Support through Sport UK chats to Neal Crowley about Boccia Rulz …
Hi Neal. Great to chat to you. So tell us … what is Boccia Rulz?
Boccia Rulz is an information hub for people who are new to the game of Boccia. It’s hoped that Boccia Rulz will get more and more people, and groups, playing Boccia, as Boccia is such a unique game! It is also a game that everyone can play, regardless of their ability.
Can you explain to our readers what the sport of Boccia is all about …
Boccia is an indoor Paralympic sport that was introduced in 1984. Players throw or kick (or use a ramp to propel) a ball onto a court roughly the size of a badminton court. The aim is to get the ball as close to the ‘jack’ ball as possible.
And you pronounce Boccia ‘Bot - cha’ - is that right?
What made you decide to set up Boccia Rulz?
It was whilst I was running my local Boccia club that I came up with the idea of Boccia Rulz. I have difficulty typing and so it was difficult for me to produce factsheets for my members. Hence I decided to set up ‘Boccia Rulz’ - an online advice and information hub for people who are new to the game. Please do note, however, that all the advice / information I give, I am giving as a 'lay person'. So please do get all advice / information checked by your local sports development team or Boccia England (the National Governing Body for Boccia in England). Also remember that before starting any exercise regime you should consider consulting your doctor to ensure that the regime is suitable for you.
How do people access Boccia Rulz?
How did you get into Boccia?
I have been playing for about 12 years. I started playing when I was at college in Cheltenham and I won in the singles at the South West Region Tournament (in 2002). In 2004, I obtained my Boccia Community Leaders Award (formerly the Boccia Assistant Teachers Award). This enables me to furnish individuals (who are involved in Boccia at a community level) with a basic understanding of the sport. It also enables me to referee at my club (Romford YMCA). Then, In 2011, I came seventh in a national competition. The current Boccia qualifications that I hold are my Regional Officials Award (Level E) and my aforementioned Boccia Assistant Teachers Award.
You’ve done, and do, loads of other things as well, don’t you?
I ran a club at a local special needs school under the ‘Change4Life Sports Clubs’ programme. I’m currently a Youth Worker, an 18-plus Group Leader, a Project Planner for an inclusive youth club in Essex and I am an Information Adviser and a Volunteer Lead at a local Special Educational Needs (SEN) school.
In terms of ambitions, I’d like to continue to progress in Boccia, potentially working my way up to being a national player or official.
Over the past few months, I've done a lot more coaching, which I've really enjoyed. I would love to work my way up to the point where I can deliver Boccia courses.
And a few weeks ago I went to the Pentathlon Challenge with a local school that I co-coach. When I got there, I was asked to coach the whole Borough team, which was a big opportunity! It was such an honour and a slightly worrying role for me - but I loved it and we came second. If was such a reward and a privilege.
Amazing stuff! Finally, why would you recommend that people have a go at Boccia?
It is a game that brings people together, regardless of ability. My motto is that ‘disability is an ability’ and hence that is why I am so keen to promote Boccia Rulz.