Enhancing inclusive sports participation through volunteer coaches: The case of Camp Shriver at Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya
The study investigated the effectiveness of using trained volunteer coaches to improve the physical activity level of youth with and without intellectual disabilities enrolled in an inclusive programme. In total, 106 youths with and without intellectual disabilities participated in the programme. Thirty two trained volunteers served as coaches. The volunteer coaches were trained for four days on teaching motor skills to an inclusive group of learners with and without disability. Data was collected through questionnaires, observation checklists and a physical fitness test protocol. Effect of the volunteer coach programme on participants’ achievement levels was assessed and a significant improvement was noted in motor performance for both participants with and without disabilities. Specifically, there was a marked improvement in both the left handgrip (t(196)=-.979<0.05), right handgrip (t(196) = -2.798<0.05) kicking (t(196)=2.743<0.05) and right leg balance(t(196) =-3.067<0.05). No significant changes were recorded in the physical fitness measures except for the waist to hip ratio for all participants (t(132)=2.743<0.001). That is, male participants (t(62)=2.139<0.036) and females (t(62)=2.139<0.036). Volunteer coaches and parents’ views were analysed qualitatively as themes. Both volunteer coaches and parents had positive views about the programme. Coaches felt that they had gained experience working with persons with disabilities, had learned new coaching methods and had improved their personal lives by changing other peoples’ lives. For parents, the programme enabled them to see the capabilities of their children. The study recommended the use of volunteer support groups to enhance motor and social skills of youth enrolled in inclusive programmes.
Keywords: Participation, volunteer coaches, disability.