The United States Sports Academy’s program to train physical education teachers and coaches in the Kingdom of Bahrain to meet the needs of athletes with adaptive needs has culminated with 223 students completing the program.
Academy National Faculty member Marty Floyd traveled to the island nation in the Middle East three times since June 2018 to teach the post-secondary, non-degree certificate program in disabled and adaptive sport for the Bahrain Sports Federation for Disabilities (BSFD).
The Adaptive Sports program is a unique course of advanced study designed for coaches and physical education teachers who have or want to have experience working with athletes with varying degrees of adaptive needs. The program has a two-pronged approach that includes working with competitive athletes and developing inclusive programs for recreational athletes.
The program has already shown signs of success in Bahrain. Two students from one of Floyd’s groups have already begun working with Paralympic athletes through the BSFD, while two others are teaching Taekwondo skills to disabled athletes in Bahrain.
“The concepts presented in the daily lessons and practical activities provide a springboard to increased development as teachers and being able to provide meaningful activities to both the able and disabled students in their classes,” Floyd said.
“While teaching about the nature of disabilities and their characteristics, we also immerse them into the real-life situations and barriers that the disabled encounter in their everyday lives. Giving the teachers strategies to remove barriers and obstacles for the disabled and ways to remove the myths associated with the disabled has opened the minds and hearts of the teachers.”
Floyd has more than 40 years of experience in the sport, education, training, leadership, instructional design and management fields.
“I am honored to be a part of this great program and to be a part of the United States Sports Academy,” Floyd said.
“The Bahrain Sports Federation for Disabilities, under the leadership of Sheik Mohammed and many dedicated volunteers, has opened tremendous opportunities to allow Bahrainis who have disabilities to participate in recreation and competitive sports.”
Floyd has worked in athletic and education administration since 1980.
“I found that students are the same, whether in the United States or Bahrain,” he said. “They want to learn, they want to succeed, and they want to become better at their craft.
“I am honored to be a small part of the United States Sports Academy.”
The program is notable because it marks the return of the Academy to Bahrain after a hiatus of several years. The Academy’s involvement in Bahrain goes back more than 40 years to the beginnings of the Academy’s international instruction, research and outreach programs. In 1977, the Academy worked with the Bahrain General Organization for Youth and Sports to develop a physical fitness test used to gauge the fitness of every school-aged child in that country, providing the first profile of youth fitness in Bahrain. A descendant of that test is still used today. For three years after, the Academy had full charge conduct of Bahrain’s national sports effort including sports medicine and human performance research laboratory. Since then, the Academy has conducted numerous programs in Bahrain focusing on physical education in schools, fitness, recreation, youth sports, the Bahrain National Olympic Committee, and fitness programs for police officers, among others.
A resident of Gulf Shores, Ala., Floyd is a consultant for the South Alabama Research and Inservice Center at the University of South Alabama in Mobile. Floyd previously worked as an associate scout for the Chicago Cubs baseball organization and as a certified trainer for non-violent crisis prevention. He has served as a baseball and softball umpire at the youth and high school levels and has taught hitting, pitching and fielding. He has also worked as an instructor for high school and middle school volleyball camps.
Floyd earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in special education from the University of South Alabama (USA), where he also earned a Superintendent/Principal Administrative Certification.
For a video on the Academy’s adaptive sports program in Bahrain, go to https://youtu.be/HvgnelYHuSg.