Guide to Wheelchair Football
Wheelchair football is a fast-growing sport that promotes accessibility, inclusivity, fairness, health and wellbeing.
Check out our Guide to Wheelchair Football to find out more.
Wheelchair Football: Wheel-ly Fun For Everyone!
There’s so much to love about wheelchair football, an adapted version of Australian Rules Football. This fast-paced, skillful and inclusive game provides Australian Rules footy enthusiasts living with or without disability the opportunity to play the game in a way that has strong parallels with the traditional game.
The Rules of the Game
Two teams of five players compete on an indoor basketball court with goal posts at either end.
The court is divided into three zones: a centre zone and two scoring zones. Each team has two defenders, two forwards and one midfielder.
Handballing is the equivalent of a kick.
A tap from one player to an opponent is classified as a tackle and the player who has been tapped has three seconds to offload the ball.
A mark is awarded when the ball has travelled at least three metres.
The forward players on each team are the only players who can score, and they do so by handballing the ball between the goal posts.
Prepping to Play
Erin Coutts, Novita exercise physiologist, provides some exercise preparation and recovery ideas below that can support wheelchair football players.
There are also some matching equipment suggestions.
As always, see your health professional for guidance before starting new exercises.
The movement of pushing the wheelchair to move around the court involves the use of arm and shoulder muscles.
Playing wheelchair football uses the cardiovascular system. Here are some suggestions to assist in increasing cardiovascular fitness and exercise tolerance to support playing wheelchair football for four 10-minute quarters.
- Hand pedaling with pedaling exerciser equipment
- Seated boxing (air boxing)
Is important for maintaining upright posture in the wheelchair while playing.
- Seated twists with a slam ball
- Side bends in a seated position with a resistance band with handles
Finger and hand strength can be developed to support handling the football.
- Hand grip exercise with a tool such as hand grip loops
To improve hand-eye coordination and strength, alongside fine and gross motor skills to support ball skills.
- Seated bicep curls with a resistance band with handles
- Seated pectoral flies with a resistance band with handles
- Seated chest pass against wall with slam ball
- Single arm underarm toss against wall with a pilates ball
It’s a great idea to repair and rebuild muscles following exercise.
Novita SANFL Wheelchair Football League
After a successful inaugural season in 2021, the Novita SANFL Wheelchair Football League is back for its second year. Novita is proud to partner with the SANFL to deliver this great sport. It’s a fantastic fit for Novita, as we are not only passionate about delivering the best services and supports for people living with disability but also improving inclusion and access to social activities like sport in the community. In this truly inclusive competition, teams can include a blend of players with and without disability and mixed gender.
In a wonderful acknowledgment of the impact the Novita SANFL Wheelchair Football League made in its inaugural year, it won the Active Inclusion Award in the prestigious 2021 Sport SA Awards.
Want to know more? Visit the SANFL Website for details.
Michael Neroni is playing his first season of wheelchair football for the Norwood Football Club in the SANFL Wheelchair Football League. He is also Novita’s Wheelienet Disability Program Coordinator.
Michael has always enjoyed wheelchair sport but has only just started playing wheelchair football, in the position of full-back. He reflects on his experience so far.
“Playing in the SANFL Wheelchair Football League has really brought out my competitive side. It’s a great league to be part of, with clubs that have been part of the SA community for decades. We all want to win, not only for ourselves and our teammates but for the clubs that we’re proud of.
The SANFL Wheelchair Football League is also brilliant because it’s inclusive; I get to play with other athletes who use a wheelchair in daily life like me, as well as those who don’t use a wheelchair.
Wheelchair footy is a physical game but it’s also quite technical. There’s lots of thinking you’ve got to do while you’re on the go. Things like trying to get teammates out of a tough position, creating space for them and working out how to get around the defence. My mind is going a million miles an hour while I’m trying to learn the game!”
Supporting Sporting Performance
NovitaTech, a division of Novita, specialises in the supply, assessment, modification, testing, rental and maintenance of Assistive Technology (AT). For more than 45 years, we have been developing and delivering innovative customised solutions to our clients. We work with adults, kids, families, therapists and carers to select, set-up and access the most appropriate AT to support various needs, including sporting and mobility needs.
Having the right equipment and supports can change everything. We invite you to come in to our new assistive technology store in Hindmarsh, South Australia, to have a chat for all of your sporting and mobility needs. Alternatively, contact us on 1300 668 482 or [email protected].