Down with Fitness

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Coaching Has to Adapt to the Athlete

I got an interesting email a few days ago about an athlete with Down Syndrome, competing at a pretty high level in sport, that wasn’t responding well to the coach’s approach. This was the kind of sport that does a lot of timed workouts; for example, x distance for y time with z recovery. The challenge was that the athlete is having difficulty with the concept of pace as prescribed by the coach.   This email brings up a few...

Coaching: There Are Truisms…

Over the years, I have moved into coaching special needs athletes. For me it began by having a child with special needs and wanting to help out in things that he is involved in, and it has progressed over the years. As I also teach special education, over time this has become a bigger and bigger coaching focus for me to the point where this is almost all that I coach nowadays. So, this blog is not going to be...

Down With Fitness: Scoot Your Way To Fitness

The scooter is a staple of many elementary school physical education programs.  It’s also a great exercise tool for children with Down Syndrome.  I like it because it develops balance and coordination, develops core endurance, requires the child to develop lower body strength and endurance, is a leveler because nobody is skilled on these, and accomplishes all this in a fun way.  For the kids I’ve found that this is always one of the most fun parts of a fitness...

Bodyweight Strength Training For Children With Down Syndrome

Bodyweight can be an effective resistance in many exercise programs.  This is especially true for children with Down syndrome.  Children with Down syndrome often like to move just like other children and this can be a fun way to encourage exercise.   Children do not do well with exercise programs that have a prescribed number of sets and repetitions.  As an adult, I may do three sets of thirty crunches but children don’t do well with this kind of approach...

Speed And Agility Drills For Children With Down Syndrome

I use a great deal of speed and agility training with children who have Down Syndrome.  This training has a number of benefits for this population.  First, it strengthens the child’s entire body.  They have to develop trunk strength and endurance to hold the positions, their lower body has to become stronger to perform the exercise, and they have to learn to use their arms.  Second, it develops speed and power.  These are qualities that individuals with Down Syndrome typically...