Case studies and field trials
A fundamental part of a game’s development is the observations and feedback gathered through field trials.
All of the adapted physical activities developed at Project Adapted have been through field trials at the initial action research stage and beyond.
The importance of field trials can be seen in the importance of the data gathered in the following examples:
Floor Lacrosse field trials
DSE National Mini Games – Grantham, Lincolnshire, UK. May 2002
Following the initial trials the next opportunity for trial arose at the annual Disability Sport England National Mini Games - an event for 7 to 11-year-old youngsters with physical impairments. It took place in a spacious sports hall with an ideal fast floor for stick activities, i.e. little friction. The overall implications from this second field testing session were:
- the capball sticks have high visual appeal
- the youngsters just want to capture a ball and run, run, run
- teachers are impressed by this natural appeal of the equipment and its safety.
Irrespective of the awkwardness of the angle when trapping sometimes, the participants were starting to become aware of the basic alignment necessary with the action. The action could therefore develop:
- a youngster’s manipulative ability
- perceptual awareness.
The sticks would appear to have as much value for individual, pair or small group activities in PE or recreation sessions as for an actual competitive game of Capball/Floor Lacrosse.
The participants wanted to:
- run like the wind
- zigzag in and out of other participants or floor markers
- pretend to take on a friend as an opponent to avoid
- race and shoot for the two end goals
- flick the ball in a long roll and chase it before anyone else touched it.
The teachers had to stop/slow down a couple of the youngsters, as they were becoming far too hot for their specific medical conditions.
They found the brief end to end game exciting and self-reinforcing with the key features being that:
- it was a highly exciting and reinforcing activity
- youngsters wanted to run and run.
As a result the following refereeing challenges became apparent.
- How is the tackle controlled (if a tackle is permitted)?
- How far can you run with the ball under the cage with a single possession?
As a result of field trials the equipment was developed further. The school groups trying the equipment all found the sticks very appealing and intriguing. The adjustable handles made it possible to match everyone's height and reach to the stick for the best manipulative advantage.
The durability of the equipment was impressive.
- The materials and structure of the equipment took all the rough and tumble of the tackles/clashes and the downward capping actions onto the floor.
- The weight of the sticks is a great asset for youngsters with these types of conditions, i.e. limited strength and stamina demands.
- None of the ball joints showed the slightest degree of weakness or looseness.
- The limited flat alignment angle was restrictive and challenging.
- Teachers were all impressed with the safety element, i.e. the downward capping action restricts how high the sticks are raised and thus the dangers of lifted and swing injuries do not arise.
Capball case study
Anne Cradock, Wilson Stuart School, Birmingham
The individuals with muscular dystrophy in electric chairs were:
- thrilled as they capped a ball and proceeded to glide around the area, in and out of all the others
- transfixed by watching the control they could exert over the capped ball when weaving in and out
- transferring the chair momentum onto the stick so it swung around the chair behind them to avoid clashes with everyone else zooming around.
Youngsters with unsteady gait found that:
- the Capball sticks gave them an indirect three point gait situation so they felt more secure and mobile
- they could also be doing the manipulative travel challenges with the stick and not have to think of two things at once.
The most intriguing case study was that of a young girl with athetoid-spastic condition who needed to use a walking frame for ambulating. She:
- unexpectedly shed the frame and took up the Capball stick
- tottered in and out of the other participants at a really impressive rate
- at the end of the session, put the stick down, sat on the floor and did a bottom shuffle to the next activity.
Again the three-point gait principle came in but the teachers were totally astonished by the "motivating" factor that the piece of equipment had elicited in the girl.
Zone Hockey case study
Nottinghamshire County Council Special Needs Games June 2005, Nottingham Trent University
The games were organised by Nottinghamshire County Council’s Leisure Services department for young people with special needs and hosted at Nottingham Trent University’s Clifton Campus.
Already boasting a range of young talent, it proved to be an extra special event with the launch of Zone Hockey.
Played as a five-a-side game, this high scoring, fast moving version of hockey is played in three longitudinal zones with special adapted Zone Hockey sticks. The game has been specifically designed to allow young people with disabilities or impairments to play and interact together with other children.
The event proved to be a great success.
- Many teachers were surprised at the way the youngsters can now be involved in a very dynamic invasion game.
- The zone structure gives the participants a framework to identify with on the ground, and also aids the teachers in their coaching and in the support they deliver from the sidelines.
- The zone element also ensures that each team member is actively involved and also stops participants all chasing the ball at once.
The English Hockey Association is now considering using the game for early development within mainstream primary schools. Hopefully it could then become the equivalent of what Kwik Cricket is for cricket development.