Evaluation of Wheelchair Sports Coaching Traits and Practices to Promote Well-Being


  • Gabrielle Axtell Grand Valley State University
  • Amy Campbell Grand Valley State University
  • Julia VanderMolen Grand Valley State University


coaching, disability, mental health, wheelchair sports


The purpose of this study was to establish leading coaching practices for wheelchair sports, examine if wheelchair sports coaches face more challenges than nondisabled sports coaches, and measure the awareness of a player’s mental health while participating in sports. This study surveyed currently practicing wheelchair basketball coaches registered with the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA). The survey was sent to 250 coaches registered with the NWBA. Of the 250, 16 responded to the survey for a 6% return rate. All participants stated that coaches should be educating their players (n = 16; 100%). The responses for other coaching characteristics are: constructive (n = 14; 87.5%), encouraging (n = 14; 87.5%), supportive (n = 13; 81.3%), compassionate (n = 12; 75%), strong time-management skills (n = 12; 75%), tough (n = 10; 62.5%), criticize players (n = 3; 18.8%). The preliminary findings should help therapeutic recreation professionals and sport practitioners better design and conduct programs with adaptive sports coaches to recognize athletes’ mental health.





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