Working in partnership with the National Paralympic Committee Germany, the DFB’s Sepp Herberger Foundation and Deutsche Sporthilfe, we run the “Experiencing new sports” support project, which allows young people to step out of their comfort zone and try their hand at a new sport. Fostering team spirit and allaying initial fears are key elements of the project.
With this in mind, the project gives young people the opportunity, among other things, to discover what life is like for people with an impairment. Different disabled sport training sessions are designed to promote mutual respect, tolerance, a willingness to help, and empathy for people living with a disability. The “Blind soccer” training session allows teams of players aged 12 and over to learn specific techniques involved in blind soccer. In 2018, two disciplines, parkour and wheelchair basketball, were added to the “Experiencing new sports” project. In “Parkour meets school”, students can have a go at this high-speed activity – which involves integrating walls, stairs and roofs into movement sequences, and using them for tricks – and, in doing so, discover that physical strength and agility go hand in hand with courage and team spirit. Parkour also stimulates creativity and body awareness. As for wheelchair basketball, sporting associations can experience this parasport first hand in their sports hall in up to three consecutive one-and-a-half-hour sessions, which are led by experienced professional coaches and players from the Köln 99ers basketball club.
Given that sport, too, is becoming increasingly digital, the “Experiencing new sports” project collaborated with FJMK, North Rhine-Westphalia’s specialist agency for youth media culture, to launch a pilot gaming/eSport event in 2018 for parents and schoolchildren. During the event, held at Erzbischöfliches Irmgardis-Gymnasium in Cologne, students in grades five to seven and their parents attended workshops led by experienced specialists to learn about eSport and responsible gaming.