Successes all around for 2011 Coach of the Year

By Erin Gallegos
February 8, 2012

Linda Charzuk is the local program coordinator for the SONM’s Albuquerque Gymnastics School (AGS) delegation and is the SONM Coach of the Year for 2011. When asked what makes her a successful Special Olympics coach she says, “I am not just a coach, but a friend.”

Linda was named Coach of the Year in August of 2011 at the Four Corners Invitational. As a coach for the AGS delegation, she coaches gymnastics, bowling, and bocce. Her delegation has between 50 and 75 athletes and most of the athletes play more then one sport.

When asked about her coaching style, Linda says that she is not a “hard-nosed” coach, but likes to inspire athletes through positive feedback. Because she coaches three very different sports, she adjusts her coaching style for each sport.

“I have to be more hands-on when coaching gymnastics,” Linda says, “but when I coach bocce, I usually just organize the athletes.”

Linda and the AGS delegation just participated in the 2012 NMAA Bowlathon at the end of January, an event in which they have been a part of for a few years now. Linda enjoys this tournament because bowling is a team sport rather than an individual sport, like gymnastics. This also provides an opportunity for her athletes to compete with other peers outside of Special Olympics.

“I like the team aspect of bowling,” Linda states, “I like all-for-one dynamic.”

Currently, Linda is preparing her athletes for the SONM Summer Games in mid-May. They have started practicing for the rhythmic program, which consists of dance routines on the floor. They will soon start practicing for bocce and for the artistic program, which consists of gymnastics competitions on equipment. About 50 athletes from the AGS delegation will participate in the Summer Games and Linda hopes that the games are a success for her athletes.

For more information about the Albuquerque Gymnastics School delegation and their upcoming events, please contact Linda Charzuk at (505) 293-9570 or charzuk51@hotmail.com.