Team Alberta Softball Team: Bring on Vancouver 2014!
14 athletes from Edmonton and Red Deer will represent the province of Alberta in the sport of softball from July 8 to 12, as they compete in Vancouver, B.C. at the 2014 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games.
“We officially began our journey on Sept. 7, 2013 with a Softball Team kick-off,” says Lynell Bird, Team Alberta softball team coach. “This was an opportunity to visualize the road ahead of us. As with any journey there are twists, turns, hills to climb, and a destination to be reached.”
The Team Alberta softball team made a commitment to be “the best we can be.” All the coaches and athletes have been motivating every athlete to follow through on this promise. Training coaches have set up aggressive training regiments for the players and coaches with a training twice a week where the past five months have been dedicated to improving fitness and skills. Training has been broken in three parts: team fitness, team skills and individual fitness.
In the fall, Spark Sport Conditioning in Edmonton offered to train our team members, using the cross-fit training methods to push the athletes to the brink each week. Training is designed to increase strength and stamina incrementally, leading to peak fitness for the National Games.
Through practices and repetition, our athletes improve their softball skills along with position specific duties. The athletes are involved in dry land training, practicing various situations, and repetitive skills. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) provided our team with access to their Edmonton Headquarter gym for dry land training. As spring approaches, the team will continue to improve their skills by joining a fun league in Edmonton and in the summer our coaches are planning several games against the University of Alberta Golden Bear Football Team, University of Alberta Panda hockey team and other volunteers.
The athletes have been using the Team Alberta Training Manual as their fitness bible- recording daily workouts and healthy habits. Outside of team practices, athletes continue to train on their own on a daily basis. They use their Team Alberta Training Manual to capture this, and their manuals are signed off by our training coaches at every practice. As continued motivation, coach Tina Copp challenged the team to “The Road to Vancouver 2014″ challenge. Each training coach and athlete are recording hours of walk/run/ski/bike which are translated in kilometres. To date, the team has passed Jasper and are well on their way through the Rockies.
“The athletes have made amazing strides in fitness. Several of our athletes could not do a single push-up in September and are now able to do in excess of 12 in a row,” says Lynnell Bird.
“We inspire our athletes by giving them a challenge, supporting them as they strive to reach their personal goals, and celebrating with them every step of the way. We’ve tracked times that it takes them to complete obstacle courses. We’ve had indoor mini-tournaments (wiffle ball & racquet ball). We give constructive feedback, so that each athlete continues to improve. We believe in them! We have fun!”