Helping disabled people into fitness

 

Paralympians Dan Powell and Libby Clegg are fronting a national campaign to educate the fitness professionals and sports coaches of the UK. In doing this they show how best to integrate and coach disabled people into the fitness environment.

Paralympic Judo competitor  Dan is a newly turned international sprinter, He has grown up with a visual-impairment and was registered blind by the age of ten. At the age of eighteen Dan was scouted by the British Judo talent team and was quickly welcomed to the full time training centre in Kent where he trained full time towards the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Dan claimed fifth place at the age of 21 losing out to the current Paralympic Champion of the time. The next year Dan went on to win international titles in Germany, America and France whilst also claiming the British title. Around this period Dan fell out of love with his sport and decided to retire and move back home to Liverpool.

Throughout Dan’s sporting journey, he was inspired by his father who was also a three time Paralympian. Terry Powell always taught Dan to embrace his disability and not allow it to define him or stop him from achieving all he wanted to and reaching his maximum capabilities. This key message is one Dan now takes forward in his work and his day to day life, with his ambition to empower other people with disabilities and educate others in these different conditions through the means of sport and activity.

In 2016 Dan launched a campaign with a national sight loss charity named ‘Access to Gyms’ with the aim to make fitness environments more accessible for those with a visual impairment. With this campaign Dan’s business was born, Ability Training.

Whilst holding British records over three sprint distances on the track, Dan then continually strives for success off the track, his main aim being to educate and empower others through his work with Ability Training. Over the past year Dan has created and preached the VisAbility course which is the first official disability specific awareness course for instructors and coaches.

With support from VisAbility Ambassador Libby Clegg MBE who is a double world record holder and double Gold Medallist from the Rio Paralympic Games 2016, Libby got on board with Ability Training after seeing first hand the positive impact it had on other visually impaired people.

“The campaign had such positive feedback from everybody involved. It clearly made coaches and instructors very aware of their coaching styles and gave them an insight of how to deliver the best service for those with a disability such as a visual impairment.” – Libby Clegg MBE.

Since working with Pure gym, who piloted the first ever VisAbility workshop, Ability Training has worked with other gym chains, Judo coaches, Football coaches and MMA instructors amongst other sports coaches. The result of the work Ability has done has been very positive and has managed to introduce many new individuals into the fitness and sporting world.

“Our aim at Ability is to up skill the leisure and fitness industry so that visually impaired people have an equal opportunity in sport as mainstream participants”, says Dan. “We wish to not only help disabled people achieve in sport, but also to empower these people to achieve in other aspects of their lives”.

The VisAbility course offers sports coaches and instructor to learn more about disabilities and in particular visual impairment, The course offers a more specific education tailored towards the sports and fitness industry. On top of innovative new techniques to develop communication methods, the VisAbility course offers trainees the opportunity to learn how to guide individuals with sight loss and also learn specific guide running techniques from Paralympic Gold Medallist Libby Clegg.

On top of the ongoing education sector to Ability Training, They are also working towards showcasing Inclusive sport through Paralympic sports in day long events across the country named Para Sports Festival. This day festival aims to bring together disabled and mainstream participants from the local areas to join together to take part in fundamental Paralympic sports such as athletics, judo and goal ball alongside international coaching staff and top Paralympic athletes to pass on their experiences and help inspire others.

Other aims of Ability Training is to focus on inspiring others to develop what they can achieve as opposed to what they can’t as Ability has a bank of top Paralympic athletes who speak to businesses and groups to help inspire others to focus on positivity through speaking about the complications and struggles they have tackled en route to the top of their discipline.

 

For anymore information on the work Ability Training are doing to promote Inclusive Sport or to see how Ability Training can benefit you or your business check out, www.ability-training.com or contact dan@ability-training.com

Twitter: @Ability_UK

Facebook: @AbilityTraining

IG: @ability_UK