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SOEA Special Education Coach Shares their experience as a coach with Special Olympics / 特奥东亚区特殊教育学校的教练分享特奥教练经验

This interview is available in both Chinese and English (below).
Coach Peng Shaojian standing with three athletes showing off their medals.

This interview is available in both Chinese and English (below).


Coach Pen Shaojin - 中国广州市越秀区启智学校 彭少健

1. 你为什么决定成为一名教练/特教老师?

2. 你为什么要成为一名特教老师/执教你所从事的运动?你喜欢这项工作/运动的什么?

3. 您每周指导您的学生/团队/运动员多少次?
1-2次,每次90分钟,分别是周六上午9:00 – 10:30及周三下午14:30 – 16:00

4. 为什么体育对你和你执教的运动员很重要?

5. 做为一名教练,在特奥的活动中,你对自己有什么了解?

6. 您能否举例说明您的学生/运动员的社交和情绪健康(自信、社会包容、压力管理)如何因您的训练而得到改善?

7. 你是如何在运动场外支持你的学生/队员融入和促进社会包容的?

8. 请描述你是如何支持你的学生/运动员在训练内外遵循健康和积极的生活方式的?

9. 在你的执教生涯中,你的执教理念发生了怎样的变化?或者从你开始参与特奥活动以来?


Special Olympics East Asia coach, Peng Shaojian, details his experience of being a coach at a special education school in China, sharing how by becoming a better coach himself, he can be better equipped to help the athletes and students he coaches.

Coach Peng Shaojian - Yuexiu Special Education School in Guangzhou, China

1. Why did you decide you wanted to be a coach?
I love these kids and I love teaching.

2. Why do you coach the sport that you do? What do you like about this sport?
I have been keen on sports since childhood, especially playing football, which makes me feel happy. This job, helping these kids grow up, makes me feel very meaningful.

3. How many times per week do you coach your team/athlete?
Twice a week, about 90 minutes each time. 9:00 – 10:30 Saturday morning and 14:30 – 16:00 Wednesday afternoon.

4. Why is sport important to you and the athletes you coach?
Firstly, sports can produce dopamine and make people feel happy. Secondly, coaching athletes can help them grow, and at the same time, I feel a great sense of accomplishment, and this makes me very happy.

5. What have you learned about yourself as a coach, working in Special Olympics?
First, we must sincerely accept and tolerate the characteristics of each athlete/student. Secondly, we must master and continue to learn teaching skills, improve the professional knowledge of Special Olympic sports, and finally integrate them and Unified partners, as well as ourselves into a group, and grow together on the basis of happiness.

6. Can you give an example of how your athletes have improved their ability to work with others/teamwork, at home training habits, leadership skills, etc. and how you have encouraged them to be accountable for their own performances and training?
During the training, students should not only improve their sports skills, but also improve their self-confidence and social communication skills. For example, if the newly arrived students are shy or timid, I will arrange for the captain to take them to train together more often to promote communication. In addition, during the training, I will organize more interesting activities to get all participants to know each other and break the ice. In addition, during training or during games, no matter winning or losing, everyone gives each other high fives, pat on the shoulder and encouragement.

7. Describe how you have supported your athletes to follow a healthy and active lifestyle in or outside of practice?
During training breaks or preparation, I would consult or learn about their recent status when I met them and give some advice and encouragement when they encountered difficulties. If necessary, I will take the initiative to communicate with his parents. After each training, we will arrange some time for everyone to share some interesting things and how they are doing recently. Through mutual trust and communication, we can enhance social inclusion and solve social or work difficulties.

8. Describe how you have supported your athletes to follow a healthy and active lifestyle in or outside of practice?
If necessary, we will find out whether the student is following a healthy and active life based on the state of training. If it is not good, we will try to stop his training program and let him understand the importance of following a healthy and active life. In addition, if necessary, we will try to listen to his statement and consult his caregivers to find out his health state.

9. How has your coaching philosophy changed over your coaching career? Or since you started coaching in Special Olympics?
After I graduated from university in August 2008, I began to participate in the coaching of Special Olympics. In the early days, I did not have a deep understanding of the core concept in Special Olympics, and only focused on whether the team could achieve good results (championship, gold medal). However, starting in August 2010, in the third year of teaching, I began to feel that students' social communication, self-confidence, friendship building, and self-solving ability were more important than results. Because they may become the champion for once, but life, growth, and challenges compose their daily life. Combined with the deep understanding of the Special Olympics movement, my understanding of Special Olympics activities and coaching has changed a lot, and I am grateful for having many learning opportunities to help my students grow.

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