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"Lack of Sight
Does Not Equal
Lack of Talent,
Dreams, or Desire."
How to Start A Goalball Team
You want to start a Goalball team in your area? That's great!
First and foremost, it is recommended that you join our USA Goalball Discussion list, to talk with others who may be in your area, already playing.
Next, you can check out our Goalball Resources page to find resources you'll need and want.
What you (and your team) will need...
- You will need at least six players. When starting out, this may be a mix of girls, boys, men and women. Some of you may even choose to allow sighted persons, such as your volunteers, to play. All players are blindfolded so it's fair. Mixed leagues--when starting out--are not uncommon. But you need at least six players, three on each team. Having more players to use as alternates or stand-ins is a good idea.
- The IBSA Official Goalball Rules say, "Each game shall have two (2) game referees, four (4) goal judges, one (1) scorer, one (1) timer, one (1) ten second timer, and one (1) shot recorder." ON a local level though, in "non-official" Goalball games in your community, you may not always have to, or be able to, use all of these people. Games have been played successfully with two refs and 6 players.
- You will need Goalball equipment...
-- A Goalball, definitely. In the USA, you can buy a Goalball through the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes (USABA). For a team, buying a couple of them to start with is recommended, but you of course need at least one.
-- Pads. You will need elbow and knee pads for each of your players. You should consider getting extra pairs of elbow and knee pads so you will be prepared as you find new players. having them on-hand so new players can jump right in and start playing is a great thing. Have extras on-hand so as not to allow a loss of motivation or desire to play the game, while waiting to get their pads to play. You can find elbow and knee pads at just about any sports store or sporting goods department around the country. Some players who have been in the game for awhile choose to wear other padding too. Items such as hockey goalie hip pads, cycling-style helmets, fingerless gloves, etc. are sometimes worn--by some players. These are the player's choice. But elbow and knee pads are pretty much a necessity, due to the nature of this competitive sport.
-- Goggles. You will need sleepshades and/or goggles, to block out any vision that the player might have. At all times, when on the court, the player should be wearing these goggles. Some have used ski goggles with the eye pieces blacked out, some wear sleepshades under the goggles, and others have worn just sleepshades at times. No matter which you use, all players need to have any vision blocked out while playing.
- You will need tactile court markings. Tape to line the edges and lines that the players need to know. Again, check out the IBSA Official Goalball Rules to find out all the details about court markings. Duct tape is not recommended. Duct tape is notorious for leaving residue behind after the tape is pulled up. You may not appreciate this if you are new to this game, but, after either having to thoroughly clean a gym floor after the game, or not being allowed back to that facility to play again due to leaving this mess for them to clean, you will understand. Duct tape is a no-no. Masking tape, sometimes referred to as "Painter's tape," is the most common type used. Some teams use strings or small ropes taped across the lines, as tactile markings. Again, in more localized games it's negotiable, but getting up into formal competition, it's less negotiable as to how the markings are made. If you have questions, it is again recommended that you join our USA Goalball Discussion List to ask them. There will be someone there, probably a lot of people there, who will be happy to help.
- You will need a facility to play in. A Gymnasium floor, an indoor basketball court, or something similar. You can ask churches to use theirs, as well as schools. Quite often both of these types of organizations are enthusiastic about helping out with getting this sport started in their community.
So there you go. Those are all the basics of what you need to start a team, and start playing in YOUR community. It is highly recommended that you join our discussion list, to network, to learn, and just to have fun with USA Goalball players, coaches, and ref's from around the country.