and then have them switch at a pre-determined location along the race course.

Guide running is one of the ultimate forms of volunteerism as the guide is giving of both their time and talent. The personal satisfaction of knowing you have helped another individual meet a goal that they could not have otherwise attained is a reward that money can not buy!

2 Distance racing

a. B1 and B2. If runner has little or no vision, use tether as above in B1 description. Runner gives instructions about speed, guide informs about other racers. Runner must cross finish line before guide to avoid disqualification.

b. B3. Standard International Association of Athletics Federations rules shall apply.

3 Sprint racing

a. B1 with guide runner. Best speeds accomplished with guide runner, as opposed to other methods used in the past. Each guide/runner team uses two lanes. Much practice coming out of starting blocks is required.

b. B1 "calling." Independent sprints can be done with "calling." If it's a 50-meter race, place a caller behind the finish line and facing the runner in lane 4. Caller cups hands and yells "Point at me," readjusting pointing line, if runner is not accurate. When satisfied that runner knows running direction, Caller yells "ready, mark, set, go!" As runner approaches, caller repeatedly and loudly yells runner's lane number through cupped hands and at runner. Example "Four, four, four, four!" If runner veers to his or her right, caller yells "Five , five, five!" with a stronger emphasis until runner returns to lane 4. If runner veers more than one lane, caller yells "Stop!" Caller must move out of the way before blocking the runner to let him/her pass and then yells "Finished!" at finish line crossing. If 100 meters, use two callers, dropping the first out at 40 or 50m and place the second behind the finish line where he/she picks up the calling until the finish. Be aware that if Caller stays in runner's path too long, it may hinder runners who think they will collide with the Caller. NOTE: CALLERS ARE FOR USE IN TRAINING ONLY. THIS TECHNIQUE IS NOT ALLOWED IN CONTINENTAL, WORLD OR PARALYMPIC COMPETITION.

c. B1 guide wires. Many residential schools for students who are blind still have 50M sprint tracks composed of stretched wires, which allow 2 to 4 runners to hold the wires and compete side by side. This method is considered out of vogue because it slows runners down compared to running with a guide, but provides a good sprint practice track.

d. B2 sprinters. As discussed above, B2 sprinters may use guide runners. Much practice is needed to ensure a successful start as both runners must start from blocks.

e. B3 sprinters. Standard IAAF rules shall apply.

4 Relay Racing

a. B1. The baton exchange requires some modification for B1 runners. The primary differences in the exchange are increased communication between the runners and a modified hand-off. The waiting runner begins to yell the runners name at standard intervals of one second or so. Please note, calling the in-coming runners name will only work in practice and the approaching runner yells "go" when in position. The awaiting runner holds the arm straight out from his/her side, rather than straight behind, but the receiving hand is still held in the traditional way. The approaching runner swings down on the waiting runner's arm and slides the baton to the right and into the waiting hand. Obviously, this exchange is more complex than normal and takes a good deal of practice to be efficient.

b. B2 and B3. All important "targets" in the exchange are made more visible. That is, baton with stripes and brightly gloved receiving hand can be used with the above adaptations to the degree the runners' vision requires. Please note that the baton cannot be altered in any way during competition. Also, the runner with the least amount of vision might be placed in the last position of the relay, since the exchange is only receptive and less complex.

Cross Country Racing

1 B1. See distance running above, but the guide must describe the running surfaces that the runners are approaching. Much repetition across troublesome parts of a course is recommended before a race. Also, better than average ankle support should be used.
2 B2 and B3. See distance running above. Cross country races add the additional problems of unpredictable footing and staying on the course. If running without a guide, be sure about places where poor footing is known and practice. Also, mark places on the course where it is easy to take a wrong turn with large highly color contrasting signs, flashy ribbons, etc.

Field Events

1 Shot Put

a. B1. Assuming the shot put facility is standard, that is, that it has an inset concrete or raised steel ring and a stop board in the front, there is little adaptation needed. Since the problem is only in keeping the shot within the throwing boundaries. The athlete can stay within the throwing circle because it is tactual and he/she can tell where the front of the circle is because of the stop board. A towel or other article left just outside the back center can help for exact lining up at rear of ring for initiating the approach. If there is only a painted circle instead of a ring or stop board, affix a raised rope under two-inch tape over the painted circle and place towels or other articles just outside the front and back of ring for orientation.

b. B2 and B3. Same principles apply as for B1 athletes, except make kick box more easily visible by taping cross hatching or stripes on it with black or brightly colored two inch tape.

2 Discus Throwing

a. B1, B2, B3. If the discus area is standard and uses a raised circular ring, the only problem for a blind or LV thrower is knowing where the exact front and back are. As with shot put, simply leave towels or other articles just outside at those points, so the thrower can reach down and touch or use limited vision to see the center front and center back. The center front marker should obviously not be something easily tripped over. Again as in shot put, if there is only a painted circle and no raised ring, make a raised ring using two-inch vinyl tape and 1/8th inch cord taped under.

