Hannah Cockroft tries powerchair football

Hannah Cockroft tries powerchair football

Hannah, we’re used to seeing you compete on the athletics track, why are you at a powerchair football event?

Leeds PFC were one of the first clubs to register as a club on Parasport and so won a prize draw to ‘Win a Paralympian’. It’s one of the range of benefits of a club joining Parasport which is a really useful activity finder for disabled people wanting to become more active, or try something new in the UK.

The club wanted to show that women and girls can play powerchair football, and I’m always keen to support community sport – especially in Yorkshire!  

Have you played powerchair football before?

No! Actually, today’s the first time I’ve been in an electric wheelchair so I’m very much a beginner.

But the coaches have been brilliant, really patient with me while I get to grips with how to manoeuvre the chair.

The controls are really sensitive so it’s taking some time to get used to, but the coaches knew to expect that and we started off with a skills session to help me feel more confident moving around.

What did you expect before you tried it?

To be honest, I was a bit worried I’d be asked to play in a game straight away – so I was relieved that we started off by learning to control the chair. It’s also a more skilful game than I first thought and anticipating where you want to move means you really need to concentrate!

I knew I’d be turning up today as a beginner, and we all know how it feels to try something new for the first time – It can feel intimidating – but as soon as I got here, I felt more relaxed. The coaches have been so supportive, really patient & encouraging.

What’s been your favourite part of the day so far?

Playing in my first football match! I love how everyone can get involved – it’s a team-based, non-contact game where men, women, boys and girls can all play together. I think that’s what makes it such a fun and sociable activity.  

Finally, what would you say to anyone interested in trying powerchair football?

Use the Parasport activity finder to find out what’s near you. If you’re in Yorkshire, Leeds Powerchair FC are such a welcoming club. There’s no pressure to jump straight into a chair –  clubs are happy for people to come along, meet the coaches, watch from the side-lines and decide from there.         

Check out our story on Instagram to see Hannah in action!