As a wheelchair basketball coach I am continually looking for new initiatives and fun ways to keep my school’s Wheelchair Basketball club fresh and maintain the enthusiasm and buzz which we have had over recent years. London 2012 has definitely helped us here, with record numbers of both our disabled and able bodied students signing up for the weekly after school club since September. In the ever growing inclusion packs available now to schools I came across Inclusion Zone Basketball, which 6 months on has now become such a recognised game within the school, not only inside our after school club but across our Physical Education lessons as well.
In its simplest form, Inclusive Zone Basketball (or IZB for short) is a combination of the sports Basketball and Wheelchair Basketball, allowing both disabled and able bodied to take part at the same time. The game is suitable for electric wheelchair players, manual wheelchair players and ambulant players with physical impairments, but in truth, with the right inclusive measures and a little bit of time and effort it can be played by any child or slightly competitive adult!
Played on a traditional basketball court, the area is divided up into 3 zones, one large centre zone through the middle of the court for 2 wheelchair users on each team and 1 wing zone either side for basketball players, 1 on each side. On each play the ball must pass through each of the 3 zones so to keep in time with the inclusive nature of the game, with the ball not allowed to be thrown from one wing zone straight to the other.
When speaking to other coaches and teaching staff a common criticism and obstacle to the more well known Wheelchair Basketball sport in schools has been a lack of equipment, particularly in regards to the sports wheelchairs, or that some schools may not have the numbers of wheelchair users to play a full 5v5 game. In both of these cases IZB offers a new imaginative way to engage smaller numbers of disabled children, with only 4 chairs needed for a full game.
The popularity of this still relatively new game has lead to the development of the British Wheelchair Basketball (BWB) Schools Inclusive Zone Basketball (IZB) Competition Pathway where schools can compete regionally with a chance to progress to a National Finals. These competitions provide a valuable opportunity for schools to partake in a friendly competitive competition and to meet other disabled children across the region, having fun and sharing experiences and ideas along the way. In addition to this, IZB competition and information cards can be found within the Sainsbury’s School Games at levels 1, 2 and 3 in both primary schools and secondary school games.
From a Physical Education perspective the BWB highlights that IZB links many of the strands of the National Curriculum, ‘games activities’, through each of the Key Stages 1, 2, 3 and 4, and plays a part in all levels of the school games. Additionally the game takes into account principles of the ‘Social Model’ of disability, and lends itself to the modified and parallel sections of the ‘Inclusion Spectrum’.
Fundamentally though, IZB has offered us a chance to further develop and inspire our club to a new level, creating a friendly competitive atmosphere but more importantly an increased inclusive afterschool extra-curricular club which children continue to attend week after week. Next month we will be entering 2 teams into the South East IZB regional competition in Guildford, Surrey, something which the children and staff are very excited about. Maybe i’ll be writing a future blog reviewing the exploits of an IZB national competition…maybe!
Andy Kendall is a member of Lead Support Staff at Kings’ School, Winchester in the United Kingdom. Working within the schools Pupil Support Department Andy combines his role as a Physio Assistant with the running and development of the schools Wheelchair Basketball, New Age Kurling and Boccia squads.
Andy holds a BA (Hons) in Education Studies from the University of Winchester and his areas of Physical Educational interest are Inclusion, SEN participation and the development of disability sport in schools.