Goalball - an inclusive and competitive sport designed with visual impairment in mind
Posted: Tue, 3 Oct 2023 13:15
A few weeks ago, I was privileged to go along to a local Goalball taster session, right here, in the heart of Oxfordshire.
Goalball is an extraordinary sport, designed specifically for blind and partially sighted individuals. Because of the inclusive nature of the sport, Goalball enables individuals of all abilities, including sighted people, to play, coach, officiate, and volunteer. The team strongly encourages everyone to come along and get involved, offering a very welcoming environment for all.
What is Goalball?
Goalball is an indoor sport, played on a court measuring 18.0m x 9.0m. There are three players on each team and a maximum of three substitutes. The court is divided into two, with each team staying within their half for the duration of the game.
The aim of the game is to score as many goals as possible against the opponent. Teams play with a large rubber ball which has holes in it, allowing for the sound created by a bell inside the ball to be heard. The players must throw the ball along the floor towards the opposing goal, which stretches 9 metres and sits along the back of the court. The defending team are on the floor and must listen for the sound the ball makes to try to block the ball and stop the other team from scoring. All players, regardless of their visual ability, wear eyeshades, creating an equal playing field so all players have no vision on the court and must rely on their hearing instead.
Goalball in Oxfordshire
Goalball is a fast-growing and inclusive sport which has people who are visually impaired in mind in its very nature, encouraging them to get involved in a sport for them. Being able to attend the session and meet those who were involved in setting up the team, experienced players, and those who are new to the sport or looking to get involved, was interesting and an enjoyable experience.
There were a lot of elements to learn about the game:
- Different techniques to throwing the ball
- Understand how string and masking tape is used to outline the court and support players in knowing where they are on the court (players do this by feeling for the string with their hands or their feet)
- The range of kit which is used, from eyeshades to padding
- A basic introduction to the rules of the game
As well as playing the sport, there are other roles within the game to get involved with! Not only can Goalball bring out your competitive side, it's a fantastic opportunity to socialise, be active, try something new, and have a great time.
I enjoyed the experience of playing the game and really valued the inclusiveness of the sport and of the session which I attended, as those leading the session ensured that each participant engaged to a level which worked for them.
For those who are living with a visual impairment and are wanting to try a new sport and be physically active, Goalball is in Oxfordshire!
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.