3 Long Jumping

a. B1. The major difficulties are staying on the running approach, hitting the board without fouling, and landing safely in the pit. The most independent and efficient adaptation is "calling." Place the jumper on the runway at a three step approach distance, place the caller facing jumper at end of sand pit, have caller yell "Here" and ask jumper to point directly at caller to verify alignment. Then have caller yell through cupped hand, "Okay-ready-go!-go!-go!-go!" The caller also has an abort command ("Stop!") if the jumper veers off the runway.

The board is adapted by making a lightly powdered three-foot section of runway three feet or so short of the pit. The jump distance is measured from the "footprint" in the powder, rather than in the usual way. Teaching when/where to jump is the same as with sighted jumpers. That is, by having the jumper count steps, not by telling the jumper when to jump. In fact, some B1 athletes have competed using a standard board. Number of approach steps starts with three and works up as far as possible for an optimal run and jump.

b. B2 and B3. The board can be made more visible with black or brightly colored stripes of two-inch vinyl tape. Orange cones may also be placed on each side of the take-off board for B2 competitors The last ten to twenty feet of runway can also be marked on both sides with two-four inches of brightly contrasting tape. If tape does not stick to the runway, it can be tacked down with small nails with large heads. Some B2 jumpers may also want a "caller".

4 High Jumping

a. B1. The major problem is the jumper's inability to locate the crossbar. As such, the only way high jump can be accomplished is through placing raised starting marks on the runway, then practicing the number of steps at which the jump is to be made. The direction of the run up can be done by hanging a beeper or other sound source on the bar or one on each of the crossbar standards. The learning part of this event is the most difficult and will require a good deal of task analysis, starting first with no crossbar and working up to using one.

Note: Sound devices are to be used only during training. During competition, B1 athletes are permitted to use a caller to provide acoustic orientation. The caller must stand in a position that does not hinder the event officials. B1 jumpers are, however, permitted to touch the bar as an aid to orientation before run-up. If on doing so, the athlete dislodges the bar this will not count as an attempted jump.

b.B2. The crossbar is generally striped black and white, but it can be made even more visible by hanging strips of two-inch black or bright orange tape from the crossbar. If the tape hangs about one foot, the bar is much more easily seen. Bright markers on the runway can also aid low vision jumpers in their approaches.

Equipment

1 Opaque Glasses. B1 athletes must wear approved opaque glasses or an appropriate substitute in all field events and all track events up to and including the 1500m when competing in a USABA, International Blind Sports Association or International Paralympic Committee sanctioned event. The opaque glasses or substitute must be approved by the responsible technical official. Glasses, once approved, must be available for checking at all times. When not competing, the athlete may remove the dark glasses or substitute.

Escorts and Guide Runner Access to Competition Areas

1 Only escorts or guide runners for B1 and B2 athletes will be permitted to accompany competitors onto the track or into throwing and jumping areas. Those persons acting as guides or escorts must be clearly identified.

2 Competitors in the B1 triple jump and the B1 long jump may use a caller to provide acoustic orientation during the approach run and a guide to assist in positioning the athlete on the runway.

3 B2 athletes for jumping events may be accompanied to the competition area by only one person, who may serve as caller and/or guide. No additional persons will be permitted in the competition area.

Guiding

1 B1 and 2 athletes are allowed to use a guide in competition; however, with few exceptions, they must furnish the guide.
As the blind runner crosses the finish line or enters the relay exchange box in the relay, the guide must be behind the athlete.

2 The method of guidance is the choice of the athlete. He or she may choose to use an elbow lead, tether or to run free. In addition, the runner may receive verbal instruction from the guide. Bicycles or other mechanical means of transport may not be used by guides.

3 At no time may the guide pull the athlete or propel the athlete forward by pushing. Infringement of this rule shall lead to disqualification.

4 Whether or not a tether is being used, the athlete and guide shall not be more than .50m apart at all times.

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Cycling

There are no adaptations required for tandem cycling, other than having a sighted pilot. However, there are a few suggestions for cyclists who have never been on a tandem bicycle.

First, communication is crucial between the two riders, especially when learning to ride as a team. It is preferred that the pilot already have experience with the tandem, either from previous rides with experienced stokers, or at least having ridden it for some time alone. This will increase a pilot's familiarity with the different handling characteristics of the bicycle's longer wheelbase.

When mounting the tandem, the pilot should hold both brakes and sit on the top tube of the bicycle with his/her legs further apart for a stable stance and to allow for clearance of the pedals, which will at first be controlled by the new stoker as he/she boards the bike. Once the stoker is in both pedals, he/she will inform the pilot by saying, "ready", the pilot will then tell the stoker the desired position of the pedal for starting. When the pilot is ready, he will tell the stoker to start pedaling and when pedaling needs to stop for the pilot to get into the other pedal. This seems complicated at first reading, but will soon become natural with regular rides on the bike.

