February 01, 2017 | Updated: January 29, 2019

Barbara Kern has been involved with Special Olympics Texas longer than her daughter, Hillary, has participated as an athlete.

"This is a wonderful organization and it touches so many lives and so many different areas that you just can't get enough of it" Barbara said.

Barbara is a certified coach in nine SOTX sports, needless to say she has been a familiar face at Area 4 and Chapter-level competitions since 1999. This weekend she is coaching her athletes at the Volleyball Competition during Winter Games. 

Since her team started training for these Games more than eight weeks ago, Barbara has seen her athletes make great improvements.

"It's small steps, but each small step is such a great victory for each athlete," Barbara said.  "You have to look for the little things and make sure that they get the little things right before they move on, and it's repetition, repetition, repetition."

Coaches play the largest role in the success of athletes achieving success at these statewide competitions. Without them, opportunities do not exist for athletes to experience their abilities. As Special Olympics Texas continues to grow, more mentors are needed.

For those that may be hesitant about becoming a coach, Barbara has some advice:
"It's not about you, it's about the athlete. You have some talents that that athlete needs. Breaking down a skill is more important than knowing how to shoot a layup. You can always find someone who know more about the sport than you. They need someone to be their leader to get them to the place they need to be."

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