The Queensland women’s cricket team, the Queensland Fire, have swapped their cricket pads for blackout eyeshades as part of a team-building session with some of the state's top Goalball players with vision impairment.
Sixteen Queensland Fire players visited the YMCA Bowen Hills in Brisbane to see the goalball players in action, before running through some skills and drills with Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association’s Sports Development Coordinator Ben MacFie, who is a national representative goalball player.
The session was the brainchild of Queensland Fire player Dee Kimmince, who volunteered at the Association’s recent state goalball championships and thought the sport would make a good team-building activity for her team mates.
Dee is undertaking a volunteer placement role with the Association as part of Cricket Australia’s “Beyond the Boundary” program for contracted Australian players.
“Dee thought it would be a great activity for the Queensland Fire to work on their teamwork and communication skills, given that goalball is played with blackout eyeshades,” said Ben.
“We ran the team through some ball passing drills so they could learn about the communication needed between players on court, and then they had the opportunity to play against each other in teams with our Queensland junior goalball team members Katja Dedekind and Connor Perring.”
Dee said the Queensland Fire enjoyed working with the talented players “who made it look so easy”, and admired how hard it is to compete in a sport when you have no vision.
“I guess the biggest thing was not so much the physical component, but how disoriented we felt once we had our blindfolds on,” she said.
“We had to learn to trust our team mates, communicate whether that be speaking or tapping the court to let your team mates know where you are in relation to them, but also giving encouragement after the release of the ball no matter what the outcome.
“We can take a lot out of goalball as a team. The simple things like trust, communication and encouragement are three important qualities needed to be a successful team.
“We really appreciate the opportunity that we were given by Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association to attend the day. It was an opportunity for us to do something completely different and have some fun with it.
“The Fire girls think it's really important to get involved in other organisations within the Brisbane community and show our support for other athletes.”
Dee will be working with Ben and the state’s top junior athletes with disabilities in the Association’s Junior Development Program as part of her placement.