LOOK into being a VI Sports Person, Listen to our Q&A with industry experts and find out how to become a VI boxer, cricketer, athletics champion and more!, image of two sets of legs kicking a football

LOOK Into…being a VI Sports Person with Martin Symcox & John McDougall.

In April we were delighted to be joined by Martin Symcox, CEO Metro Blind Sport and John McDougall, Captain of the England VI Football team.

Our wonderful facilitator Rupert Mountjoy discussed the many benefits of sport with Martin, including how it can build confidence, increase levels of independence, be a space to share advice and stories about sight loss and lay the ground for socialising and making new friends.

Image of Martin Symcox standing on a running track, wearing a black zip up sports top smiling at the camera

“Sport and physical activity are crucial but it can also lead to people being more confident because they have travelled to and from activities, the have widened their friendship group, they’ve found more people they can share information with, share stories with, they can chat about sport and much more…” Martin Symcox.

Martin shared with us where you can find inclusive sports opportunities and he also talked about some of the many behind-the-scenes employment roles that exist in the sporting profession.

It was fascinating to hear John talk about his football journey, from being a young boy at school where ‘football saved him’, all the way to the top of his profession. At school, he was reluctant to use any form of tech but as an adult, he’s totally embraced it and shares with us the tech he uses.

He’s visited an impressive number of different countries while playing for the England squad and made friends for life through his love of the game.

Image of John McDougall in a red football kit with the number 10 on

On taking your sport to the next level John says, “Don’t let someone tell you, you aren’t good enough, you’ve got to believe in yourself more than anyone else.”

He also gave us a brilliant pep talk about always achieving your best and staying positive “Being VI you are going to get setbacks, things are going to go wrong 100% but if you can guarantee you’re going to react in a positive way…it will build your confidence and resilience…” John McDougall.

We’d like to thank Martin and John for taking part in our Q&A and sharing some of their top tips with us!

Watch being a VI athlete here

Top Tips for finding new VI sports and taking charge of your visual impairment.

  • Visit the British Blind Sport website where they have an activity finder. They will have a list of clubs in your area where you can search for different sports.
  • British Blind Sport also provide ‘have a go days’ around the UK where people can try different sports.
  • Active Partnerships is an organisation that coordinates inclusive sports providers. There is an Active Partner for each area of the UK and you can find their website on our list of resources. Nearby organisations, that are partnered with Active Partnerships, can be found by submitting your postcode.
  • Check out your local sports club which hopefully will be able to provide some inclusive supervision.
  • Speak to your local sight loss charities who might be able to put you in touch with people who can help with VI sports provision.
  • Ask your QTVI who are often a good source of knowledge for questions on sports.
  • Be the best you can be and enjoy yourself. Find your sporting level and enjoy it.
  • If you think people have questions about your VI but are too worried to ask them, don’t be scared to take the lead on this.
  • Own your VI and don’t let it own you!

Resources

LOOK staff, mentors and the incredible VI community have come together to provide video and audio resources giving an insight into how they got involved in different sports, from cricket to bowling to dance and more. The challenges they have faced and how you can get involved and get active in your community!

Boxing

In this video, Steven talks about boxing as a VI person, how he got into it and how you too can get into boxing.

Climbing

Steven talks about his love of climbing and the alterations he has made to support his VI needs.

Ice Hockey

In this video, LOOK Mentor Nathan Tree talks about participating in ice hockey as a VI person and how other VI people can get into Ice Hockey.

Motor Bikes

In this video, Steven talks about how a VI person can get involved in motorbikes.

Athletics

Selena chats about how a VI person can get into Athletics and how she takes part in the 100-metre sprint as a VI athlete.

Cycling

In this video, Jack talks about cycling as a VI person.

Goal Ball

In this video, LOOK mentor Warren talks about VI sport Goal Ball.

Rugby

LOOK Mentor Chris talks about both VI Rugby and Blind Rugby.

Swimming

In this video twins, Scarlet and Eliza talk about swimming as VI athletes.

Ten Pin Bowling

Kim talks about Ten Pin Bowling and how other VI people can get involved.

Cricket

Loise Captain of the VI England Cricket team talks about VI Cricket and how to get involved.

Yoga

In this video LOOK Mentor, Naz who is VI and training to be a yoga teacher talks about Yoga and how other VI people can get involved.

Bowls

Julie who is VI and the secretary of the Wales Bowls Club talks about bowls talks about how she got involved in bowls and how you can too.

Dance

LOOK Mentor Project Officer Charlotte, talks about getting involved in dance and how she has overcome challenges she has faced in the sport.

Click below to access a library of resources signposting you to organisations that can help you get involved in sports!

Huge thanks to everyone that contributed to LOOK into… being a VI Sports Person and for providing invaluable advice on how to access sports in your community.


LOOK Into….

The ‘LOOK Into…’ series is your opportunity to meet VI people doing amazing things!

At each session we’ll be chatting to a different VI guest about their life and experiences, and asking the most important questions…questions asked by you!

We’ll be hosting the Q&A’s on Zoom and livestreaming to our YouTube channel, LookUKTV.

If you’d like to be part of the conversation with our guests, sign up for our newsletter via the home page, check out our website, or follow us on social media to be the first to hear about future events.

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