Special Olympics athlete-coaches from SO Belgium (Tamara) and SO Germany (Andre) made their mark at the Unified Basketball Tournament held in Munich, Germany from 28 – 30 November. The tournament, sponsored by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), was held in celebration of European Basketball Week. Tamara and Andre started in the Special Olympics movement as athletes [become an athlete] and have grown to become Unified Basketball coaches in their Programs.
Andre and his co-coach, Felix, have been coaching together for 3 years. When asked about his coaching experience, Andre said, “You have to build confidence in the players—tell them that when it was a good game and they played well. It’s important to encourage your players.” Tamara and her co-coach, Valerie, led SO Belgium to victory at the Unified Basketball tournament in Munich! When asked about becoming a coach, Tamara said, “I wanted to become a coach because I had always looked up to my coach (Valerie) and other coaches, and I wondered how do they do all of this? They asked me to help them and then asked if I would like to train to become a coach, and thanks to their support, I was able to do it, and I became a real coach!”
Tamara and Andre are just two examples of the power of Special Olympics coaches [become a coach] and the impact they can have on athletes. Not only do coaches impact the athletes during practice or competition, they are helping guide athletes through life, supporting them and helping them grow as people. They are also a prime example of what it means to be Unified. Coaching opportunities are out there for the 1.7 million Unified athletes and partners competing across the globe. For more information on Special Olympics Coaching, please visit Learn.SpecialOlympics.org. Please visit www.SpecialOlympics.org/volunteer for other volunteer opportunities.