Inclusivity drives Falkner

by Val Febbo

Bowls Australia’s (BA) recently appointed Para-Bowls High Performance Manager Ellen Falkner MBE has always been passionate about inclusivity, and has always held the mantra that anyone should be able to have a positive experience with sport.

Speaking on BA’s ‘The Right Line’ podcast, Falkner believes that inclusivity and development should begin from a young age.

“The company where I have spent most of my time working at is at a children’s charity and basically we just want all young people to have the opportunity to find a sport that they love and experience the joys and benefits that sport can bring,” she said.

“That’s the joy of moving and being active or whether it’s that sense of belonging or the skills that you learn and develop through sport.”

Initially, the three-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist began mentoring para-bowls athletes as a volunteer, but quickly developed a passion to assist her pupils in achieving the highest level of success.

“In terms of the coaching side of things I just came in on a voluntary level,” she said.

“One of the main things I love about the sport is it’s inclusivity, so when I was looking to get more into the coaching side of bowls it was a great opportunity to go work with our Disability Bowls England squad.

“I’ve really loved that, I’m very passionate about moving barriers and equally around helping people to be the best that they can be and have a really positive experience, and we’ve had a lot of fun both on and off the green.”

When it comes to people, the 42-year-old’s point of view is that coaching the person comes before their profession, as it allows relationships to blossom in order to have the right conversations.

“Fundamentally from a coaching perspective, my philosophy has always been about coaching the person and not coaching the sport,” Falkner said.

“If you can focus on people’s abilities and you can ask them the right questions then you will help them find solutions within themselves.

“What I’m really excited about the new role is that it’s not only about helping players fulfil their potential but the opportunities that are forged with the Olympics and Paralympics being in Brisbane in 2032.”

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