Sports Series: Goalball

Hi, my name is Cliff Cook. I am a
recreation and athletics coordinator at Lakeshore Foundation and coach of the
Lakeshore youth goalball team, the 2013 high school national champions. Today I
would like to introduce you to goalball and show you some drills to help you get
started. Let’s begin by looking at some of the rules. Goalball is a sport played by individuals
who have a visual impairment or who are blind. It is played on a hard surfaced
court with the playing area being the size of a traditional volleyball court. The lines of the court are raised so that
players can feel the lines for orientation. The game is played 3v3 where the
objective is to roll a ball into the opponent’s goal. When rolling the ball the
player must make sure that the ball makes contact with the floor after it is
released before the highball line. This rule prevents players from throwing the ball
through the air at the other goal. Defenders are only allowed to defend the
ball in their designated team area. Finally, there are noise penalties that can occur if
players make distracting noises during play or the team on the sidelines makes
any noise at all during play. To begin with, every player must wear a
pair of eyeshades. Eyeshades are blacked-out goggles that do not allow the
user to see. These can be made using traditional ski goggles and tape. Also,
Targe is a company in Canada that sells goalball eyeshades. You can find
eyeshades and other goalball equipment at the link below. Its also worth noting
that goalball players where protective pads that will allow them to slide and dive
on the court. The goalball is a unique ball designed
specifically for this sport. It is made of hard rubber and has bells in it so that
players are able to track it while it is in play. If you are interested in purchasing a
goalball you can get one from USABA. Finally, the court itself is unique to this
sport. Each line on the court with the exception of the line-out lines, are made
with string and tape so that players can feel the court with their hands and feet.
Players should learn where different hashes are located on the court so that
they can quickly orient themselves when playing. Players may also use the goal for
orientation. Now that you know about the equipment
used in goalball let me share with you some of the techniques used. There are
really two components of goalball; offense and defense. Let’s begin with
offense. When learning to throw the goalball for the first time there are a
couple of things to focus on. Every throw should be consistent. This means using
the same approach, the same form, and the same follow through. Because the
player cannot see when they are throwing they will rely on consistency to aim.
The player first lines themselves up using the court lines and the goal. They can
then take either a 3 or five step approach, whichever one feels more comfortable.
The ball is released low in order to avoid penalties. Finally, the player should finish
with a follow through with the weight of the player finishing on the front foot.
There are also two other more advanced throws that players should learn. One
advanced throw is the bounce shot. If thrown correctly, the ball can bounce up
and over defenders. The other advanced throw is the spin shot. For this throw the
player spins their body on the approach which allows them to generate more
power on their throw. When practicing throws the player should
not only focus on consistency, but they should also focus on accuracy. The court
can be divided up into five imaginary zones labeled 1-5. Zones 1-3-5 generally
are filled by a defender and zones 2 and 4 are usually the gaps. However, good
defenses work together to fill the gaps. If this happens a coach can let their players
know which zone to aim for during a stoppage in play. Probably the most important form to
master in goalball is the defensive form. The basic form consists of the player
stretching out on their side with their arms and legs extended. The top of the
body should be slightly leaned forward over the bottom of the body to help trap
shots. Legs should be slightly spaced apart and toes should be pointed. The
arms are also extended. Players with not as much strength can overlap their hands
to create a stronger guard. Finally, the head should be turned back so that it is
not exposed to the shot.