Again, with turning the bike, the pilot needs to communicate to the new stoker what is going to happen. The first few rides should be gentle for instruction and to allow the new stoker to get used to the movement of the bicycle. If the new stoker simply keeps his/her weight centered over the frame of the bike, this will make the pilot's job much easier. This also will form a good foundation to build on as skills and speed increase. Eventually, the stoker will learn to follow the bike's lead. A good stoker will become so smooth that the pilot will sometimes forget that he/she is on a tandem.

When stopping the tandem, the pilot should be expected to stop the bike and hold it up while the stoker leans slightly in the opposite direction to help balance the bicycle. When restarting, the stoker will learn to rearrange the pedals to the pilot's preferred starting position. If the stoker is expected to dismount the tandem, the pilot will communicate this and assume the position explained above. The pilot can then dismount the bike only when the stoker has informed the pilot that he/she is clear. Otherwise, the pilot can hold his/her seat and swing a leg over the front of the tandem to avoid kicking the stoker.

As two riders learn to ride as a team, they will become familiar with communicating through the timing chain between them. Also, finer skills such as pedaling with a powerful, circular stroke and a smooth upper body will be developed with coaching from the experienced pilot.

Riding a tandem will open many new doors for a blind or visually impaired rider, particularly for those who have previously ridden a single bike, either competitively or recreationally. The pilot also gains a great deal of satisfaction from sharing his/her passion for cycling and watching the stoker grow as a skilled cyclist and athlete. Then, as a team, the two riders can enjoy the rewards of tandem cycling, whether they are riding recreationally or competing against other qualified teams from all over the nation and even the world!

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Goalball

 

What is Goalball?

Goalball is a Paralympic sport played by athletes who are blind and visually impaired. Developed after WWII as a way to keep blinded veterans physically active, it has become the premiere team game for blind athletes. Played competitively by men and women around the world, it is a very fast paced, physically challenging, strategic and exciting game.

How Do You Play?

In goalball, two teams of three players each face each other across a court that is nine meters wide and 18 meters long. The object of the game is to roll a basketball size ball with bells inside over the opponent's goal line. Your opponents listen for the oncoming ball and attempt to block it with their bodies. Once they are able to stop the ball and take control of it, they become the offensive team. Complete rules are available at http://www.ibsa.es.

The Court and Rules

The player's zone is marked at either end of the court by taping a heavy string down to the court for the players to feel with their hands or feet. The player's zone is 3 meters deep and extends the width of the court. Each players zone has three orientation lines which the players use to line themselves up with and maintain their orientation to the court. Three meters in front of the player's zone, is the overthrow line. The goalball must touch the floor at least once before crossing this line or a penalty is assessed. Other common penalties are for holding the ball too long, one player throwing too much and touching the eyeshade. When a penalty occurs, the guilty player must defend the entire court by himself. The game consists of two 12-minute halves and takes about an hour to play an entire game.

Strategy

The defensive team usually sets up a zone defensive. The player in the middle of the court is called the center. The center is the primary defensive player. He or she plays at the front of the player's zone and defends a majority of the court. The players to the right and left of the center are called wings. The wings are usually the primary offensive or throwing players. Defensively they play behind and to the left and right of the center defending their respective areas. During the game, the center will usually stop the ball and pass it to a wing. While the wing is throwing the ball, the center will reorient themselves to the center of the court. Knowing that a thrower is slow to return to his defensive position, or that a player might not be in his defensive position, many teams will attempt a "quick throw" hoping to catch their opponent out of position. Curve balls, off speed balls and various other balls are sometimes thrown hoping to confuse the other team. Players may quietly change wing positions with the ball hoping to surprise the defending team by throwing from a different area.
 

Goalball Equipment

Goalballs

Clilck here to order goalballs. Price per goalball is $100 for Current USABA Members and $125 for non-members, This price includes shipping, handling and customs fees.

Eyeshades

Goggles have to block all light and vision.  Commercial goalball goggles are available, however, ski goggles are often a lower cost and preferred alternative.  It is suggested that you contact your local snow ski clubs or ski facilities and ask them to donate their used or lost and found goggles.  Scratched or cracked lens are no problem as you will be taping over tge them anyway. The straps and the foam around the edge must be good.   Although any type of tape can be used, you need to ensure no light can be seen through the lens and vent areas when the goggle is placed against the face.

Knee and Elbow Pads

Most any pad will work; however most of the Team USA players prefer to use the Trace brand as they seems to hold up longer. There are two kinds of Trace elbow pads: short ones and the longer variety. Although either type will work, most players prefer the longer pads. For the knee pads, most players prefer the Trace 47000 softball knee pad as it is longer and covers part of the shin. These can be bought at your local sport store.

