Sports and athletic events are an amazing way for humans to come together and compete. More than that, these events bring about a sense of community, develop teamwork and promote social skills. Within the special needs population, Special Olympics does this exactly. This organization promotes the unification of over “4.9 million athletes with intellectual disabilities” through daily activities within 172 countries (specialolympics.org). Even more exciting is that every two years, Special Olympics hosts the World Games where over 7,000 athletes and 20,000 volunteers come together.
This year, the Special Olympics World Games will be held in Abu Dhabi from March 14th-21st.
These games encourage local governments to become more involved in advocating for individuals with disabilities and encourage volunteers to become a part of this amazing event. Get ready to watch these incredible athletes as they participate in various summer sports including beach volleyball, powerlifting, table tennis, swimming and more!
Are you interested in volunteering? Check out the following link for more information.
Good luck in the games, athletes!
We see clients of all variety of ages, diagnoses, and physical ability levels. Their programs are individualized and may look different but we always meet them at their level.
Our clients are used to having authoritarian figures in their lives. Parents dictating their schedules, teachers and therapists making them do no preferred tasks, and the list goes on and on.
We take an "alternative" approach. We meet them where they are and allow them to provide input on their workout routine and give them ownership of THEIR program. We strive making their visit with us a preferred activity that they look forward to, not something that they feel like they're being forced to do.
Switching that mindset unlocks their intrinsic motivation, which is the most powerful thing of all!
"Try and touch the ceiling."
"But that's impossible."
"You're right! Here, try and touch my hand."
Everybody learns differently and has their own way of interpreting the world and their surroundings. Many of our clients are very literal in the way that they think, which directly impacts the coaching ques that we use.
Many times coaches can get stuck in the rut of using the same ques with every client and then are thrown off when someone doesn't understand what they mean.
If this happens to you, don't get frustrated. Take a deep breathe and think about a different way that you can explain it that may make sense to your client. Make it relatable in a way that their brain can process it.
Every piece of equipment has a purpose. Many of our clients struggle with the downward movement (eccentric phase) of the bench press. We use it as a teaching tool to transition them to the traditional barbell or dumbbell bench exercises. Here are two ways that we use it to help:
It provides a safer and easier spotting solution for our trainer to maintain the safety of our clients.
They often get an itch on their leg, or something in their eye, and will let go of the bar altogether. The guided bar of the Smith Machine takes out a lot of variables in those circumstances in comparison to the traditional barbell or dumbbell versions.
Your muscles also experience a different sensory feeling during the eccentric phase vs the concentric phase of the bench press (downward vs upward). For many, they have never had to slowly control a weighted object and it is a new feeling for them. We will gradually load the bar and work specifically on getting them comfortable with this feeling. The goal is to have them be able to control more weight during this phase than they could do during the upward movement.
What is the most important aspect of our job as trainers? Is it the programming? Is it nutritional advice? Is it teaching proper form and having progressions and regressions for each exercise?
All of those are important, but mean nothing if you can't reach your client. We make fitness fun and make it a priority to increase our clients' self confidence and have them leave with a smile every day. If they don't want to come back, then everything else doesn't matter.
Parents can sometime be hesitant to contact us because they are concerned about how their child will behave. In a private or public setting their child may exhibit violent behavior, or have self injurious behaviors. They often ask, "Are you okay working with our child, even if they exhibit behaviors X, Y, and Z?" Our answer always remains the same, "Absolutely."
It is not human nature to be violent towards one another. There is ALWAYS a trigger behind any behavior. The trick is to identify that trigger by looking for ques to help prevent an unwanted behavior from occurring.
Through the years we have had several parents warn us about their child's certain behaviors that have caused other providers to work with them in a constant state of fear. And honestly, we rarely see those said behaviors at Specialty Athletic Training, and the reason is because we care about our clients on a personal level. Humans are not inherently bad in nature, so we don't treat or talk about our clients as if they are.
Behaviors are often a way of communication and can be easily misinterpreted. It is our job in those situations to figure out what our clients are trying to tell us. Are they exhibiting frustration between transitions? Are they becoming frustrated with the demands being placed on them? Are they becoming visibly agitated and beginning to be more physically aggressive?
By identifying triggers and the precursors of behavior, we are able to simply talk to our clients and assure them that we are there to support them and that everything will be alright.
It is very important to remember that there is always a trigger behind a behavior. Being able to identify those triggers and treating our clients with respect is only one of many ways that makes us unique at Specialty Athletic Training.
Originally aired on 12/23/2018
Podcast? Yes, please! I love sharing the story of Specialty Athletic Training and spreading the love for the community that we serve with the hopes that it will inspire others to create something similar in their areas. I recently had the opportunity to join Alex Povey of the UK and be a guest on his podcast, Coaching Ignited.
Enjoy the conversation that we had and let us know what you think by commenting below!
What are you training goals? Do you want to get lean and burn fat? Do you want to increase your strength? Tired of being winded after doing everyday activities? The one exercise that you should add to your training program that addresses all of these goals, and much more, is the deadlift.
The deadlift is a great compound exercise that is an amazing whole body workout. It targets the major muscle groups in the legs (glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings) and also works your back, forearms, shoulders, and traps. Try implementing the deadlift into your training program and experience why it is the King of Exercises.
Here is the variation that we use with several of our clients:
1) Stand with feet hip width apart, slight bend in the knees
2) Place the kettlebell between the feet
3) To begin the downward motion the hips move back first, keep your back flat as you bend over, keep the slight bend in the knees
4) Bend over only as far as you can while keeping the back flat and the shoulders back (try not to round back and let the shoulders drop to the floor to get deeper
5) Keep the arms straight in the upward part of the lift and bring the hips all the way through back to the starting position
Welcome back to Day 30 of our "30 Days of Fitness" series. Every day for the month of November we will be posting an exercise that you can do with your loved one at home. Today's exercise is the Medicine Ball Side Slam.
1) Start in an athletic stance with medicine ball over head.
2) Rotate your body to one side and slam the ball to the floor.
3) Catch the rebounded ball and rotate to opposite side and repeat slam.
About the Author
Ryan Lockard, CSCS, CSPS is the head trainer and founder of Specialty Athletic Training. He a member of the Autism Society of Oregon's Board of Directors and is accredited by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and a Certified Special Populations Specialist. Ryan has worked with individuals with special needs since 2007 and has over 10,000 hours of 1:1 instruction working with individuals that have various special needs.