Coaching Athletes With Hidden Disabilities: Using Universal Design for Learning to Effectively Coach all Athletes

in International Sport Coaching Journal
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  • 1 California State University, Long Beach
  • 2 California State University, Los Angeles
  • 3 Auburn University
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The coach serves an integral role in shaping the youth sport experience. For athletes with hidden disabilities (HD), participation in sports may be a negative experience because their coach may misperceive or misunderstand their behaviors. This can lead to attrition, and the resultant loss of opportunity to gain the many benefits sports can offer. However, there are research validated strategies that can help coaches more effectively teach and work with athletes within the educational realm that has yet to be implemented within coaching education. These strategies fall under a framework called Universal Design for Learning (UDL). UDL is a proactive approach in which coaches anticipate diversity and plan accessible activities. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to review the recent research on coaching athletes with HD, and to provide practical tips for coaching not only athletes with HD, but rather ALL athletes, in the most effective way using Universal Design for Learning.

Tiffanye M. Vargas with the Dept. of Kinesiology, California State University, Long Beach. Robbi Beyer is with the School of Kinesiology and Nutritional Science, California State University, Los Angeles. Margaret M. Flores is with the Dept. of Special Education, Rehabilitation, and Counseling, Auburn University.

Address author correspondence to Tiffanye M. Vargas at Tiffanye.Vargas@csulb.edu.
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