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Tips for coaches

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1. Use demonstrations

Where possible, demonstrate techniques or corrections rather than rely on verbal explanations. In order to conduct effective demonstrations, coaches should present one or two key points of a skill at a time and use athletes where possible to demonstrate.

2. Visual aids

Display information visually wherever possible, such as whiteboards during team meetings / halftime, written game plans and instructions before games / training and so on. This type of communication is best practice and will benefit all in the team. 

3. Check for understanding

If a deaf person does not reply or seems to have difficulty in understanding, rephrase what you just said / demonstrated before moving on. A deaf person will usually confirm they understand by a nod of the head and conversely you should do the same.&

4. Ask the athlete to teach you sport specific signs

There are a number of simple sport specific signs that a deaf athlete can teach members of your sporting club to assist with communication during matches and training.

5. Don’t make the athlete stand out

Make all attempts to avoid making the deaf person look conspicuous (eg don’t continually ask them in front of the group if they understand). 

6. Effective positioning

In group situations, encourage the deaf athlete/s to position themselves where they feel most comfortable such as in front of the coach and at the front of the group.

7. Identifying signals

Make sure that the deaf athlete/s can identify essential signals in your sport (eg visual equivalents to whistles or guns), a simple example could include a referee / starter putting an arm up, then down at the same time as the whistle / gun.

8. Involve the team

It will be useful to discuss the general hints described above with squad members, parents and/or assistants prior to or shortly after the deaf athlete joining the team. The coach/manager can also educate umpires about what can be done to assist the athlete.

More information

Information provided by Deaf Sports Australia. Reproduced with permission.

Deaf Sports Australia logo Active Deaf Kids Program




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