Pants

There is no required pant. Most players prefer to use hockey pants while others prefer to use football pants and pads or soccer goalie pads combined with a variety of other pants. The use of all of these is permitted; however all members of the team must have the same color and style. These can be purchased at local sports stores.

Jerseys

Jerseys may be hockey, football, soccer, or any other jersey so long as they match and have numbers that are a minimum of 20 centimeters (8 inches) high permanently affixed to both front and back. It is helpful to the officials and scorers table if the numbers are contrasting colors and easy to read.

Eye Patches

Patches are required in all major competition. At most tournaments in the USA patching is done on the basis of the opposing coach asking for certain players to be patch and then the requesting coach must furnish the patches.  Additional information regarding eye patching can be found in the IBSA goalball rules http://www.ibsa.es.

Floor Tape and String

Two-inch wide gym floor tape is the best to use and may be purchased at most local sports stores. String (.003 meters in diameter) may be purchased at the local hardware.
It is suggest that you not use duct tape on the floor as most of the time it will damage the floor; masking tape is also not advised as it tears easily and is hard to remove.

Goals

Once your team becomes competitive you may wish to secure goals to practice with. Goals can also be purchased from a few commercial sources, but because these goals are specialized for this sport and the demand is small, they can be cost prohibitive.  Several teams have produced sturdy, low-cost goals using PVC, a plastic tubing available at most large hardware stores.  The dimensions of the goals can be found in the goalball rules at http://www.ibsa.es.

Rules

Complete goalball rules can be found at http://www.ibsa.es and click on goalball.
 

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Golf

Modifications and Suggestions for Training and Competition

B1, 2 & 3. Golfers who cannot see the ball require adaptations to addressing the ball, lining up to aim the shot, striking the ball during the swing, knowing the distance to the green, and knowing where the hole is while putting. For simplicity's sake, we will use a right-handed golfer as an example here. The addressing problem comes in insuring that the club face is set so it strikes the ball at a perfect right angle. If the club face is left open (rotated clockwise) right) the ball will slice away to the right and if too closed (rotated too far counterclockwise) the ball will hook to the left. Right handers address the ball properly without vision, by taking the proper left hand grip on the club, leaning down and placing the club head squarely behind the ball with the right hand, then standing up keeping the left hand grip steady. The club is then set to be swung properly.

Lining up to hit the ball in the proper direction can be done by having a coach or caddie lay a club on the ground that is aimed at the direction of the desired placement, then having golfers line up their toes along the club shaft.

Predicting distance is done as it is with a beginning golfer who can afford a caddie, which is have a caddie or coach who is familiar with the course predict the distance.

The choice of club for proper distance is something that must be established with much practice.

Putting can be assisted by using the end of the flagstick to "bang" around in the cup, to give the golfer a sound target. If the ball is extremely close to the hole, the golfer can place the left hand in the hole and tap the ball in with the putter held in the right hand.

Resources:

Adaptive Techniques for the Visually Impaired Golfer

American Blind Golf

International Blind Golf Association

Middle Atlantic Blind Golf Association

National Alliance for Accessible Golf

U.S. Blind Golf Association

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Gymnastics

Modifications and Suggestions for Training and Competition

Floor exercise

a. B1. The only adaptation required for those with some experience is that of orientation to the mat. When doing forward rolls or other movements, it is difficult to know what direction you are facing when you start or if you are veering off of the mat during the roll. This can be avoided by taping a two-foot length of rope on the mat to line up on when beginning the routine and by placing a sound source or a caller at the point at which the exercise will end. Simply have the athlete line up on the rope and indicate your location by pointing at the "caller" who says "Here is the turn around point!" before telling them to begin. In competition, the exercises are done on a diagonal and commonly the tape recorder playing the music for the routine is placed at the opposite corner or turn around point, eliminating any need for sighted help. When the athlete reaches the halfway point and turns around to start back, an instructor at the starting point gives one "End here" command and the routine continues toward that command. Instructional techniques differ little from those used to teach any beginner, since spotters commonly help the beginner through moves anyway.

b. B2 B3. Techniques are much like those described for B1 athletes, but coaches wearing highly visible clothing replace the sound cues as points of reference.

Vaulting Horse

a. B1. The major difficulty here is mounting, since the location of the top of the horse is not known by the blind athlete. It is usually best to start in reverse order from what is normally taught. In other words, start with dismounts, then work towards mounts. To indicate the top of the horse, give it a firm slap for the mounter. The process of mounting is done through step counting and much practice.

b. B2 B3. Marking the horse with strips of highly contrasting two-inch vinyl tape and placing it in good lighting are helpful adaptations.

