Tagged with: coaching disability accomodations disability awareness disability sport NJDC Track and field
Have I ever mentioned that my husband and I coach track, field, and archery? Well, he coaches field and archery and I coach track and basically act as team “mom” while my husband is the “fun” one. For three or so months out of every year our life gets put on hold… the grass doesn’t get mowed, there are only weeds in the garden, our fridge remains empty, and our friends forget who we are because track season is upon us.
Tagged with: athletes children coaching disabilities kids sports
Recently, my young son expressed an interest in participating in a highly competitive track meet. The best students from across the city were going to gather for a big event and close to one thousand runners would fill the stadium with noise and frenetic energy. Although Michael has autism he is a very capable young athlete who has enjoyed success against his peers. We both agreed he was ready for the challenge. As the track meet approached I noticed that he was becoming increasingly anxious. Soon, with any mention of the track meet, his tears would start to flow. No amount of calming or reassuring words could alleviate his anxiety. He decided not to participate – this was something that I fully supported – and Michael’s sense of relief was almost palpable. I could not easily explain his change of heart. After a few days of gentle questioning I discovered that Michael was anxious about the length of the university track (400m) and his belief that it was much bigger than the track we practice on (also 400m). He had allowed this belief to undermine his confidence.
Tagged with: acceptance coaching communication coping inclusion intolerance sports
“Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me!” You are probably all familiar with that ridiculous rhyme that is thrown about as if it is some sort of protective device against verbal bullying. Name calling, slurs, and insults do hurt, of course, and people with disabilities and challenges have almost certainly had their share of such experiences. Unfortunately, sports do not have a long history of promoting acceptance, inclusion, or recognizing the value of special needs athletes. The combination of intolerance and exclusion tends to encourage athletes to use harsh and judgmental language to ridicule the performances of an athlete that does not measure up to a particular standard.