“Go into your sessions with patience, no expectations and enthusiasm”

Our guest blog this week is by Immy.

Immy is one of the  coaches at Pershore Tennis Centre’s DSActive session. Over to you Immy…

I’ve been coaching for quite a few years now. I started out as a volunteer, helping out with sessions, and then as soon as I was old enough I got my qualifications.

I love coaching because it allows me to take the sport I love and use it connect with people from all different walks of life.

I started coaching people with Down’s syndrome because my club’s Down’s syndrome group was expanding. I was moved onto the session to help with the growing numbers. It quickly became my favourite group because of the unique rewards and challenges that come with coaching people with Down’s syndrome.

Things can take a little bit longer and take a little more effort. You always need to have six backup methods of explaining a concept in case the first one doesn’t stick. However, the satisfaction I get from player improvement, alongside the unwavering enthusiasm of my players, make all the hard work more than worth it.

Tennis is a great sport for people with Down’s syndrome. You can give players clear, attainable goals which they can recognise and celebrate when they have achieved it (i.e. getting a ball over the net). It is also easy to tailor to age and ability and can be made as complex or as simple as you want. For some players, their goal is to contact the ball whereas others are attending a new session that I run where they learn the rules of the game and implement them in points and matches.

For anyone who would like to coach people with Down’s syndrome, my advice would be to go into your sessions with patience, no expectations and enthusiasm. Coaching different types of people allows you to look at problems in a different way to how you normally would, so embrace the challenge.

Finally, the most important thing is that everyone is active and that you, and the players, are enjoying themselves!

Thank you Immy! If you want to write a guest blog for the DSActive website, please get in touch with the DSActive team by emailing dsactive@downs-syndrome.org.uk