SNAP Sports, a Valencia-based non-profit organization, announced its partnership with Afterburn Fitness in Valencia to help train special needs athletes for hockey competition on Friday.
SNAP Sports, which stands for Special Needs Athletes and Peers, is a developmental, non-profit, sports-based program that provides individuals with disabilities the opportunity to engage in a variety of sports-based activities. The partnership with Afterburn Fitness will focus on helping train special needs athletes prepare for hockey competition as part of their “dry-land” training.
“Traditionally, hockey programs do dry-land training as part of their overall hockey training program,” said SNAP Sports Executive Director Dave Chase. “That was always very challenging for us to do as a special needs organization because to have our group … they need more of a gathering place where the families, athletes and parents can have a safe environment to operate in and there’s really no space to do that where we play hockey.”
After trying to find a space where the athletes could train for several years, Afterburn Fitness stepped up to donate its services, training time and equipment to help elevate the abilities of the special needs athletes.
Afterburn Fitness is a state-of-the-art fitness center that features some of the best equipment, facilities, as well as offering the industries’ leading trainers and coaches.
“They offered the opportunity for once a month for the athletes to gather at their gym where it’s a controlled, safe environment where families can gather and the athletes can work together as a team in a proper environment,” Chase said. “Afterburn Fitness, the guys over there just stepped up and decided they wanted to make it part of their program and they wanted to support this.”
Once a month on a Wednesday from Dec. 4 until April, the athletes will gather at Afterburn Fitness and have the opportunity to be challenged mentally and cognitively, according to Chase, in their “dry-land” portion of practice, while holding their regular practices the other three Wednesdays of the month.
Developing the fitness levels in special needs athletes has always been a challenge, but with the partnership, Chase and SNAP Sports hope that will be the first step on their way to changing and eventually carrying over into their daily lives.
“Physical activity for individuals with special needs is always a challenge because the level of inclusion can be really difficult in the general population in terms of exercise like that,” Chase said. “They have an opportunity where the trainers understand the level and ability of the athletes participating and can create healthy workout sessions that might carry over into their everyday lives.
“Granted they are only training with them once a month, but some of the things that they learn once they are there because they are using professional trainers might be fun and adventurous enough for the athletes to carry on every other time during the week when they are home. That’s what they are being encouraged to do, to carry those skills back home with them and continue with their daily exercise regimen.”