The development of the ParaVolley for All project was initiated by Colombia to look for an effective strategy for training sitting volleyball teams during the pandemic.
In 2020, Colombia conducted virtual trainings through theoretical and practical tools for several sitting volleyball teams and national teams, which eventually allowed them to expand the project to different countries in the Pan Am zone, including Peru, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, Panaman, Brazil, Belize and Colombia.
The training was done through an invitation to people with disabilities, as well as able-bodied individuals, to take part in the 2-hour training sessions.
The training sessions were made to be as interactive as possible, allowing each country to present its culture, also allowing each participant to play with their creativity while learning new skills and having fun at the same time.
Each participant had to allocate a 2m x 2m space in their homes, where they could practise with the ball against the wall, all under the supervision of a coach. The participants were also given an opportunity to win prizes like balls and T-shirts when they presented their decorated training wall with the ParaVolley for All tagline.
As a result of that initiative, the coaches began creating a training manual for sitting volleyball in relation to the series of physical tests that were adapted for training. They are currently in the process of validation to implement it with the different coaches who are interested in the results of the research.
Through the support of the PVPA and its president Joe Campbell, the project has involved 2,800 people across the Pan Am zone to turn these theories into concrete action by working together and sharing knowledge through discussion of the best practices and progressive solution to counteract trends of physical inactivity during the pandemic.
The project has been successful that every technical visit made to different countries has been carried out and could be positively standardised, integrated, included in programs to help further the promotion and development of the sport.
The project information is also being shared with able-bodied volleyball coaches as a strategy to improve volleyball skills and physical preparation through sitting volleyball. The project is currently being implemented in several universities in Colombia, in the curriculum of health sciences and applied science in sports, hopefully becoming an academic subject in the future.
The second phase of the ParaVolley for All is on beach paravolley, which focuses on promoting and developing the discipline towards the LA28 Paralympic Games.
Photo credit: Geni Tunney Cañón Reyes and Viviana Ostos Quintero