On Sunday 5th September, Bloomsbury Football welcomed Azeem Amir, England International Blind Footballer, and Learn With ESS to Coram’s Fields to run Blind Football workshops for the Bloomsbury Foundation Teams and a small group of Bloomsbury Academy players.
Azeem and Learn With ESS (Education, Sport and Speaking), delivered two 75 minute sessions which looked to address stigmatised issues surrounding disability in sports and everyday life and change perceptions through team-building activities. The sessions focused heavily on communication with Azeem encouraging our Bloomsbury players to use each other’s names and to use clear and concise instructions during the different activities. Blindfolds were slowly introduced, to block off the sense of sight. Our fully sighted players had to guide our blind players from one cone to another, whilst picking up a beanbag on the way. Precise, clear instructions were needed to successfully complete this task.
Azeem and co. then introduced modified footballs into the activity. These footballs have small bearings inside that make a rattling sound when kicked, with the player using the sense of hearing to guide them to the football. A dribbling and passing exercise was introduced, which was particularly challenging with many a football going astray and a few air-kicks during the exercise. The players quickly picked up some of the skills during the short drill, which impressed Azeem and the Bloomsbury coaches.
To wrap up the session, Azeem showed a video of him educating and teaching England football stars, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Jadon Sancho, the same skills that our kids at Bloomsbury were taught. This was incredibly inspiring as they saw some of their idols learning from the same person as they had just done. A thoroughly inspiring day all round, with our children learning about the challenges that having a disability provides and breaking down some of these barriers. The feedback was extremely positive from both players and parents with everyone leaving with a smile on their face. We look forward to continue our relationship with Azeem, who has also provided several school sessions with our school partners, alongside running a very similar session with our staff group in our CPD slot on a Wednesday morning.