Special Olympics Maryland has been looking for ways to engage athletes virtually since the COVID-19 pandemic began. In March, they started monthly “Sports Talks” highlighting a different sport each time as part of their virtual movement. The goal was to keep athletes active and engaged during time at home while also providing them with tools to succeed in sport as soon as they were able to return to play.
Gaby Dabrowski, a member of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), joined April’s virtual call with athletes and shared information about the pre-match routines and workouts she’s been doing at home.
In August, Tamira Paszek, a WTA player from Austria, joined for the first time. Athletes asked her questions about her skills and for tips on how to improve their tennis skills their own. Paszek talked to about 20 athletes about persevering through challenges reminding them to “fight for your dreams and believe in yourself.”
Paszek also said the best advice she could give to coaches is to really understand the needs of their athletes. For her, hearing a joke from her coach kept her loose and helped her get “back in the zone.”
There are plans to invite more WTA players onto future calls with a special focus on the mindset needed for doubles players to improve teamwork, as well as improvement on the fundamentals of the sport. Be on the lookout for more Sports Talks with Special Olympics virtual movement here.