General Eligibility Criteria
The Penguins offer both Recreational and Competitive ParaSport Programs for Athletes with a Physical Disability.
- Recreational Programs: Tailored towards children, youth and adults who are seeking fun and inclusive play while developing the basic skills of community sport.
- Competitive Programs: Tailored towards youth and adult athletes who want to pursue higher levels of competitive play and skill development.
All programs are group based with a support ratio of 4:1 – meaning one volunteer / coach supporting 4 athletes. If an athlete requires greater supervision or medical care, a personal attendant must attend with the athlete, to ensure their care and safety.
Toileting, changing, medication, transportation and other related personal care items are the responsibility of the athlete and not the coach or volunteer.
All new athletes are required to arrange a free trial visit to ensure that the program is a proper fit for both the athlete and the needs of the program. This must be pre-arranged please call us at 905-359-6283.
Note: Able-bodied players interested in playing are welcome, please discuss available space with the head coach. Siblings of swimmers can swim in the Brock Niagara Aquatics Olympic Way program or do swimming lessons at the same time.
Age: 6+ (Recreational) 10+ (Competitive)
When: Thursdays until June 9, re-starting July 7 – 28, 2022 Recreational – 4:30 – 5:30 pm, Competitive 5:30 – 7 pm
Where: Port Weller Community Centre
What: Boccia is a sitting target sport that consists of 13 balls (6 red, 6 blue and 1 white ball- called the Jack). The court is 12m long x 6m wide on a gym floor. The object of the game is to get as many of your coloured balls around the Jack. Boccia is an individual, paired or team sport.
Recreational: This is structured as a game-based activity. Athletes will learn the basic skills of Boccia as well play interactive games with their peers. Examples include bowling & bulls-eye.
Eligibility Criteria: This is a sitting (but not stationary) sport. Individuals will need to be able to understand basic instructions during practice as well propel and release the ball with their hand (ramps available for use).
Competitive: This is structured as a drill-based program with more tactical and strategizing skills. Athletes learn the rules of competitive Boccia and have the opportunity to work on their individual and team-based development. Examples include ricocheting, displacement and lobbying.
Eligibility Criteria: This is a sitting (but not stationary) sport. Individuals must be able to cognitively understand the rules of the game.
Skills: Each week represents a progression in the skill development. Some participants follow their own goal setting program. Every session focuses on physical fitness and skill progression, an opportunity to grow socially and individually, a push towards healthy lifestyle choices and finding fun in the sport.
Affiliations: ParaSport Ontario and Ontario Cerebral Palsy Sports Association (OCPSA). Competitive players will play among themselves and have the opportunity to attend ParaSport- OCPSA tournaments and clinics as they become available. Athletes in the competitive program must be registered with OCPSA to play in their tournaments.
The Brock Niagara Penguins started holding virtual programming when the Covid-19 pandemic shuttered most of the Penguins’ sports groups. Programming ranges from virtual work outs to boccia practises to social times and takes place 3 times each week.
Virtual programming has been suspended (Summer 2022), as in-person programming is able to re-start.
If you are interested in virtual programs, please call 905-359-6283 or email email@example.com
When: Hand Cycling will not run in the Fall of 2022. If any Penguin athlete would like to borrow a bike and trainer to use, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
What:Indoor Handcycling is similar to a spin class where an instructor leads a program at a variety of intensities. The handcycles are mounted on a trainer and individuals use their arms to power the cycle bike. Class starts with a warm-up, and runs in intervals with breaks in between. During the spring months (weather permitting), the class will ride outdoor trails. Participants will learn about the handcycles, gears and brakes. Competitions have not yet been explored for this program.
Skills: Handcycling is a means to improve cardiovascular health and increase upper-body strength. Classes are organized to improve technique, and build endurance and power. Each week represents a progression in these skill developments. Some participants follow their own goal setting program.
Eligibility Criteria: Individuals must be able to transfer themselves onto the handcycle bikes and have enough upper body strength and mobility to propel the handcycle. The handcycles are mounted on trainers and this program is similar to a “fitness” class. Accommodations can be made for grip strength.
Affiliations: Ontario Cycling Association (OCA)
The Niagara Thunder competitive para-hockey team practises in Port Colborne and competes in South-Western Ontario. Athletes range in abilities from new to the sport, to provincial and national team athletes. The Thunder are a long standing team from Niagara, who have recently joined the Brock Niagara Penguin family.
For information, please call 905-359-6283.
When: Tuesday (Competitive) and Thursday (Recreation-Entry Level) 4:15 p.m.- 5:30 p.m. for approximately 10 weeks, for 3 sessions (Sept, Jan and April start) Note: We pan to re-start the swim program in the Fall of 2022.
Where: Brock University, Aquatic Centre, Walker Complex, St. Catharines. Athletes swim in the Brock pool beside the Olympic Way athletes.
Recreational: Swim program was designed for individuals to swim in a fun, interactive environment. This is a game-activity based way for young athletes to enhance their swimming skills. Individuals will also work on developing their basic swim skills such as floating, treading water, swim strokes, diving etc.
