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Adaptive Modifications

Adapting track and field training to include challenged atheltes

Overivew Introduction and Safety Considerations
Adaptations and Guidelines Visually Impaired Athletes, Wheelchair Athletes, Hearing Impaired Athletes
Printable PDF of this session

Visually Impaired Athletes

Running Events

Using a Guide

Down Starts--Tethered Guide

  • Athletes should be set up comfortably between the 100-meter parallel lines
  • The athlete's hands should be placed behind the white stripe
  • You should be a safe distance from the athlete
  • Make sure not to jerk the athlete
  • Pull runner tight when approaching obstacles
  • Use cues to communicate while running


  • Shadow the runner with vocal cues
  • Stay within 50 centimeters of your runner
  • Run in two lanes
  • You must allow the athlete to finish before you do

Distance Events

  • Run alongside the athlete, to the outside of the track
  • Use verbal cues to warn the athlete of approaching obstacles
  • Pull the athlete close to you when approaching obstacles
  • You may run tethered or non-tethered

Long Jump

  • Make sure athlete has understanding of the surroundings of the area
  • Make sure area is clear of obstacles
  • The take off area should be about a 3 foot area of powder or chalk to act as their board
  • Measurement should be from the front of mark made in the powder or chalk
  • The guide should use a cadence of claps and verbal cues to direct the runner down the runway
  • The step before the chalk should be when the guide cues "GO" to cue the jump

Wheelchair Athletes

Running Events

  • Athletes in wheelchairs are permitted to compete in all individual
    running events
  • If in regular competition, athletes should be put in the outside lanes
    on the track

Throwing Events

  • Athletes will throw from a seated position in the wheelchair
  • Athletes must remain in seated contact with their chair
  • Athletes chair cannot make contact with the top of the toe board

Hearing Impaired Athletes

Running Events

  • Athletes need to be able to receive visual starting signals and
    coaching cues
  • Coaches and officials need to be in the sight-line of the athlete

Youth and Schools

New York Road Runners Mission