Find activities near you to inspire you to move more.
Date: 11 May 2023 Author: Energise Me
Full-time wheelchair user, Hadley, loves sports. After struggling to find an inclusive activity, his parents found a wheelchair basketball team for him to join. Now he wants to let other children like him know that they can be physically active too.
I’m 12 years old and love playing and watching sport. Even when I play on my Xbox, it’s always sport games! My Dad and I watch rugby, football, cricket and motor racing together which I really enjoy. My favourite sports to play are basketball and cricket. From a pretty young age I’ve always liked physical activity.
I have cerebral palsy which affects my mobility; my leg muscles are very tight and tire easily, so I need to use a wheelchair full-time to get around. So, I have to find activities that are accessible.
I remember when I got my first basket, I did a whole lap around the hall, celebrating because I was so happy!
My Dad took me to try wheelchair basketball at ‘Hampshire Hornets’, which I loved and have been a part of now for five years. It’s a great way to move and make friendships. I have the opportunity to practice and get better at something I love. Maybe one day I’ll even be a Paralympian.
I really want other people to join the club because it’s so much fun and so inclusive.
I’ve had quite a few great moments so it’s hard to narrow down. I’m getting stronger and quicker, that’s for sure, and my shooting has really improved since I first started. I remember when I got my first basket, I did a whole lap around the hall, celebrating because I was so happy!
Even if you’re having a bad day, try to remember that you’re doing good for your body.
You’ve got to give an activity a try first to see if you like it. And if you don’t like it, don’t worry, just look for something else. Do it for fun, make sure you enjoy it. Even if you’re having a bad day, try to remember that you’re doing good for your body. Believe in yourself and keep going.
The whole ethos behind it is great too – just trying to get everyone included, whatever their disability. It is just as much about having fun!
Opportunities like this are so important. When Hadley was younger, we struggled to find sports that were inclusive enough for him to participate in. Wheelchair basketball is one of the best we have found as he was able to start from a young age. Hadley has recently started rugby and cricket – but both of those had age limits for beginning.
One of the great things about basketball is that it’s very fast paced, so really helps children with their spatial awareness. The whole ethos behind it is great too – just trying to get everyone included, whatever their disability. It is just as much about having fun!
It’s definitely helped Hadley. Seeing other disabled kids participating in these sports has been great for his confidence. He lives in a world surrounded by kids who don’t have disabilities and aren’t wheelchair users, so it exposes him to possibilities. And as a community, I’ve met parents there that have been great. We’ve passed on advice to each other about other aspects of our life of being a parent to a disabled child.
Now, we want to get the next generation of younger children to try this fantastic activity.
It’s very challenging to find wheelchair-friendly activities. When Hadley was 7, we were basically just looking for anything that he could join. His grandad came across a wheelchair rugby club in Southampton. We went along to a taster day, but they were concerned about his young age. They suggested trying another rugby club which may have been able to accommodate him as they had a younger team, but unfortunately the rules meant they couldn’t take him either.
However, the rugby clubs were the ones who put us in touch with Hampshire Hornets Wheelchair Basketball. Hampshire Hornets is run by a guy called Nas, who set it up for his son (who is also a wheelchair user) around 15 years ago. They had quite a big cohort of children that were both disabled and non-disabled who attended and it was very popular. Over time, those children have gone on to adult clubs. Now, we want to get the next generation of younger children to try this fantastic activity.
But now, he’s zooming around the court and that’s really building his strength, getting him mobile and active, and working his cardiovascular system.
Seeing Hadley’s improvement every week and watching the other kids improve. They all have their own objectives and targets. Everyone supports each other brilliantly helping them to reach them – whether that’s over a period of a few weeks, 1 year, 2 years, whatever it is. The improvement gives everyone confidence and puts a huge smile on our faces as parents and coaches.
Hadley wasn’t hugely mobile when he first started because he became easily fatigued by self propelling as it’s quite a long session. But now, he’s zooming around the court and that’s really building his strength, getting him mobile and active, and working his cardiovascular system.
We’re not setting big aspirations (but the sky’s the limit), we just want kids (whatever their ability or disability) to come along and enjoy being active and part of a team.
It’s a family friendly club. We’re not setting big aspirations (but the sky’s the limit). We just want kids (whatever their ability or disability) to come along and enjoy being active and part of a team. Generally, the club is 7 – 18 years old, but that’s not set in stone. If someone is 6 and they come along, we’ll try to find what works for them.
Whether somebody just wants to stay for the first half an hour – or an entire session, that’s completely fine. For example, we have one member who finds the game we play in the second part of the session a bit overwhelming. So he participates in the first part of training, then watches a portion of the game before going home. That’s the way he wants and needs to enjoy and process it. We try to make sure that the format and experience works for everyone.
If you’re interested in joining Hampshire Hornets Wheelchair Basketball, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org