Coaches get Special Needs Sports Training
June 3, 2011
Coaches get Special Needs Sports Training

Twenty-two persons directly involved in Special Education were last Friday and Saturday the recipients of a planning and training exercise designed to re-energise the St. Vincent and the Grenadines chapter of Special Olympics.{{more}}

The disconnect between the current coaches of Special Olympics and the local board, which oversees the organisation of the sports here, prompted the two days of training, which was conducted by Director of Sports and Training of Special Olympics Caribbean, Trinidadian David Benjamin.

Involving both theoritical and pratical sessions, the training was conducted at the School for Children with Special Needs at Wilson Hill, as well as at Frenches House and at the grounds at the Bishop’s College Kingstown.

Benjamin told SEARCHLIGHT that the four sporting disciplines addressed were: Tennis, Football, Track and Field and Bocce, which saw the participants involving in the planning of the events for each discipline and implementing their plans.

Benjamin said that the diversity in knowledge and interest of the participants ensured that the two days were meaningful and productive.

“Working with the coaches, I realise there were diverse levels, persons who are new to Special Olympics, and some teachers from the Special School, and the advantage of having such a diverse background, is that you have sharing of skills, the sharing of information, and we able to give then new information, which they had not had before, in specifically working with disabilities,” Benjamin said.

Among the participants were three certified Tennis coaches, which delighted Benjamin.

He added that the specificity of the topics addressed during the two days helped in the betterment of the participants.

“We were able to discuss, for example, how do you deal with someone who is autistic, someone who has Downs Syndrome; we looked at how you deal athletes who are prone to seizures, some of the preventative measures you put in place, with persons with specific disabilities,” Benjamin revealed.

The regional director further stated that the practical sessions revealed the need for flexibility and adapability from planning to implementation, which was brought out vividly during the course.

In further assessing the outcome of the two days, Benjamin said that he was impressed with the turn out and enthusiasm of the participants.

“Normally, when I hold these courses, I will get ten or fifteen, but twenty-two coming into a course and staying for the period is good, and I am also impressed with the level of commitment, and when we set a task, everyone is involved, and it shows that there is an interest for working with persons with intellectual abilities, which you need first and foremost, everything else comes after,” Benjamin, who has been involved in Special Olympics for over two decades stated.

Looking ahead, Benjamin said: “There are some specific areas we want to take this forward, including the advanced training of Bocce. We also want to partner with other sports under the Olympic arm, for example, Track and Field, to get the coaches exposed to the IAAF certification; get our coaches exposed to the FIFA certification courses, and the ITF Tennis coaching courses.”

The lull in the Special Olympics here has resulted in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, missing out in participating in the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games, set for July in Athens, Greece.