Balance Beam

a. B1 B2 B3. There are essentially no adaptations required except giving athletes a verbal cue to let them know if they are about to go off of one end because of a miscalculation. Beginners will need to be told when to stop, but totally blind athletes can master the length problem by knowing the distance it takes to do their routines, just as sighted athletes do.

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Judo

Video: Judo Adaptation for Blind Athletes

Transisioning from Wrestling to Judo for Blind & Low Vision Athletes (by Marc P. Vink, Ed.D., National Judo Coach)
As an Asian wrestling form, judo has much in common with Greco-Roman and free style wrestling. This article discusses the transition between the two sports. Click here for article.

Modifications and Suggestions for Training and Competition

B1 and B2. Judo adaptation is similar to wrestling. During informal matches, opponents start with a grip on the Gi of the other. In formal matches, guides bring the opponents to the introduction, then to the starting line, opponents touch and drop hands, the match begins, and the guides remove the opponents at completion.

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Outdoor Recreation

There are several problems associated with outdoor activities, such as hiking and camping. The problem with hiking for people who have little or no vision, is keeping track of where they are and where their goal is. There are low and high tech adaptations available to such people. Most hiking is done on trails and since it is relatively easy for a long cane or dog guide user to follow a well-worn path, and since there are both mechanical and electronic compasses available, hiking in such places is doable. Carrying a cell phone on a trail that is in an area with cellular service, can take a lot of anxiety out of hiking, since a pick up person can be called in the rare case of trouble.

The greater problem comes when there are no worn trails or the person who is blind wants to canoe in a lake, hike across open grassland, or move from one golf green to the next. The low-tech answer to this problem is to leave a radio or other sound beacon there and always stay within earshot of that beacon, but this method confines movement to small areas. There are now high tech devices that provide people who are visually impaired nearly totally independent hiking, rowing, paddling, etc. At least two talking Global Positioning Satellite systems are available that permit such people to leave electronic markers anywhere in the environment and return to them, even from miles away. For example, someone who wanted to hike, camp, and fish independently could mark the point of entry from a road, major landmarks along the trail, the tent, the boat landing, the toilet, and several hot fishing spots in the lake and move about from one of these waypoints to another and get back home with no sighted assistance. See the resource section on this website for GPS vendors.

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Powerlifting

Powerlifting is an excellent sport for blind and visually impaired athletes looking to compete against able-bodied individuals as the adaptations are minimal for the sport. Also, athletes can begin training at any local gym or even at home with the proper equipment. Unlike weightlifting, powerlifting involves three separate lifts: bench press, dead lift and squat.

In competitions against other blind and visually impaired powerlifters, sanctioned by USABA or the International Blind Sports Association, there are as many as 95 total categories allowing for participation by athletes of a variety of ages and sizes as follows:

Men

Age Categories

  • Senior: From 14 years upwards (no category restrictions need apply).
  • Junior: From 14 years to and including 23 years of age.
  • Master 1: From 40 years to and including 49 years of age.
  • Master 2: From 50 years to and including 59 years of age.
  • Master 3: From 60 years and upwards.

Bodyweight Categories

  • 52kg
  • 56kg
  • 60kg
  • 67.5kg
  • 75.0kg
  • 82.5kg
  • 90kg
  • 100kg
  • 110kg
  • 125kg
  • 125+kg

Women

Age Categories

  • Senior: From 14 years upwards (no category restrictions need apply).
  • Junior: From 14 years to and including 23 years of age.
  • Master 1: From 40 years to and including 49 years of age.
  • Master 2: From 50 years and upwards.

Bodyweight Categories

  • 44kg
  • 48kg
  • 52kg
  • 56kg
  • 60kg
  • 67.5kg
  • 75.0kg
  • 82.5kg
  • 90kg
  • 90+kg

Adaptations

Adaptations for the blind are minimal for the sport of powerlifting. Allowances are made for the lifter's coach to mount the platform with the lifter and help position him in relationship to the bar, including the positioning of hands and feet as well as bar placement. For the actual lift, the coach must leave the platform & return to the coach's designated area. For the referee commands, the visual hand commands are augmented with audible commands.
Coaching of blind and visually impaired powerlifters is similar to that of sighted athletes; however, when demonstrating a lift or correcting an athlete's technique, the coach should make sure to either show the athlete the technique at close range or use a hands-on approach in which the coach performs the lift and the athlete feels the proper placement as the coach describes the motions he is using.

Powerlifting Resources on the Web

The International Powerlifting Federation

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Showdown

Showdown is a fast-moving sport originally designed for people with a visual impairment, but you don´t have to be blind to play! Sighted people and those with conditions other than blindness find this game exciting and challenging. Sometimes it is mistakenly referred to as table tennis for the blind because it is a table game. However, unlike table tennis, a court is not marked on a Showdown table and points are scored by hitting the ball into a goal pocket located at the end of the table.

