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Citizen's View: Special Olympics needs golf coaches

Lake Oswego Review - 4/12/2018

Approximately 20 athletes with intellectual or developmental disabilities will practice two hours weekly at the Muni

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Athletes, coaches and other volunteers are excited for the upcoming Special Olympics golf season, which commences at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 28, at the Lake Oswego Municipal Golf Course.

Approximately 20 athletes with intellectual or developmental disabilities will practice two hours weekly at the Muni and then compete in regional tournaments and the state competition at Oregon State University in July. The Special Olympics golf program has been held at the Muni for the past several years and runs concurrently at other golf courses throughout Oregon, with more than 100 participating athletes.

Athletes practice individual skills on the driving range, learning the basics of golf. They hit woods and irons, pitch/chip shots and putts, which are all scored. Once a certain skill level is obtained, the athletes can join people without intellectual disabilities (known as Unified Partners) to compete together, playing aside each other as a team and hitting alternate shots for either nine- or 18-hole practice rounds and competitions.

"Each year, we see our athletes improving their skills, and they are always anxious to learn while having fun," says longtime Special Olympics coach Josh Crane, "and I find the coaching experience quite rewarding."

Coaches are a critical component for all Special Olympics sports. They serve as role models, providing athletes with awareness of their worth, ability and capacity to grow and improve. A Special Olympics coach is a mentor and teacher who helps build a strong foundation for athletes to gain courage, sportsmanship and determination to do their best while having an enjoyable experience.

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During the upcoming season, we are hoping to recruit new coaches who will allow more individual in-depth training for our athletes, both in skills and Unified Partners team play. Each are in very high demand. Coaches are needed to deliver quality training, guidance and knowledge and teach basic golf technique to the athletes.

Special Olympics coaches only need to have a basic knowledge of the game and a strong sense of compassion to help others. The amazing bond between coaches and athletes is evidenced nowhere more than within Special Olympics. Coaching is a great way to give back to the community and make a lifelong impact on the lives of our athletes.

All volunteers must complete a short online certification program. To learn more about

getting involved, contact Volunteer Coordinator Jana Kreilich at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Coach Josh Crane at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or 503-341-1893; or me, Coach Gayland Rogers, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or 503-793-8160.

Gayland Rogers is a retired businessman, 45-year resident of Lake Oswego and a Special Olympics volunteer golf coach.

 
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