Happy September!!!  My name is John Wysocki and I recently joined the staff as the Special Olympics Ohio Director of Coaches Education and Sports Resources.  I developed this newsletter to keep our registered Volunteer Coaches informed and aware of the training and support available to them through their affiliation with Special Olympics Ohio.  I will also highlight all of our sports offered through Special Olympics Ohio and hints and tips at keeping our athletes healthy and fit year round, not just during competition season.

Sports Highlight

The 2017 Equestrian State Games took place on 19-20th of August in Northern Cincinnati at the Winton Woods Riding Center.  The event featured almost 100 athlete-riders in 48 competition classes and was organized by Rachel Neumann, who is the Manager at the Winton Woods Riding Center, and the official event judge was Rhonda Kieffer.  The athletes (and horses) performed admirably and we are in the process of introducing regional qualifying events to our Equestrian sport next year with the hope we continue to see growth in local program involvement.  If you would like to learn more about starting an Equestrian program, please contact Rachel at rneumann@greatparks.org.

Coming Soon

September Events—State Softball Tournament (16th) William P. Coontz Recreation Complex in Oregon // State Golf Tournament (19-20th) at Meadow Links Golf Academy, Cincinnati.

Featured Sport

Flag Football – First State-Level Games coming up on November 4, 2017, taking place in Madison County (510 Elm Street, London OH) and hosted by the Madison County Board of DD. I will provide an overview of the event in the December Coaches Newsletter. It does not require a lot of equipment but does require a lined field. If you are interested in starting up a flag football team this fall, you are running short on time, so please contact the state office for assistance.

Athlete Fitness/Wellness

Try this… (P.S.S.-After Meals) 10 Push Ups, 20 Sit Ups, 30 Squats…this is a great way to squeeze in some strength and conditioning to your average day. Short workouts such as this are always better than skipping workouts and can help you and your athletes to stay focused on fitness!

Certification Corner

Consider investing some time in self-development, building your knowledge base (and coaching résumé) with the following online resources:

  1. Athlete-Centered Coaching Guide
  2. Sports Rules – Article One
  3. Concussion in Sports
  4. Protective Behaviors Course (required of all Class A Volunteers)

Minimum criteria to become a Special Olympics certified head coach

To receive Special Olympics head coach certification, an individual will:

  1. Complete the volunteer form (Class A / to work with athletes), the online Protective Behaviors training and a General Orientation that provides a basic introduction to Special Olympics.
  2. Complete a course on the basics of teaching and coaching Special Olympics athletes.
  3. Complete an approved course on teaching and coaching a specific sport.
  4. Receive endorsement from his/her Program as having fulfilled the above criteria, as well as general screening approval as a suitable individual to work with Special Olympics athletes.

The goals of the 4 criteria are to provide the coach with a general understanding and knowledge of Special Olympics; teaching and coaching the Special Olympics athlete; general and Special Olympics sport rules and coaching pedagogy; and personal character. Get certified!

Athlete Nutrition

Healthy Eating While Traveling- (think, bus trips!)

Many athletes and teams travel to sports events to challenge themselves with quality competition. It is important to maintain good nutrition and hydration while traveling to an event, before, during and after the competition. The coach should plan with the team what foods to take while traveling and what foods and beverages to take to the competition site. The coach should check with the athlete’s family or care giver on food preferences and special diet needs.

Travel Snacks

  • Dried fruit, nuts, seeds
  • Fresh/canned fruit, vegetables
  • Water, fruit juice
  • Bagel, pita bread, ready to eat cereals, cereal bar, crackers
  • Yogurt, string cheese, humus (may need refrigeration)
  • Peanut and other nut butters
  • Pack a travel healthy food/snack bag for the team or have each athlete bring their foods.

Coach’s planning for Healthy Eating on the Road

  • Confirm any food allergies or special diet needs with the athlete, athlete family or care giver and Head of Delegation.
  • Review the menus and share with team
  • Have healthy snacks and beverages available for athletes

Eating Out During Travel

  • Review restaurant menu with team, discuss healthy choices before going to the meal
  • Choose baked, grilled or broiled foods instead of fried
  • Ask for toppings and dressings on the side
  • Water to drink.

Remember to ALWAYS have your Athlete’s and Partner’s Application for Participation and Release Forms in your possession while training, traveling and/or competing. Should a medical event occur, those forms will be necessary for the athlete to receive treatment!