Goalball UK are hoping to attract more players, coaches and officials to the sport ©Goalball UK

Goalball UK are leading a campaign to get more sighted people involved in the sport at club level to help continue its growth across the country.

The campaign, coming fresh from Britain finishing second in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games medals table, will look to encourage sighted people to become players, coaches and officials.

Clubs across the country are due to host open sessions throughout October and into November, where sighted or visually-impaired people will be able to attend and learn more and try out the sport.

“While the sport offers a ready-made visually-impaired community, younger players in particular have recognised the opportunity to involve their sighted peers and strengthen friendships through goalball,” said Mike Reilly, chief executive of Goalball UK.

“The sport is fast, challenging and gives our players a game that they can enjoy with sighted friends on a level playing field – something which has an incredibly positive impact on confidence and self-esteem.

"For sighted players, the benefits are significant, goalball requires precise teamwork, collaborative leadership and a great deal of physical fitness.

“It also offers the chance to support a sport that is dramatically improving the lives of visually impaired people.”

Goalball UK state the sport has enjoyed a 325 per cent increase in participation since the London 2012 Paralympic Games, making it one of the fastest growing disability sports in the country.

Developed to help soldiers recover in World War Two, the sport is played with blindfolds to ensure people with all levels of visual impairment can join in, while it also allows sighted people to play.

Goalball UK are hopeful the taster sessions will continue the growth of the sport in the UK ©Getty Images
Goalball UK are hopeful the taster sessions will continue the growth of the sport in the UK ©Getty Images

With voices of team mates and raised markings on the floor to guide players, goalball gives visually-impaired people an advantage as they are accustomed to navigating a sighted world.

It is hoped the campaign will help goalball to find new coaches and officials, who could go on to help at clubs and tournaments to allow more people to participate.

A one-day “Goalball Leaders Award”, which teaches potential coaches how to communicate and guide a person with a visual impairment in a sporting environment, is also open for people to participate in.

The award also provides coaching techniques and gives the participants a grounding in domestic competitive structures.

“Goalball has been growing at a rate of knots since London 2012, but without coaches and officials we can not continue to expand,” Reilly said.

“We estimate that only one per cent of visually-impaired people in the UK have access to goalball coaching and facilities - sighted people can help change this and transform the lives of visually impaired people in their communities.”

Britain did not compete in goalball competitions at Rio 2016, having failed to qualify for the men’s and women’s events.

The list of open sessions can be found here