Coaching Strengthens Athlete’s Confidence

October 15, 2014

Twenty-three-year-old Becca Stelpflug was hooked on Special Olympics from the moment she shot her first three-pointer. Since she joined the organization 15 years ago, she’s competed in bowling, basketball, swimming, volleyball, snow shoeing and golf. But even the most die-hard athletes need a break now and then.

“I didn’t want to bowl one year,” she said. “When I told my mom, she suggested that I coach. I liked it so I asked if I could do [it again].”

The reward of watching her team succeed motivated her to secure certifications to teach basketball skills, athletics and bowling. 

“The best thing about coaching is to watch an athlete, who has tried for a long time to achieve a skill, finally do it and see the smile on their face,” she said.

Mentors who assisted Becca throughout her training taught her to practice patience, keep smiling and always stress each athlete’s strengths, all skills that also have made her a better competitor. 

“I understand the sports better now,” she said. “I think I have learned as much as the athletes.”

Becca continues to stay active in flag football, volleyball, golf, swimming and basketball. She earned her personal best time in aquatics at the 2011 Special Olympics World Games in Greece and helped the flag football team win the gold at the 2014 USA Games. She said that coaching and competing have a complimentary relationship and open your eyes to the nature of the game. 

“It is really hard to keep track of everyone else when you are playing the sport,” she said. “When you are coaching you have to be aware of what everybody is doing.”

Becca hopes to coach athletes competing internationally in the future. For more information on athlete coaching, please contact Jeanne Hrovat at (608) 442-5673 or


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