Over 35 Years of Sports Training, Lifestyle Coaching and Impact


Ability First Sports began in 1985 at California State University, Chico through the Physical Education Department to educate and train physical education professionals to proactively include adapted sports and recreation in schools. Ability First hosted an annual summer youth sports camp to develop recreational and athletic opportunities for youth with physical disabilities. The camp has been providing amazing experiences for over 30 years. Ability First Sports has provided sports instruction, training and leisure opportunities to over 1,000 adapted individuals in the Western U.S. who can benefit from sports instruction to develop an active and healthy lifestyle.  Since then Ability First Sports runs year round sports, leisure, and lifestyle workshops for both youth and adults with physical disabilities.  


After 30 years of coaching people in adapted sports and working with individuals with physical disabilities, Ability First Sports is positioned as a regional leader for adapted sports experiences. Participants learn to develop an active lifestyle through sports instruction and coaching. Participants also gain independence, endurance, strength and leadership.  Ability First continues to support participants and their families to advocate for equal participation and inclusion in sports, recreation and in life.

We believe that adaptive equipment creates life changing opportunities.  Ability First provides  adaptive equipment and instruction to ensure access for all.

We Focus on the Individual

People are given information about being physically active, their rights to be included, and the impact it has on their personal health and quality of life. Our athlete instruction is not just focused on sports, but also on the impact things like nutrition and good grades have on participation in sports, the ability to play sports in college on scholarships, opportunities to travel the nation and world through athletics. We encourage our athletes to be as independent as possible and try to prepare them for the world where they will at some point encounter exclusion and/or discrimination. We try to eliminate barriers by providing the adapted equipment, conducting low/no cost programs, and by collaborating with local organizations in order to increase the number of (inclusive) sports opportunities provided in a community. 

We Focus on Community

Our coaching staff and counselors at Ability First are actively involved in helping to train future teachers and therapists entering the field of Adapted P.E. and Therapeutic Recreation. We work closely with the teacher preparation programs at CSUC, Butte Community College, Butte County Office of Education, and Chico Unified School District. Teaching about disability in a non-traditional sports setting provides a unique experience where trainees are taught how to adapt activities and situations in a way that they typically would never get in a controlled college classroom. We recruit and educate youth without disabilities to take part in our program to incorporate inclusion and break down misconceptions that individuals with disabilities are different than “them”. We also work with local and state-wide programs in order to support their efforts to offer inclusive and adapted sports and recreation opportunities.

Quality Instruction

All sports, recreation and leisure activities are provided by world-class coaches with disabilities who have had successful careers in competitive athletes at the collegiate, national, and international level. The elite coaching staff is a vital part of our program, acting as role models for our youth athletes.  Coaches use their lived experiences in life, their profession and sport to empower others to be their best selves. Ability First Sports is designed to provide year-round instructional and recreational sports opportunities to youth and adults with physical disabilities. The nationally-renown sports organization offers world class coaching to youth and adults in multiple adapted sports and leisure opportunities including basketball, rugby, water skiing, tennis, hand-cycling, swimming and WCMX, kyaking, archery and more.

Explore your abilities with Ability First Sports through great coaching and wonderful people.