Tenpin Bowling

New opportunities in sport don’t happen by chance. Often, we need to make practical changes to what we do so that all people get a fair go.

We are all products of our environments and communities (good and bad) and sport plays such an important role in our culture and our identity as Australians.

Participation in sport has so much value beyond the sport itself. Sport helps us to be healthy, make friends and learn new skills. But it also assists in the growth and development of communities.

These types of opportunities should be available to all people, regardless of their cultural background, their level of ability, their gender, religion or sexuality.

However, a lack of awareness of the value and barriers to inclusion reduces the potential to see the opportunities and options available to include people from a range of backgrounds and circumstances in all facets of sport. When we see the person first and what unique skills and abilities they can bring to your club, and not the barrier, the opportunities open up in front of us.

Adapting and modifying activities

One practical way to open up new opportunities is to look at ways to modify what you currently do to ensure everyone is getting a fair go. Inclusion encompasses a broad range of options in many different settings. So sometimes this may mean modifying a sport to provide a more appropriate version for particular participants.

The purpose of adapting and modifying sport is to minimise or eliminate disadvantage caused by the environment in which a sport is played. This strategy also enables new rules and equipment to be introduced as players mature and their skills improve.

The TREE model is a practical tool designed to help you modify your activities or programs. There are four essential elements of an activity that can be modified to make it more inclusive.

1) Teaching/coaching style

Teaching style refers to the way the sport or activity is communicated to the participants. The way an activity is delivered can have a significant impact on how inclusive it is. Strategies you may use include:

  • being aware of all the participants in your group
  • ensuring participants are correctly positioned (for example, within visual range)
  • using appropriate language for the group
  • using visual aids and demonstrations
  • using a buddy system
  • using appropriate physical assistance — guide a participant’s body parts through a movement
  • keeping instructions short and to the point
  • checking for understanding.

2) Rules

Rules may be simplified or changed and then reintroduced as skill levels increase. Strategies you may use include:

  • allowing for more bounces in a game such as tennis or table tennis
  • allowing for multiple hits in a sport such as volleyball
  • having a greater number of players on a team to reduce the amount of activity required by each player
  • reducing the amount of players to allow greater freedom of movement
  • regularly substituting players
  • allowing substitute runners in sports such as softball and cricket or shortening the distance the hitter needs to run to be safe
  • reducing or extending the time to perform actions
  • allowing different point scoring systems
  • varying passing styles: try bouncing, rolling or underarm toss, instead of overarm throw
  • reducing competitive elements.

3) Equipment

Strategies you may use include:

  • using lighter bats or racquets and/or shorter handles
  • using lighter, bigger and/or slower bouncing balls, or balls with bells inside
  • using equipment that contrasts with the playing area — white markers on grass, fluorescent balls.

4) Environments

Strategies you may use include:

  • reducing the size of the court or playing area.
  • using a smooth or indoor surface rather than grass.
  • lowering net heights in sports such as volleyball or tennis.
  • using zones within the playing area.
  • minimising distractions in the surrounding area.