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6 June 2018

Disability sport sessions are delivered in schools, colleges and at Wigan Youth Zone on a weekly basis.

  • Coaching Week 2018 is a celebration of #GreatCoaching in the UK.
  • Joe Pym and Sean Rowlinson lead the Trust’s disability sport provision.
  • Every Player Counts aims to get more disabled people involved in sport.

“I’m so proud of how the project has been received and as cliché as it probably sounds the role I have working for Latics is so rewarding.”

As part of UK Coaching Week 2018, Wigan Athletic Community Trust Disability Football Officer Joe Pym reflects on the success of the Every Player Counts disability sports programme since its launch in November 2016.

“The small steps the participants make at each session is a particular highlight for me because I know I’m having an impact on their development.  

“Seeing so many people who maybe haven’t had such an opportunity before now enjoying themselves playing football and sport is just amazing.

“It’s important when coaching people with disabilities to keep everyone involved and to make them feel like a big part of the session. There’s a need to keep the good players challenged but also to improve those who may not be of the same ability.

“Understanding the needs of every individual is a key skill but then seeing them having so much fun at your session really makes it worthwhile. They really appreciate your coaching and love it when they know they’re working with coaches from Wigan Athletic.

“The programme has had wider success too in the fact that players have gone on to represent England and to feature regularly for the club’s teams.”

Funded by the Wembley National Stadium Trust and administered by the EFL Trust, the project has a simple aim of getting more people with disabilities involved in football and sport, with nearly 4,000 participants taking part in nationwide activities each week.

Here in Wigan, Joe and Sport and Cohesion Coach Sean Rowlinson have influenced the lives of hundreds of people with disabilities, with sessions delivered in schools, colleges and at Wigan Youth Zone, while the club also competes in the Greater Manchester Ability Counts League. 

Sean added: “I enjoy the challenge of coaching and trying to transmit information to the learner, so that’s a case of me getting my ideas across to them and how I can influence and impact their progression.

“I started coaching in 2014 at my local grassroots football club and took charge of a younger age group before joining Wigan Athletic as a volunteer so I could get more experience within different age groups and abilities to be able to broaden my horizons.

“The Every Player Counts programme gives us the opportunity to deliver sports coaching to disabled people and those with learning difficulties, so they can have the chance to take part in physical activity, which ordinarily they wouldn’t normally have.

“In my experience, coaching our U16 disability team has been fantastic because seeing the participants coming along to sessions, interacting with others and playing for Latics is brilliant as it not only develops them as footballers but personally too.

“At the end of the day football is for everyone and it should be for all, so getting to see them have that experience is brilliant.

“It’s the small accomplishments that make me feel proud as a coach, be that seeing them making a good pass, dribbling with the ball, scoring their first goal or just pulling the Latics kit on. It puts it into perspective how lucky we are to get to provide that opportunity.”

For more information about UK coaching week, please click here.

Please email or call 01942 318090 for more information about the Every Player Counts programme.

Wigan Athletic Football Club, Wigan Athletic Community Trust and the DW Stadium are committed to respecting and promoting equality and diversity across all its activities through Together.

Click here for more information about Together.

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