Ten fun activities to try from the Paralympics

Have you enjoyed watching the Paralympics? 

We’ve loved cheering on our favourite Aussie Paralympians! As well as entertaining us, they’ve inspired us to get moving and try some new sports and activities that we haven’t tried before. 

We’ve put together a list of 10 fun activities from the Paralympics that you can try at home – and when restrictions allow – out with friends, or as part of a social activity or sporting team. Is there an activity from the Paralympics that you’d like to try? Let us know!

1. Para-table tennis

Para-table tennis is one of our favourite Olympic sports. It’s fast paced and highly skilled but it’s also a great game to try at home. At the Paralympics, table tennis is played by athletes with physical disability, vision impairment or intellectual disability. Like tennis, players earn points by hitting a ball over the net while trying to make their opponent miss or accidentally hit the net.

You can try table tennis at home even if you don’t have a special table tennis table. Shops like Kmart or sports stores sell bats and balls. You can even purchase a clip-on net that can turn a regular table at your house into your own table tennis table! 

Two people stand at a table tennis table with bats in their hands, one person is holding the ball about to serve

Melton Community Hub members enjoy a game of table tennis

2. Athletics

More Australian athletes compete in Para-athletics than any other Paralympic sport! Aussies won lots of medals this year, including Vanessa Low who won a gold medal in the long jump, and Isis Holt who won two silver medals in running. Paralympic athletics events include:

  • Running
  • Wheelchair racing
  • Discus
  • Long jump
  • Shot Put
  • Javelin

You can practice running at home. Have a friend or family member time you to see how fast you can do laps in the backyard or around the block. If you’re currently receiving one-to-one support you could even ask your facilitator to do this with you!  

It’s probably not a good idea to try the other events at home, unless you want a broken window! If you do want to try them, get in contact with your local athletics club or speak to Mambourin about our gym and fitness choices.

A man is running over the finish line in a race, a large electronic timer is above the finish line

Chris from our MBS team competes in a Special Olympics fundraiser

3. Swimming

Australians love their swimming, and we loved seeing our Paralympians doing so well in the pool! As well as helping you stay fit and healthy, swimming is a great way to reduce stress so you feel calm and happy. With summer just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to think about booking some swimming lessons or joining us at Mambourin for our next swimming and swim safety program.

A man is in the pool. he is wearing goggles on his head

A Melton community member enjoying a Mambourin swimming program

4. Goalball

Goalball is a unique team sport that’s played by athletes with vision impairments. It’s a little bit like soccer except the players use their hands to roll the ball into the goal. The ball has bells inside it so that the players can hear where it’s coming from! 

Even if you don’t have vision impairment you can try playing goalball with members of your household. Grab a ball that you have at home, like a soccer ball or basketball, and ask someone to help you mark out goals in your backyard or at the park in masking tape. Then, split up into two teams with a goalie at each end. Take turns rolling the ball into your opponent’s goal as fast as you can. Whoever gets the most goals in 20 minutes is the winner.

Two people in sports uniform and wearing masks over their eyes are lying in front of a goal net are smiling and raising their arms to stop a ball coming towards them

Professional goal ball players defend the goal

5. Basketball/wheelchair basketball

Wheelchair basketball is one of the most popular sports in the Paralympics. Players use their skills pivoting, blocking and shooting to get the basketball into the other team’s basket. If you use a wheelchair and want to try wheelchair basketball for yourself, Basketball Victoria runs weekly games in Melbourne. If you don’t use a wheelchair you can still enjoy all the fun of basketball by playing at home or in the park. Many parks and primary schools have nets that you can practice on for free, so all you need to bring is a basketball.

Players on the field during a wheelchair basketball game - Australia vs Japan

Wheelchair basketball players compete in an Australia vs Japan game

6. Taekwondo

Not only is taekwondo fun and good for your health and fitness, it helps teach us important lessons about staying focused, respecting our opponents and building confidence. Many people with autism and ADHD practice taekwondo because they enjoy the consistency and the repetition of the exercises. You will eventually need a proper taekwondo teacher, but if you’re keen to try out some of the moves at home, there are YouTube tutorials you can check out online. 

Torsos of 3 people in white taekwondo uniforms one had a black belt, one has a green belt and one has a yellow belt, they are in a taekwondo stance

Some typical Taekwondo stances

7. Soccer (football 5-a-side)

Soccer is a fun game that’s loved all over the world. At the Paralympics, the athletes play a slightly different version of soccer called ‘Football 5-a-side’ that’s designed for people with vision impairment. One of the best things about soccer is that you can practice the skills at home by yourself. Dribbling, ball juggling and goal scoring can all be practiced in the backyard or at the park. There are lots of local soccer teams around Melbourne that you can join, or you can try soccer at Mambourin as part of our social and interest choices.

A person stands on a green oval about to kick a soccer ball

Charles enjoys a kick of the soccer ball in a Mambourin exercise program

8. Boccia

Have you ever tried ten pin bowling? Then you might like the game Boccia that’s played at the Paralympics. A white ball called a ‘jack’ is placed in the centre of the court and opponents throw, kick or use a ramp to get their leather balls as close to the jack as possible. While Boccia is played by people who use a wheelchair, you can still play boccia yourself, even if you don’t use one. You can buy the set online or ask your family and friends if they have any lawn bowls lying around the house. Check out the rules of Boccia to get started. You can play standing up or sitting down in your backyard or at the park. If you’re interested in trying out your bowling skills, speak to Mambourin about our ten pin bowling days!

Two people in wheelchairs on a green court marked with white lines, one person has just rolled a boccia ball which is on the court in front of her

Some professional Boccia players in action

9. Weightlifting

If you want to build your strength and muscles, weightlifting might be the sport for you! While it’s impressive to watch weightlifters at the Paralympics lift big weights, this can be very dangerous without the right training and support. If you like watching weightlifting and want to try it yourself, join us for one of our gym and fitness sessions where a professional trainer will teach you the right techniques to lift weights safely. 

A woman is in her lounge room, she is lifting dumbbells above her head

A woman lifts weights at home to build her strength

10. Volleyball

Volleyball is a fun game that nearly everyone can play! At the Paralympics, the athletes compete sitting down, but you can also play volleyball standing up. Unless you have a big backyard, it’s pretty hard to play volleyball at home but it’s a great game to play at the park or beach with friends or as part of a sporting team. 

Two teams are playing a seated volleyball match

Paralympians play volleyball sitting down

Try some new activities with Mambourin

These 10 activities from the Paralympics can be practiced at home. While we’re in lockdown you might even like to try these as part of your daily essential exercise! 

Of course, they’re also very fun as part of a team or friendly competition with your mates. That’s why Mambourin offers what we like to call, Social and Interest Choices. When restrictions allow, you can come and meet with likeminded people to try new activities and learn new skills. 

It’s not just sporting activities either. Come and try music and radio production, arts and crafts, computer skills, and more. Get in touch with the team today to see how we can help you learn some new skills while having a lot of fun! Do you want to try any of these activities from the Paralympics? Get in touch and let us know!

Get in contact here, reach out on (03) 9731 9200 or email us at hello@mambourin.org

Other areas of interest

Asset 1