Eligibility Criteria: Swim athletes must feel comfortable in the water and be able to get themselves in and out of the pool.
Swim Team (Competitive): This program is designed for athletes who wish to further develop their individual swimming skills. This is a more structured program where athletes will complete warm-up laps, swim strokes, timed and IM swims. The instructor will work individually with athletes to improve their individual strokes and proper stroke technique such as breathing, arm positioning, kicking their feet etc. The general goal of this program is for Para Athletes to be ready to compete.
Eligibility Criteria: Swim team athletes are invited into this program based on their swim ability and interest. Individuals are looking to improve their swimming skills and understand the difference between the swim strokes (i.e. breaststroke, butterfly etc.).
Overall skills: Each week represents a progression in the skill development. Some participants follow their own goal setting program. Every session focuses on physical fitness and skill progression in the water, an opportunity to grow socially and individually, a push towards healthy lifestyle choices and finding fun in fitness.
Partners: Brock Niagara Aquatics and the Olympic Way– Opportunities to swim in the Olympic Way mini-meets at Brock University as they become available. These are low-key in house competitions.
Who: Youth (8+) & Adults
When: June 2 – July 28 (Thursdays) from 7:30 – 8:30 pm
Where: Port Weller Community Centre, St. Catharines
What: The general concept behind sitting volleyball is the same as traditional volleyball. There are 6 players per side, 3 contacts to play the ball over, there are designated positions (setter, etc.) and the court is divided into front and back court (OVA, 2020). The difference is that the court is smaller and the net is lowered.
Skills: Every session focuses on physical fitness and skill progression on the court, and an opportunity to grow socially and individually. Because the net is lower and the court smaller, the sitting game is a lot quicker than the traditional game and athletes must have quick reflexes and hand eye coordination (OVA, 2020). Because of the speed, athletes must also be able to control the ball in a variety of situations, one arm, two arms, overhead and they all must be able to perform all skills well (OVA, 2020).
Eligibility Criteria: Athletes must have the ability to transfer themselves to the floor, sit on the floor independently, change positions and have upper body mobility to throw and hit a ball. This is a team sport and individuals must be able to understand the rules of the game.
Affiliations: ParaSport Ontario & the Ontario Volleyball Association (OVA): The team will have the opportunity to play in tournaments or clinics through ParaSport Ontario and OVA as they become available. Membership with OVA is required for Ontario Provincial Tournaments.
- Division 2- Adult competitive (16+)
- Division 3- Competitive (under 16)
- Penguins House League (Recreation 10+)
When: May 7 – June 25
Note: The Competitive and Recreational teams are mixed during this program due to the number of athletes participating and gym time available.
Where: Brock University, Gym 2, Walker Sports Complex, St. Catharines
What: This program is played on a basketball court in basketball wheelchairs. The basketball net is normally 10 feet high but modifications can be made for new or younger players. This is a team sport based on strategy and skill. Basketball is technically a non-contact sport but athletes can expect some contact while participating. Rules are fairly similar to stand-up basketball but with a few exceptions. If an athlete is interested in higher level competition there is a classification system based upon a person’s disability not their skill level that can be used.
Skills: The Penguin’s Wheelchair Basketball Team aims to encourage individual goal setting that reflects each athlete and their skill level, however the group goals remain similar. Every session focuses on physical fitness and skill progression on the court, an opportunity to grow socially and individually, a push towards healthy lifestyle choices all while having fun in the game. Skills include shooting, chair control, dripping, passing, defensive and offensive positioning, strategy building, communication on the floor etc.
Eligibility Criteria: Wheelchair basketball athletes must have the ability to propel themselves sufficiently in a sport wheelchair. Individuals must be able to hold onto a basketball and coordinate movement of the chair while learning and understanding the rules of the game. This is a team sport and a fast paced game. Individuals must be able to follow instructions and feel comfortable catching and throwing the basketball.
Affiliations: Ontario Para Network (ONPARA)– The team will have weekly house league games and will compete in OnPara tournaments and clinics as they are available. OnPara membership is required for competitive players only in order to play in their tournaments.
Age: Youth (highschool)
When: Once weekly, Sunday (April- June)
Where: Niagara Olympic Club Track, St. Catharines
What: Athletes propel a high performance race chair for speed and endurance in a competitive environment. Youth athletes train to compete for their local highschool and other racing competitions in Ontario. Athletes train as a team and compete individually.
Skills: Wheelchair Racing is a means to improve cardiovascular health and increase upper-body strength. Classes are organized to improve technique, and build endurance and power. Each week represents a progression in these skill developments. Some participants follow their own goal setting program. Athletes learn how to push their chairs, posture, grip, pushing strategies etc.
Eligibility Criteria: Individuals must have the upper body strength and mobility to propel the chair. Athletes are invited into this program based on their ability and interest.
Affiliations: Athletics Ontario and the Ontario Cerebral Palsy Sports Association (OCPSA) – Opportunities to race competitively through OCPSA as they are available. Athletes must already belong to their local club to qualify for support from OCPSA.