STRATFORD Boat Club’s ever-increasing adaptive squad has been honoured by Parasport in being named Club of the Month for October.
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Mark Dewdney, Stratford’s head adaptive coach, said: “Stratford Boat Club’s adaptive squad’s message is clear – if there’s a will, there’s usually a way to get people rowing, no matter their circumstances.”
The adaptive section of Stratford Boat Club was started in 2015 with two rowers and now has six or seven different boats serving a squad of more than ten.
The secret of the adaptive section’s success is simple and has developed from a ‘listen first’ mentality and by embracing a people-centred approach to physical and coaching issues.
Commenting further, Dewdney said: “What makes the squad work is that we’re always learning from our athletes – we listen!
“Necessity means the rowers have often come up with clever ways of overcoming their particular issues. We take ideas from every person who comes to us and we find the athletes come up with something that we have not thought of that will help us improve what we do with others.”
The squad does not select on the basis of how good an athlete is going to be. The criteria is to look at how the squad can make it work for the particular individual.
Stratford’s adaptive rowers have wide-ranging needs, including athletes with spinal cord injuries, hemiplegia, visual impairment and autism and has a coaching team of four to cope with these challenges.
For those who are interested in joining Stratford Boat Club adaptive squad either as an athlete or as a volunteer, please contact Dewdney via the Stratford Boat Club contact page at http://www.stratford-rowing.co.uk/contact, marking the subject as ‘adaptive’.