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The games

Since Project Adapted began we have developed six adapted sports for people with varying degrees of severe physical and intellectual impairments and continue to research and develop in this field.

Each of the games developed by the Adapted sports project were:

  • Polybat

    Polybat was developed by Nottingham Trent University PE teacher Doug Williamson and a team of students using the action research method.

    Despite the considerable early efforts of NTU and Disability Sport England (DSE) to build awareness, Polybat was not fully developed until 1999.

    Due to partnership involving the Youth Sport Trust (YST), the English Table Tennis Association (ETTA) and Nottingham Trent University - with full support from the Camelot Foundation - the more formal aspects of development were achieved, namely:

    • support
    • competition
    • coaching
    • organisation.

    Evolution of Polybat

    • In 1997 Polybat was included as one of the games in YST’s SportSability 1 bag scheme (produced by Davies Sports) and was later included in SportSability 2.
    • Wooden prototype games of Polybat evolved into the plastic prototypes and then into full production.
    • The Camelot Foundation, working in partnership with the YST, ETTA and NTU enabled the kits to roll out nationwide.
    • ETTA, in association with the British Table Tennis Association for people with Disabilities (BTTAD) have officially recognised Polybat as a table tennis based game.

    For further information see the second breakthrough.

    As Polybat is being developed within the mainstream national governing body of sport its impact has increased.

    ETTA and YST

    • ETTA promotes Polybat, not only as a game in its own right, but also as a coaching tool for both disabled and mainstream players - particularly very young children.
    • In 2000 they launched the Premier Club 'Ability' programme, which aimed to promote and support work with disabled people through mainstream clubs. It is hoped that the initiative, which also includes Polybat, will continue to encourage greater numbers of disabled people to participate in both table tennis and Polybat throughout the country.
    • In May 2002 ETTA, YST and NTU launched the Polybat Skills Awards Scheme which is proving popular with schools using the SportSability equipment.*
    • In May 2003 the Gentlemen's Night Out Charity donated £3,000 to ETTA for further development of the Skills Award Scheme.

    The game

    The game of Polybat has a number of similarities to table tennis, for example:

    • it is played on a table tennis table
    • the scoring is the same as the mainstream game
    • basic hitting movements are the same as table tennis.

    Polybat may also be used to:

    • build the confidence of disabled players
    • improve hand/eye/ball co-ordination.

    Polybat competitions

    Polybat is included within some of the regional competitions currently organised by Disability Sport England. Since 1999 it has also been included in:

    • the National Junior Wheelchair Games
    • local authority disability open days
    • the Sussex Millennium Youth Games
    • The ETTA's Premier Club 'Ability' programme
    • Wolverhampton Youth Games
    • ETTA’s Polybat Skills Award Scheme
    • the 2003 Cadbury's Get Active Festival.

    For further information on Polybat contact Judy Rogers, the ETTA National Equity and Child Protection Officer on + 44(0)1424 722525.

    Please note: If used in part for any publication, authorisation/permission must be obtained from YST, ETTA, NTU.

    Further information on the rules and resources of Polybat.

  • Table Cricket

    Due to Polybat being so successful in providing a viable sport for youngsters with more severe impairments, we decided to develop another table based game. We did this using the table tennis format from Polybat but incorporated striking and fielding without the running.

    From the range of baseball, rounders and cricket the latter was chosen because of its more universal appeal - a prototype version of baseball was created at a later date.

    The prototype

    The wooden prototype consisted of:

    • a wooden bowling ramp
    • a wooden bat and ball
    • a set of 30cms long wooden fielders for the side with the red tape in the middle for the caught out area.

    After trialling this at the 1992 DSE Mini Games it was decided to add the existing Polybat table sides to the game format to stop the balls going off the sides.

    Further action research enabled the balance of the game to be established so that it:

    • became suitable for the abilities of the more impaired youngsters i.e. those with muscular dystrophy syndrome
    • reflected the ethos of real cricket on a reduced scale.

    Four sets of this wooden version were made and the game was included in several DSE Mini Games from 1993 onwards.

    Table Cricket is now produced in kit form by the Youth Sport Trust who have been instrumental in working with the England and Wales Cricket Board.

    In recent years the Lord's Taverners have promoted the annual regional competitions and subsequent finals at Lords.

    Further information on the rules and resources of Table Cricket.

  • Target Cricket

    Target Cricket was developed from the established version of Table Cricket.

    The need for this new version arose from:

    • an awareness that there was a considerable population in the community with learning disabilities who might also benefit from the game
    • feedback from the England and Wales Cricket Board which indicated that they were increasingly being asked to involve these groups of young players in their development work.

    The original development was conducted by action research methods and then field tested at the Nottinghamshire County Cricket Ground, Trent Bridge and during the Youth Sport Trust's SportSability 2 trainers workshop.

