Coaching Special Olympics Athletes

All about coaching Special Olympics athletes.

1) What is the advantage to using the demonstration component of instruction to illustrate a skill?

  • The athlete hears you explain the skill by using one- or two-part instructions, and then it’s clear what is expected of him or her
  • The athlete sees what she’s being asked to do and is able to follow the instructions.
  • The athlete receives one-on-one attention from the coach.
  • Since combining the four components is nearly impossible, it is the best way to teach an athlete a new skill.
2) What should a coach do after teaching a new skill to an athlete?

  • Test the athlete on her/his ability to perform it.
  • Continue to add new skills until the athlete appears overwhelmed.
  • Repeat and reinforce the new skill immediately after it is performed or if s/he demonstrates the correct behavior.
  • Have the athlete repeat the steps to test for memorization.
3) What must a coach do to help an athlete achieve a skill?

  • Evaluate whether the skill was achieved.
  • Have the athlete apply the skill in a game-like situation.
  • Give the athlete more playing time during a game.
  • Separate the skill into tasks.
4) What is the best approach to communicate effectively with athletes?

  • Use the same words or phrases to elicit a desired action.
  • Use “don’t” commands so the athletes do not hurt themselves.
  • Use at least 4-part directions to include the entire action, not one- or two-part instructions.
  • Use directional references often so athletes can acclimate themselves to the terrain.
5) What should a coach consider in making her instructions more meaningful to athletes?

  • Use words that are clear and criteria-laden.
  • Use words that are concrete and conforming.
  • Use words that are consistent and command-oriented.
  • Use words that are concise and compassionate.
6) What strategy is most likely to facilitate learning for an athlete WHO has difficulty focusing on a task?

  • Have the athlete demonstrate an activity for her peers.
  • Have the athlete perform the same task until she learns the skill.
  • Move the other athletes away from her until she is back on task.
  • Change the athlete to an observer until she is ready to focus.
7) Why is it important to teach athletes to follow the Governing Body & Special Olympics Rules?

  • Competition will be inconsistent regardless of where the athlete is competing.
  • Athletes need to be exposed to a variety of rules so they can compete in different settings.
  • Athletes need to know that National Governing Body rules take precedence over Special Olympics rules.
  • Athletes will be better prepared if they know and can apply rules in competition.

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