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Partnering With Coaches To Help Intellectually Disabled Athletes

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Annette Lynch (@SpecialOlympics) is a member of the PCA National Advisory Board and Senior Manager of Coaching Excellence & Sport Education for the Special Olympics North America (SONA). Lynch has previously served as a player on the USA Women’s Basketball Team, a basketball director for Special Olympics, Inc., Vice President of Special Olympics Maryland, Director of Education and Membership Services for the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA), and a coach for nearly every level of sport.

Here, Lynch explains the role of parents of athletes who have intellectual disabilities. It is important that parents attend practices and games to show support for their children and to work closely with coaches to help the athletes feel supported. This is also a good way for the parents to gain confidence in the coach's ability to work alone with the athletes when parents cannot attend.

Additionally, parents can reinforce the coach's messages at home, using the website to further explore rules of various sports and to watch instructional videos that deliver needed repetition of information about skills.