I had the opportunity to attend the Hamilton County Special Olympics, Alpine Skiing Experience Day at Perfect North Slopes in Lawrenceburg, Indiana on January 25th. Several Cincinnati area schools sent their students to take part in the experience and many were skiing for the first time. Those athletes who displayed proficiency were able to advance to higher level slopes and will be offered the opportunity to join the Hamilton County Special Olympics ski team, who practice weekly at Perfect North. Current members of the HCSO Ski Team served as mentors and instructors to the students alongside community volunteers. It was a fantastic day weather wise, and all the participants appeared to have a wonderful experience trying out the slopes with their friends and classroom teachers. This serves as a great feeder system of potential athletes into the HCSO program! If your local program is a commutable distance to a ski slope/resort, this could truly enhance your winter games alpine program.
Thank you to Hamilton County Special Olympics Coordinator Janet Smith for the invitation!
Special Olympics Ohio Winter Games—On February 7th and 8th, Special Olympics Ohio will travel to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Brandywine Ski Resort and Kent State University Ice Rink to host the 2018 36th Annual Winter Games. The competition will take place from 10am to 6pm on Wednesday and 9am to 2pm on Thursday. There are nearly 200 athletes and coaches registered for the games!
Coach of the Month
Brian Finn, Franklin County-New Albany Special Olympics Coach Brian Finn was nominated by New Albany Local Coordinator Amy Thomas. She stated: “Brian is a track, flag football and basketball coach for Special Olympics, plus he also referees home basketball games and makes sure we always have snacks, which is a high priority for our crowd! Brian has been with our program since we founded it in 2011. He is a passionate and dedicated coach. He always shows up early and never misses an event in the sports that he coaches. Outside of Special Olympics, Brian is a high school intervention teacher, offensive coordinator for the New Albany high school football team, and father of three beautiful children, the youngest of which has Down Syndrome.”
(Please forward me nominations for Coaches within your local organizations which deserve some special recognition. Simply send me a brief narrative of “why they are the best” and a coaching photo to my email address: email@example.com and I will take the best of the month and call them out on the monthly newsletter for the difference they are making for our Special Olympics Athletes.)
Area and Regional tournament play is right around the corner for the state-wide teams and the tournament brackets have been finalized by division. Your Section and Area Directors will be sharing this information with Local Coordinators very soon if they have not already done so. We are looking forward to seeing you in Tuscarawas County on March 23rd and 24th for the State Final Four!
The Principles of Coaching Online Course through West Virginia University enrollment is currently closing out the current semester on Feb 28th. The course limit is 30 participants, so be sure to register now for the next session. Here is the course link: WVU Principles of Coaching Special Olympics Athletes
I am planning an in-person Special Olympics coaches training opportunity for starting or developing a Tennis program on Saturday, April 7th from 9:30am to 3:00pm at The Ohio State University Columbus Campus. If you have interest in attending this free coaches clinic, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can verify the venue and plan for lunch. Instructor: Jim Hamm, SONA, PTR/SO Tennis Clinician.
Check out the Special Olympics Ohio Sports Resources channel on YouTube™, providing some original content and Playlists with helpful information categorized by sport. A great resource for coaches and athletes. Coaches, send in your favorite conditioning workouts, featuring your athletes and I will upload to the site!! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_zwnbh97LkS76kJEY039og