Please select your location

UK, Europe and Middle East


Feedback IconFeedback
Wheelchair Sport

Wheelchair Sport


Available As


    People who use wheelchairs have a greater opportunity than ever before to be physically active. Scientific research continues to refine knowledge about maximizing training for those with spinal cord injuries; cutting-edge adaptive technology continues to afford more innovative and efficient movement possibilities; and opportunities for recreation and sport for athletes at all levels, from novice to expert, continue to expand worldwide.

    Wheelchair Sport provides coaches, practitioners, and athletes with the information they need to compete and succeed in wheelchair sports. Written by top coaches, athletes, sport scientists, and specialists in sports medicine and physical therapy who work with wheelchair athletes, this resource offers
    • an explanation of the physiological differences between able-bodied and disabled athletes and the physiological adaptations that result from training;
    • guidelines for training that are customized to wheelchair athletes’ unique needs, including strength and conditioning, nutrition and hydration, and mental wellness;
    • tips on the practical aspects of competing in wheelchair sports, such as optimizing chair set-up and preparing for travel; and
    • expert guidance in developing top-notch training programs for athletes at all skill levels.
    This book will help coaches and athletes understand the many benefits of wheelchair sports and maximize training for their chosen sport. Top coaches and athletes, including Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson and Peter Norfolk, offer advice on improving performance and delivering optimal support for wheelchair athletes.

    Each chapter in part I delves into sport science issues as they affect wheelchair athletes, providing practical tips for athletes and coaches along the way. These chapters focus on physiological considerations, strength and conditioning, body composition and nutrition, and medical and practical concerns related to traveling and chair configuration.

    Part II offers tactics and drills for tennis, rugby, basketball, racing, and hand cycling. Each chapter presents background information on the sport, tactical advice, and drills that will help athletes improve training and performance in competition. These chapters also include sport-specific training programs.

    In addition, Wheelchair Sport helps readers understand the psychology of working with wheelchair athletes and describes the coaching attributes required for successful coaching of disabled athletes, from the novice level to the Paralympic level. Readers also gain insight into how the best wheelchair athletes became successful.

    Wheelchair Sport equips coaches, teachers, and wheelchair athletes to develop their minds and bodies to their potential and enjoy their participation in sports.


    Resource for wheelchair athletes, coaches, teachers, and practitioners involved with wheelchair sports.

    Table of Contents


    Part I: Understanding Wheelchair Sport

    Chapter 1. Introduction to Wheelchair Sport
    Sean Tweedy and Nik Diaper
    Spinal Cord Injury
    Health-Related Effects of Wheelchair Sport
    Sport Classification
    Sports for Wheelchair Athletes
    Using Sport Knowledge for Athlete Profiling

    Chapter 2. Sport Chair Set-Up and Selection
    Hsin-yi Liu, Ian M. Rice, Justin Z. Laferrier, Rosemarie Cooper, Mike Boninger, MD, and Rory A. Cooper
    Wheelchair Components and Accessories
    Basic Wheelchair Set-Up
    Sport-Specific Wheelchair Set-Up
    Injury Prevention

    Chapter 3. Physiology of Wheelchair Sport
    Vicky Goosey-Tolfrey and Mike Price
    Physiological Responses
    Training Considerations
    Types of Training
    Measuring Exercise Intensity and Fitness

    Chapter 4. Strength and Conditioning for Wheelchair Sport
    Andy Allford and Linda Mitchell-Norfolk
    Unique Strength Training Needs of Wheelchair Athletes
    Needs Analysis
    Guidelines for Safe and Effective Training
    Guidelines for Exercise Prescription
    Strength Training Equipment
    Free Weights Versus Fixed Resistance machines
    Sample Training Programmes

    Chapter 5. Nutrition and Body Composition
    Tom Reilly and Jeanette Crosland
    Eating to Train
    Eating to Win
    Body Composition
    Body Compartments
    Assessment Methods
    Suggested Reading
    Suggested Websites

    Chapter 6. The Traveling Athlete
    Mike Price, Jeanette Crosland, and Nick Webborn MD
    Medical Issues Related to Travel
    Practical Concerns Related to Flying
    Accommodations and Adaptations
    Nutrition and Hydration When Travelling
    Exercising in the Heat
    Suggested Reading

    Chapter 7. Psychological Aspects of Wheelchair Sport
    Elisabeth Bressan and David Shearer
    Getting Involved in Wheelchair Sport
    Developing Athletes’ Sport Commitment
    Understanding Psychological Aspects of Wheelchair Sport

    Part II: Training for Wheelchair Sports

    Chapter 8. Wheelchair Basketball
    Mike Frogley
    Wheelchair Propulsion
    Wheelchair Skills
    Power Start and Stop
    Half-Court Tow
    Forward Partner Pulls
    Backward Partner Pulls
    Christmas Trees
    Jump and Recover

    Chapter 9. Wheelchair Racing
    Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson and Ian Thompson
    Chair Set-Up
    Pushing Technique
    Training Programme
    Skill and Fitness Training
    Racing Tactics for Sprints
    Racing Tactics for Endurance
    Wheelchair Racing Rules

    Chapter 10. Wheelchair Rugby
    Kevin Orr and Laurie A. Malone
    Game Play and Rules
    Equipment Selection and Maintenance
    Fundamental Skills
    Rugby Offence
    Rugby Defence
    Training Programme
    Drills for Rugby Skill Development
    Ball Pickups
    Whistle Drill
    Figure-Eight Passing
    Caterpillar Passing
    Hot Seat Passing
    Three-Man Weave
    Long Passing
    Diamond in the Rough
    Four Corners
    Skills Testing

    Chapter 11. Wheelchair Tennis
    Dawn Newbery, Geraint Richards, Stephanie Trill, and Martyn Whait
    Ten Steps to the Top
    Attack and Defence Drills
    Returning Second Serve
    High Forehand
    Deep, Short, Deep, Short
    Deep, Mid, Short
    Hit Down the Line Off a Crosscourt Ball
    Hit Crosscourt Off a Down-the-Line Ball
    Twenty Shots
    Rabbit Ears
    Mobility Drills
    Down the Mountain
    Park the Car
    Through the Gate
    Sprint, Slalom, Reverse
    Two-Push Slalom
    Half-Court Map
    Fan Drill
    Agility Drill
    Box-Command Drill
    Speed Play

    Chapter 12. Handcycling
    Thomas Abel, Yves Vanlandewijck, and Joeri Verellen
    Training Programmes
    Training Activities
    High-Volume Training
    Strength for Long and Intensive Routes
    Mechanical Efficiency
    Cadence Versus Power
    Nonspecific Training
    Steering, Braking, and Accelerating
    Riding in Groups
    Racing Tactics

    About the Editor
    About the Contributors

    About the Editor

    Vicky Goosey-Tolfrey, PhD,is a senior lecturer in exercise physiology and director of the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport at LoughboroughUniversity in Leicestershire, UK. Her work in 1994 with Prof. Ian Campbell and Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson sparked her interest in disability sport, and she went on to earn her PhD in sport science from ManchesterMetropolitanUniversity five years later.


    Dr. Goosey-Tolfrey attended the Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games with the Great Britain wheelchair racing and wheelchair basketball teams, respectively, and was the lead physiology consultant for the British Paralympic Association for the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Games. In her leisure time, she enjoys being with her family, golfing, and watching films.