The training practices of athletes with disabilities were investigated by means of a validated self-administered questionnaire. Descriptive statistics were derived from the replies of 41 wheelchair racers, 20 swimmers, and 14 athletes specializing in throwing events. The majority of athletes competed at either international (77%) or national levels (15%). Almost all swimmers were coached frequently, but one third of the wheelchair racers and one half of the throwers were not coached. Median volumes of endurance, interval, strength, and skill training in each of four training phases (buildup, precompetition, taper, and postcompetition) only partially reflected the contribution of energy systems and skills to performance in the different sports; moreover, there were wide variations in the training programs of athletes within each sport, especially swimmers and throwers. It was concluded that there is need for improvement in the coaching and training of many top-class athletes with disabilities.
The questionnaire is available from the second author on request. We are grateful to Anne Isaac, Graham Condon, Geoff Leech, and Parafed NZ for valuable discussions and assistance.
David L. Liow is with the Department of Occupational Therapy, Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin, New Zealand, and is a student in the School of Physical Education, University of Otago. Will G. Hopkins is with the Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Box 913, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. Direct correspondence to Will G. Hopkins.