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At the heart of adapted sports sessions

Adapted sport, not to be confused with handisport, is dedicated to people with mental or psychological disabilities. Some specialized establishments approach the Indre-et-Loire clubs to offer these people the opportunity to practice different sports, outside their structure. We attended two sessions.

It’s almost 10 in the morning that Wednesday at the entrance to the Guy Drut complex. It is a sports day for eight children from the Les Elfes medical-educational institute (IME). As we chat with Amandine Bauduin, Réveil sportif Saint-Cyr-sur-Loire (RSSC) table tennis coach, some of them see her in the distance and start running towards her, visibly happy to find her.

The club has been working with the Touraine association for two years. Amandine had already worked with people with disabilities, which helps her manage their sessions. But she admits: “I was a bit apprehensive at first, regarding the group effect and having different disabilities in the same group. “ Among the children she receives on Wednesday mornings, some have Down syndrome, others have an intellectual disability.

However, everything seems to be going perfectly. “It’s not always easy to keep them focused, but they stay calm. They are loves “, he assured before his arrival. Especially since you can count on the support of Romain and Thibault, two educators present to help out. She exchanges with them regularly, in particular to know the state of form of the schoolchildren before their arrival at the club, but also so that they can establish the program of the sessions together in order to better help the children. “We work on agility, coordination, concentration …”, she specifies.

Workshops to evolve

This is done in the form of small workshops. “These are just workshops because, eight children in the same exercise, they will go crazy! »Dropping bottles or touching parcels in the toilet, rolling the ball on the table following a path, returning the ball thrown by the robot (the most anticipated exercise) … There are a total of six workshops awaiting Emmy, Ambre, Valentin, Léa and the others that day. They will repeat them for three weeks, in order to retain them well. “The objective is to see an evolution and that they are not in a situation of failure”says the one who came to the Saint-Cyr-sur-Loire club four years ago.

Amandine begins by explaining the different exercises. Then, he puts the children in pairs and distributes them in the first four workshops. They will stay five minutes in each of them. “I thought I was going to have to adapt my sessions but I was surprised because not really. The activities that I offer are games that I also do with healthy beginners. Sometimes they do even better. “

After twenty minutes of musical activity, it is time for the students to move on to the last two workshops: balancing the ball on the racket when passing obstacles and the long-awaited robot. The children in the first group concentrate to pass the hoops and fences, racket in hand, under the gaze of Romain and Thibault, while those in the second group have fun facing the robot and listen to Amandine’s advice.

Join the club

Another objective of these activities outside the EMI: socialization. “The main objective is inclusion and being able to integrate them into the club, in the group on Fridays. “ The table tennis RSSC has an adapted sports section, which has around thirty licensees. Two children are also present during the Wednesday sessions. “But parents still tend to be afraid, particularly of rejection.”, he regrets.

At the end of the session, the students, Amandine, Romain and Thibault meet and sit down to take stock. The moment for everyone to say the workshop they preferred and the one they liked the least. After giving the floor to each student, their coach gives them a little word of encouragement: “What you did today seemed very good to me. “ Proof of the success of this course, some are already wondering when they will return.

The day before, nine workers from ESAT * Les Tissandiers de Loches gathered for an archery lesson. Shooting events are linked in a gym at the Grand-Vau sports complex. Athletes are currently within ten meters of targets, but will be able to gradually regress as they gain confidence.

For this third session since September, the four people who had already practiced before reconnect with the activity. “It allows me to take care of the new ones a little more. In about two months, they will have a sufficient level of autonomy to do new things “says Mickaël, archery coach.

“They are endearing and bring freshness. It is a great pleasure to accompany you. With healthy people, we often have much higher expectations. “

Mickaël, archery coach

The one who has worked for six years with ESAT supervises the group together with Virginie Rideau, a sports educator at the Lochois medico-social establishment. “The idea is to make them progress so that they can access the practice outside of their structure”, he explains. A goal similar to that of the table tennis RSSC and which also encounters some obstacles. “But it is not easy. The principle of inclusion is not acquired in all clubs. They are not trained. Volunteers do what they can, but this is an audience they enjoy working with. “

With the support of the sports educator, Mickaël also seeks to create cross functionality between ESAT activities and sports lessons. In each session they work skills or qualities, such as improving social ties, respecting the material (for example, they assemble and disassemble the bow themselves), concentration … This Tuesday afternoon- there, some athletes also need help to channel their energy . and stay focused on the activity. “You see, there, for example, only yellow is pointing at the target. It’s not focused on what it does but on the result.”says Virginie, pointing to a worker.

Reassure and advise

But, it’s not about being stronger or doing better than your neighbor. The two supervisors are there to remind you. The Adapei 37 ** employee accompanies the workers, guides them, reassures them and Mickaël takes care of the technical part. For an hour, he observes each one and comes to see them to give them advice, remind them of the correct gestures and how to correctly install the accessories on their bow … “Pay attention to your elbow”, “Think well of your gesture and take your time”, “Put on your stabilizer”, recommends in particular. “He sees in everyone what is wrong, what needs to be improved. He realizes these details that I don’t seesays Virginie. This is what I look for when I work with clubs. I want to improve workers even if the idea is not necessarily to make them champions. “ And these little tips from Mickaël seem to be paying off. Then the sports educator encourages an athlete who tries to apply the coach’s recommendations: « IN from the moment he got his body right, it was so much better. “

Whoever is also a mental coach enjoys working with this audience. “They are endearing and bring freshness. It is a great pleasure to accompany you. With healthy people, we often have much higher expectations. “, he comments. And the workers pay you back, as archery is often a fun activity. Mickaël notes that it is also rare for ESAT residents to stop after just one year of practice.

Both for the children of the IME Les Elfes and for the workers of the ESAT Les Tissadiers, the appointment is scheduled for new sessions in the coming weeks.

* Assistance service to the establishment and to work
** Departmental association of relatives and friends of people with intellectual disabilities

Article: Emilie Mette

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