Additional information about showdown, including Showdown rules can be found here.

Here you can find some video clips demonstrating the game.

If you would like additional information about Showdown, please contact Dr. Jim Mastro.

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Skiing

Modifications and Suggestions for Training and Competition

Nordic Skiing

a. B1, 2, 3. Competitors must wear blackened goggles. They use guides who have sight in one of three ways, following them, side by side with them, or in front of them. Assuming that there are preset machine made indented tracks present, skiers that follow their guides can generally outperform the others, primarily because the racer needs few verbal cues, since the skiing sounds, voice cues, or a beeper attached to the guide provides a direct sound to follow. The guide needs to be a good enough skier to be able to look ahead quickly and at the same time monitor the ski racer behind. Side by side guides/racers use both sets of preset tracks and the guide needs to give instructions to the ski racer as they go along the race rout. The guide following method gives the guide great visibility of the race course and the racer, but requires a lot of verbal commands. The first method is the most natural for the racer, but the most difficult for the guide, while the first two are the opposite. The commands used are (a) "Starting a gentle (or sharp) turn right (or left)," (b) "Coming to a strong uphill (or downhill)," (c) "Tips right (or left)." to get skis back into tracks when they are diagonal across the tracks, (d) "Step right (or left) if skis are out of the tracks but still parallel with them," (e) " Trees or other obstacles close on left (or right)." Caution -- Never grab a ski pole to keep a skier from falling, since shoulder joints can be dislocated.

Alpine Skiing

According to the International Blind Sports Association (http://www.ibsa.es), "Alpine (downhill) skiing is one of the rare opportunities available, which allows the blind individual to move freely at speed through time and space. An opportunity to embrace and commune with the primal force of gravity, thus experiencing the sheer exhilaration of controlled mass in motion, in a physically independent setting."

Whether an elite level ski racer or a weekend ski enthusiast, the thrill and exhilaration of alpine skiing is available to any blind or visually impaired person.

Through the efforts of the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA), most ski resorts can provide instruction to visually impaired persons on how to ski as well as instruction to sighted companions on how to guide.

Many ski areas have adaptive ski programs, usually staffed with a combination of professional and volunteer instructors.

For B3 and higher acuity level B2 skiers, the only adaptation necessary is to have a competent skier, be it a sibling, friend or instructor, ski in front of the visually impaired person as a guide. The visually impaired person in turn follows the guide, usually as close as possible, and watches the guide for cues as to turn initiation and terrain changes. A predetermined signal, such as a raised arm, can be used to anticipate a stop. If necessary some voice commands can be mixed into this system.

For a B1 and low B2 athlete, a voice communication system will be necessary. This can be performed with the guide either in front of or behind the visually impaired skier. The guide must continually provide, in a loud voice, a sound, such as "Go, go, go, go, right turn, go, go, go, left turn, go, go, go..." Again, a pre-determined signal for stopping, such as "Left turn aaaaaannnnd stop!" must be worked out. The key to success with the system is communication, the skier and guide must be willing to work out between them what will be most efficient. A system of different adjectives and voice intonation can greatly enhance the system. This is all part of the game, the journey, and as such should be enjoyed. Go ahead be creative, have fun with it!

Some skiers with little or no vision also employ a method of skiing attached, usually side by side with the guide either holding the hand or the ski pole of the blind skier. This method can be most advantageous when skiing through congested areas, on cat tracks and into lift lines.

Most B1 and B2 skiers who compete employ a voice amplification system - a boom mounted microphone and a compact amplifier with a speaker, usually installed in a fanny pack or small back pack, which the guide wears.

Whatever methods are chosen, skiing can provide the blind and visually impaired with a lifelong sport offering camaraderie, the opportunity to participate with sighted friends and family and the quite unique chance to move independently at speed, in one of natures most beautiful and exhilarating settings.

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Swimming

Techniques

Visually Impaired S12 (B2) and S13 (B3)

Same as able-bodied swimming.

When explaining leg and arm movement or position in the water, it is helpful to be in the water physically manipulating swimmer's body. Remember to let them know what you are doing before you do it.

Explain things with a lot of detail. Do not say, "Do this..." and show movement. Same as able-bodied swimming.

Blind S11 (B1)

Same as able-bodied swimming.

When explaining leg and arm movement or position in the water, it is helpful to be the water physically manipulating swimmer's body. Remember to let them know what you are doing before you do it.

Explain things with a lot of detail. Do not say, "Do this..." and show movement.

Training

Visually Impaired S12 (B2) and S13 (B3)

Training plans and expectations should be the same as any able-bodied swimmers. Place them in speed appropriate lanes. The expectations of the visually impaired swimmer should be the same as their able-bodied peers.

