About Our Coaches
Coaches play a unique and indispensable role in Special Olympics around the world. Coaches provide the sports skills and spirit that define a true athlete. In addition, coaches are role models and character builders. Coaches give Special Olympics athletes the most immediate awareness of their own worth, ability, courage and capacity to grow and improve.
Special Olympics coaches often find that the personal rewards received are equal to or even outweigh the benefits they offer the athletes. Special Olympics coaches have a unique opportunity to work with athletes in competitive situations to assist in their training for life.
Requirements to Coach Special Olympics
- You must be at least 16 years old. In addition, no Coach/Chaperone under the age of 18 should be solely responsible for the supervision of athletes at any time.
- Coaches are Class A volunteers.
- All coaches must become certified
- Head Coaches and Heads of Delegation (HODs) must be Level 2 certified.
- Coaches must re-certify every three years.
To get involved with Special Olympics as a coach, contact Chad VanderPoel.
As a Special Olympics coach there are many resources available to you. Along with coaches education curriculum these sports essentials will help you be the best coach for the athletes as possible, ranging from sports guides to training guides. Sports Essentials resources
Here are some of the specific resources available:
- Development Models
- Athlete Centered Coaching Guide
- Quick Reference Coaching Guide
- Coaching Special Olympics Athletes Videos
- Sport Science Info Pack
- Sport Science Injury Prevention
- Sport Science Psychology
- All Sports Quizzes
- Sports Guides
- Learn about being a Special Olympics Coach videos
- Unified Sports Fact Sheet
- Basketball Coaching Guide
- Softball Coaching Guide
- Bocce Coaching Guide
- Athletics Coaching Guide
Unified Sports Resources:
Coaches Code of Conduct
Special Olympics is committed to the highest ideals of sport and expects all coaches to honor sport and Special Olympics. All Special Olympics coaches agree to observe the following code:
Respect for Others
- I will respect the rights, dignity and worth of athletes, coaches, other volunteers, friends and spectators in Special Olympics.
- I will treat everyone equally regardless of sex, ethnic origin, religion or ability.
- I will be a positive role model for the athletes I coach.
Ensure a Positive Experience
- I will ensure that for each athlete I coach, the time spent with Special Olympics is a positive experience.
- I will respect the talent, developmental stage and goals of each athlete.
- I will ensure each athlete competes in events that challenge that athlete’s potential and are appropriate to that athlete’s ability.
- I will be fair, considerate and honest with athletes and communicate with athletes using simple, clear language.
- I will ensure that accurate scores are provided for entry of an athlete into any event.
- I will instruct each athlete to perform to the best of the athlete’s ability at all preliminary competition and finals competition in accordance with the Official Special Olympics Sports Rules.
Act Professionally and Take Responsibility for My Actions
- My language, manner, punctuality, preparation and presentation will demonstrate high standards.
- I will display control, respect, dignity and professionalism to all involved in the sport (athletes, coaches, opponents, officials, administrators, parents, spectators, media, etc.).
- I will encourage athletes to demonstrate the same qualities.
- I will not drink alcohol, smoke or take illegal drugs while representing Special Olympics at training sessions or during competition.
- I will refrain from any form of personal abuse towards athletes and others, including verbal, physical and emotional abuse.
- I will be alert to any form of abuse from other sources directed toward athletes in my care.
Quality Service to the Athletes
- I will seek continual improvement through performance evaluation and ongoing coach education.
- I will be knowledgeable about the Sports Rules and skills of the sport(s) I coach.
- I will provide a planned training program.
- I will keep copies of the medical, training and competition records for each athlete I coach.
- I will follow the Special Olympics, International Federation and National Federation/Governing Body rules for my sport(s).
Health and Safety of Athletes
- I will ensure that the equipment and facilities are safe to use.
- I will ensure that the equipment, rules, training and environment are appropriate for the age and ability of the athletes.
- I will review each athlete’s medical form and be aware of any limitations on that athlete’s participation noted on that form.
- I will encourage athletes to seek medical advice when required.
- I will maintain the same interest and support toward sick and injured athletes.
- I will allow further participation in training and competition only when appropriate.
- I understand that if I violate this Code of Conduct I will be subject to a range of consequences, up to and including being prohibited from coaching in Special Olympics.