It is National Coaches Week and we want to celebrate grassroots coaches making a difference in the lives of athletes with intellectual disabilities across the province.
Makayla Watt is a new coach with Special Olympics Alberta-Edmonton and her journey started in 2019, when she began coaching the beginner swim program.
After seeing the enthusiasm and pride her friends took in coaching Special Olympics, Makayla was inspired to get involved.
Special Olympics was a perfect fit for Makayla who is passionate about healthy living and promoting and active lifestyle.
“Watching the Special Olympics athletes grow in their swimming abilities and in their self-confidence, and witnessing the support that they extend to each other along the way motivates me to continue working to be the best coach that I can be for them,” says Makayla.
While she is new to coaching with Special Olympics, Makayla has already taken on a huge leadership role as the head coach in her first year.
One of her biggest strengths is her commitment to athlete development, as she has implemented an impressive training program that compliments her passion of promoting healthy choices.
Her tenure has been short, but she has already experienced some unforgettable moments as a coach including her first swim meet in Red Deer.
“OUR ATHLETES WERE ABSOLUTE SUPERSTARS AND MANY PERSONAL BESTS WERE ACHIEVED, BUT EVEN COOLER THAN THAT WAS WATCHING THE OVERWHELMING POSITIVITY AND ENCOURAGEMENT THAT WAS EXTENDED TO EVERY SINGLE ATHLETE AT THE EVENT,” SAYS MAKAYLA. “THE CHEERING WAS EQUALLY WILD FOR THE FIRST ATHLETE OUT OF THE POOL, AND FOR THE LAST, AND I LOVED THAT EVERYONE WAS BEING CELEBRATED FOR THEIR UNIQUE SUCCESSES.”
Every week is National Coaches Week when you get to celebrate inspiring Special Olympics coaches who are there for our athletes.
The annual campaign is an opportunity to recognize coaches for the integral role they play by taking the time to say #ThanksCoach.
This year Makayla was recommended for her outstanding efforts as a coach, but more importantly the impact she has already on her athletes.
“I’m very proud that I get to be a part of an organization that spreads so much positivity, so it is very special to me to be recognized during National Coaches Week.” – Makayla Watt
Looking ahead, Makayla is excited for what is to come through coaching with Special Olympics and one of her future goals is to improve her own swim times to be able to compete with some of the athletes in the advanced swim program.
When asked why coaches should look to get involved, Makayla stated that “I often tell people that the Special Olympics is one of the happiest places on earth! It’s very inspiring to be a part of a team of athletes, coaches, and supporters who are focused on lifting each other up, and you’re guaranteed to have an absolute blast!”
Thank you to Makayla and the 650+ grassroots coaches across the province who continue to make a difference in the lives of our athletes.
Please join us throughout the week as we say thank you by sharing stories from some of these amazing coaches.
Share the hashtag #ThanksCoach and tag @SpecialOAlberta with a message to your coach to let them know how important they are!