The coach may wish to stand in front of the swimmer to give visual/auditory information or use the athlete to demonstrate a technique (Be sure to do this without making it a negative situation for the swimmer).

Blind S11 (B1)

Training plans and expectations should be the same as any able-bodied swimmers. Place them in speed appropriate lanes. The expectations of the blind swimmer should be the same as their able-bodied peers.

The coach may wish to use the athlete to demonstrate a technique (Be sure to do this without making it a negative situation for the swimmer).

Lane Lines / Markers

Bright colored lane lines or markers on the lane lines may assist the swimmer if the traditional lines are difficult for the swimmers. Ask the swimmer what would help them.

Swimmers will run into lane lines a lot while learning. Sharp/rough lane lines may be painful and cause the swimmer frustration. Watch for these situations and approach accordingly.

Walls / Flip Turns

The S13 (B3) Athlete

In Training

A bright colored marker may be placed on or near the wall for beginning teaching purposes to locate the wall. As they develop, the swimmer should work on their stroke count.

In Competition

In national and international competition, swimmers cannot use any external aid to help them see the wall for turns.

The S12 (B2) Athlete

In Training

Depending on the athlete's level of vision, a bright colored marker may be placed on or near the wall for beginning teaching purposes to locate the wall. As they develop, the swimmer should work on their stroke count.

In Competition

Swimmers may have a tapper in national or international competition. This is the swimmer's choice.

Same ideas as S13 & S11 may help.

The S11 (B1) Athlete

In Training

The athlete should work with the tapper and/or sprinkler to develop their stroke count going into the flip turn. The tapper should be used at a consistent distance from the wall each time.

In Competition

The expectations of the blind swimmer should be the same as their able-bodied peers.

Tapping

The S12 Athlete

Swimmers may have a tapper in national or international competition. This is the swimmer's choice.
If the athlete wishes to be tapped, it is beneficial that the coach is the tapper since they "know" the athlete the best. Tappers may not give swimmers encouragement, or coach them, only instruct them regarding their surroundings.

In Training

If the athlete chooses to be tapped, it would be beneficial to have a consistent person(s) tap for the athlete in practice and competition.

What is the tapper?

See below.

The S11 (B1) Athlete

In Training

It would be beneficial to have a consistent person(s) tap for the athlete in practice and competition.

In Competition

Swimmers must be tapped in national and international competition. It is beneficial that the coach is the tapper since they "know" the athlete the best. Tappers may not give swimmers encouragement, or coach them, only instruct them regarding their surroundings.

What is the tapper?

Tapper: Any long pole or stick (usually a cane) with a tennis ball attached to the end.

Procedure: When the swimmer nears the end of the pool, a person on the deck reaches to tap the swimmer on the back, head or shoulder to indicate the wall is approaching. Each swimmer determines the site of the tap.

Another option for tapping in training situations. Sprinkler System: Attach an oscillating outdoor sprinkler to a hinged board. The sprinkler should be set to spray straight up.

Hinge two boards together--one with the sprinkler fastened to the board and angled to spray into the pool. The other is on the pool deck with a heavy weight attached to keep it from moving. Setting the angle of the board will depend on the how many lanes you hope to mark.

The sprinkler is then connected to the water supply and turned on.

The objective is to provide another means of identifying where the swimmer is in relation to the end of the lane.

This is very helpful to a coach who is unable to tap at both ends of the pool. This could be used in conjunction with the tapper at the other end.

Aqualert: A device developed specifically for the blind or visually impaired swimmer. Similar to the sprinkler system, the Aqualert makes the visually impaired swimmer aware of the upcoming wall through water that sprays down to the pool from the backstroke flags.

Send off Times and Pace Clock

Visually Impaired S12 (B2) and S13 (B3)

Place a smaller portable pace clock right in front of the swimmer's lane. Have the swimmer go behind a slightly faster swimmer that they can follow.

The coach can choose to verbally tell the swimmer when to go. As the swimmers become more independent in training, the athlete can count silently to themselves (one one-thousand, etc.).

Place in speed appropriate lanes, but still challenge for optimal performance.

The S11 (B1) Athlete

Have the swimmer go behind a slightly faster swimmer who is willing to verbally communicate the send off.

The coach can verbally indicate the send off. As the swimmers become more independent in training, the athlete can count silently to themselves (one one-thousand, etc.).

Place in speed appropriate lanes, but still challenge for optimal performance.

Circle Swimming

Visually Impaired S12 (B2) and S13 (B3)

Swimmers follow circle-swimming rules. Have the swimmer use one bright lane lines or the bottom of the pool to guide.

The S11 (B1) Athlete

S11 swimmers can be taught to circle swim but require a lot of practice and patience with the other swimmers.

When pushing off the walls, the swimmer should make sure they "square off." Swimmers place back flat against the wall before pushing off to push off in a straight line.

