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How do I become a goalball Paralympian?

Becoming a Goalball Paralympian is a distinction very few athletes can claim.  Becoming a Paralympian in any sport requires commitment and perseverance but the ultimate reward is certainly worth the effort involved. Do you have what it takes to become a Goalball Paralympian? Here’s what you’ll need to do to work towards your goal of competing in a Paralympic Games.

 

Learn about goalball and what it takes to be good. 

If Goalball is new to you, learn about the game and know it inside and out. Check out our Goalball page to learn about players, court setup, rules, etc. Next, study the standards and selection procedures established for each major international competition so you know the qualification criteria. Additionally, the internet contains video footage of actual Goalball games that will help you better understand the sport and experience the excitement of the Paralympic Games. Check out these videos from the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games: USA Men v. LIT at Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, USA Women v. Japan at Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

 

Train for success.

Once you understand and know the sport, it’s time to train like a Paralympian. Remember that you’ll get out your training effort what you put into it. Elite goalball athletes and coaches recommend training for a minimum of five days a week under the supervision of a coach.  There are three types of training you need to undertake to succeed:

  1. General training that will help increase your overall strength and endurance.
  2. Sport-specific individual training like throwing form and accuracy, and defensive form that is focused on refining your individual skills on the goalball court.
  3. Team training that will help integrate your individual skills as part of a goalball team.

 

Find and join a team in your area. 

There are teams located across the United States for all ages and abilities and new teams are starting all the time. If you need help finding a team, email USABA Membership Manager, Kevin Brousard, at kbrousard@usaba.org. To confirm you meet the vision requirements to play goalball at national and international levels, you will want to be classified. Classification certifies your level of visual impairment for play in national and international tournaments. Vision requirements and application procedures can be found here.

 

Compete.

Compete on the goalball court as often as you’re able. USABA hosts several major tournaments a season and there are also a number of smaller tournaments held across the United States throughout the year. Check out the goalball calendar on our website to find the next tournament happening nearest you. Our coaches routinely attend these tournaments to observe athlete performance and to provide feedback to athletes regarding their performances. Submit a proof of performance form for each competition.

 

Excel.

The more you train and compete, the better your chances are at excelling as a goalball athlete. Athletes who routinely train, compete and lead their teams to success are often invited to attend national team training and trials camps.  At these camps, you will be asked to submit regular training and competition reports to the coaching staff. Athletes from this select pool may also be selected to compete in international competitions.  An athlete at this level will also want to strive to compete as a member of Team USA for Paralympic qualification in events such as:

Eligibility will be outlined in the Selection Procedures for each qualification event.  Top athletes who participate in these events are prime candidates for Paralympic Goalball teams. You can find selection procedures for upcoming events here.

Other helpful links

International Paralympic Committee Goalball Webpage
International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Goalball
IBSA Athlete Classification