    The challenge was to:

    • adapt cricket into an appropriate format for youngsters with learning disabilities
    • maintain the integrity of both the game as a sport and that of the participants.

    Therefore Table Cricket was adjusted so that the fielding, standing batting rotation of bowlers and use of targets all came together in a balance which is a viable sport.

    Target Cricket was one of the new games included in the YST's SportSability 2 programme.

    Further information on the rules and resources of Target Cricket.

  • Floor Lacrosse

    Floor Lacrosse is an exciting game involving co-operative running, passing and manipulative challenges. The game is suitable for all ages including those individuals with special needs and was designed for groups of:

    • mainstream youngsters
    • youngsters with a range of special needs
    • inclusive initiatives.

    It was developed via action research methods with the involvement and co-operation of the pupils and staff from the Nethergate School, Clifton, Nottinghamshire, in 2001.

    The first phase

    The evolution of Floor Lacrosse began in the 1980s with a group of pupils with severe learning disabilities from The Shepherd Special School, Nottinghamshire. They were experiencing difficulties in playing hockey based activities because the ball was always ‘running away’ out of their control.

    A DIY attempt was then made to develop a piece of equipment which would be halfway between a hockey stick and a lacrosse stick in function. The result consisted of five/eighths of a toilet ball cock attached to a piece of over flow pipe. This became ‘Capball’. The field testing proved to fairly successful.

    • The youngsters really enjoyed running around with the ball under the cap, letting it go and then chasing it again.
    • The game initially failed due to problems associated with short-term memory: when one team member ‘capped’ the ball and moved off with it, the others, both opposition and those on the same side, all forgot where the ball was.
    • As there were no transparent ball cocks to use we trialled caps from cut down plastic transparent Coca Cola bottles - this improved the awareness about the location of the ball and basic games were more possible.

    For some twelve years Capball stayed in this format and was used in a number of Nottinghamshire special schools and day centres.

    The second phase

    After the success of the Youth Sport Trust’s SportSability 1 new activities and equipment were being considered for SportSability 2 and Sportime, Atalanta USA, decided to consider developing the Capball stick further:

    • it was then produced in a plastic and light metal format with the adjustable shaft
    • the ball could now be seen through gaps in the cap
    • field work was carried out with The Nethergate School for SportSability 2 and at the DSE Mini Games in 2003.

    The game format was then developed on the basis of a basketball court and the rules evolved. With the goals at the top of the basketball key way, it also allowed for play around the back of them somewhat in parallel to the real game.

    To date the game remains mainly under developed with most teachers finding that the pupils - either physical or intellectually impaired - enjoy just running or wheeling around with a ball under the cage. For further information see Floor Lacrosse field trials.

    Further information on the rules and resources of Floor Lacrosse.

  • Zone Hockey

    Zone Hockey was originally developed via action research methods as an adapted version of hockey.

    It was then adopted by the Youth Sport Trust and included as one of the new dynamic sports for their SportSability 2 programme.

    The development of the finer details of the game in the community was due to the work carried out by England Hockey who have:

    • adopted Zone Hockey as an official special needs developmental game
    • published a booklet on the game, which includes a set of rules
    • appointed a Zone Hockey Development Officer in Birmingham.

    Other supporting partners involved in the early phase included:

    Further information on the rules and resources of Zone Hockey.

  • Pendulum Bowling

    Pendulum Bowling arose out of a suggestion given to a small group of students for an assignment in 1985. The basic concept was that of the “pendulum action” and tumbling skittles to parallel the old traditional ‘bar skittles’ but in a macro format. Funding was provided and under guidance the prototype was constructed.

    The prototype was used on a range of occasions which included:

    • student courses
    • school based initiatives
    • friendly competitions with NTU involving local community schools in a potted rotation sports format
    • Nottingham Panthers Sports Club for the Disabled
    • Demonstrations including Disability Sport England mini games at Stoke Mandeville Sports Centre.

    The activity was carried out by the youngsters with the more severe impairments, high support needs and mainly wheelchair bound. Typical movement profiles of youngsters involved at this level include: muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy and those with severe learning difficulties who possibly also have limitations with their arms and hand control.

    Prior to 2006 no effort was made to consider any commercial production of the equipment. However in 2006 it occurred to me after browsing through a Sportime catalogue that a piece of equipment already in use (The Big Red Base) could be the base for a pendulum skittles device. After proposing this idea to Sportime the “shoulder” device was agreed and a contract created. This is now one of a number of modifications which can be used with the original base. In 2008 the base went into production and listing in the catalogue. In contrast to the original device a much larger ball was produced and, given the adjustable nature of the arm and pendulum attached, a smaller or heavier ball could now be used to create a new challenge.

Still need help?

Doug Williamson
+44 (0)1949 829 313