One-way swimming against the lane line is optimal.

Diving

Visually Impaired S12 (B2) and S13 (B3)

Starting block starts are used with the same technique as able-bodied swimmers.

The S12 Athlete

For relay take-offs, an assistant may tap the swimmer on the foot when it is time to start. An assistant may also hold the swimmer's ankle and let go when it is time to start.

The S11 (B1) Athlete

One-way swimming against the lane line is optimal.

Starting block starts are used with the same technique as able-bodied swimmers.

An assistant may help guide the swimmer up on to the blocks.

For relay take-offs, an assistant may tap the swimmer on the foot when it is time to start. An assistant may also hold the swimmers ankle and let go when it is time to start. No verbal communication is allowed in national or international competition.

Locker Room/Pool Mobility

Visually Impaired S12 (B2) and S13 (B3)

Explain and show the swimmer where things are located and which routes to travel when. This will encourage complete independence getting to and from the pool.
The S11 (B1) Athlete

Explain and show the swimmer where things are located and which routes to travel when. This will encourage complete independence getting to and from the pool.

Meets

Visually Impaired S12 (B2) and S13 (B3)

Explain and show the swimmer where things are located and which routes to travel when. This will encourage complete independence getting to and from the pool.

Enter the swimmer in all appropriate local competitions. Notify the meet referee prior to the competition to explain the swimmer's potential needs.

The S11 (B1) Athlete

Explain and show the swimmer where things are located and which routes to travel when. This will encourage complete independence getting to and from the pool.

Enter the swimmer in all appropriate local competitions. Notify the meet referee prior to the competition to explain the swimmer's potential needs.

Goggles

Visually Impaired S12 (B2) and S13 (B3)

Look for information about the annual USA Swimming Disability Championship meet. Information can be found on the USA Swimming website under events. If the swimmer meets qualifying times, encourage their participation.

Same as able-bodied swimming.

The S11 (B1) Athlete

Look for information about the annual USA Swimming Disability Championship meet. Information can be found on the USA Swimming website under events. If the swimmer meets qualifying times, encourage their participation.

Goggles are to be blacked out and inspected by meet officials during both national and international competition.

Resources

USA Swimming: Adapted Swimming Committee

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Tenpin Bowling

Ten-pin bowling is one of the most popular recreational activities in the United States among both sighted and visually impaired athletes as it provides people of all ages the opportunity to compete in both recreational and elite settings at all ages. For the blind bowler, this is also an appealing sport because the only physical modification needed for the lanes is a portable guide rail, depending on the vision of the competitor.

Blind and visually impaired athletes can most effectively compete in bowling through one of two adaptive methods: sighted guidance or a guide rail as follows, according to the International Blind Sports Association, http://www.ibsa.es.

Sighted Guidance

When sighted guidance is being used, blind bowlers are aligned on the approach by sighted assistants before their deliveries. The bowlers would normally be aligned on a spot which they wish to execute their deliveries. Such a reference point may be a certain board on the approach.

Guide Rail

The guide rails used are made of either wood or light-weight tubular medal and can be assembled, disassembled and stored away very easily. They are held in place on the bowling approach by the weight of bowling balls and can be used in any bowling center without damaging the lanes or interfering in any way with the operation of the center's automatic bowling equipment.

The rails are placed along side the bowling approach and they extend back from the foul line. A bowler who needs the assistance of a guide rail usually slides one hand along its smooth surface while delivering the ball with the other hand. The starting position of the bowler in relation to the guide rail should be carefully noted.
The bowler can determine whether the ball is being released in the center of the lane or near one edge. The rail is positioned to run straight along the first board outside the width of the lane. Of course, bowlers are free to use the bowling technique that they prefer.

A sighted assistant usually is needed to tell a blind bowler which pins have been knocked down or how the remaining pins were missed. These assistants identify the pins either knocked down or left standing by calling the numbered locations of the pins and this information tells a blind bowler where to roll the next ball or how to modify the delivery of the ball the next time to bowl.
If you'd like more information about Tenpin Bowling, please contact our National Program Coordinator: Gerald Rickert

Resources

American Blind Bowling Association

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Wrestling

Of all the sports blind and visually impaired athletes compete in, wrestling is considered by many to be the easiest to modify. In fact, there is only one basic adaptation needed for blind wrestlers to compete against sighted opponents. During competition, the two competitors must maintain constant contact when in the standing position. This is done by touching fingertips; one hand up and one hand down. If contact is broken, the match is stopped and the wrestlers "touch up" and start again.

Transisioning from Wrestling to Judo for Blind & Low Vision Athletes (by Marc P. Vink, Ed.D., National Judo Coach)
As an Asian wrestling form, judo has much in common with Greco-Roman and free style wrestling. This article discusses the transition between the two sports. Click here for article.

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