Ongoing coaches education is the most significant factor in the
improved training of athletes. The goals of Special Olympics’ Coaches
Education program are:
- To provide every coach working in a sport with a basic knowledge of
that sport (events, rules, basic skills and how to teach those skills).
- To provide all coaches with knowledge about Special Olympics, its history, philosophy and goals.
- To provide all coaches with knowledge about persons with intellectual disabilities and the current trends in this field.
- To provide coaches with information on sports injury, risk management and providing a safe environment.
- To provide a practical experience coaching Special Olympics
athletes, in order to put into practice information provided by the
Coaches Education Program.
- To provide coaches with general knowledge about the art and science of coaching sports.
Special Olympics provides our volunteer coaches with the basic
principles, techniques and tools to effectively coach Special Olympics
athletes. Coaches education is necessary and mandatory. Our athletes
deserve the most knowledgeable coaches who are trained, who can access
sport-specific coaching guides and rules, who provide the safest
environment in which to train and compete and who receive ongoing
education. Click below for resources and online courses that support
Special Olympics coaching education.
Becoming a Certified Coach
Special Olympics’ Coaches Certification program is designed to ensure
that all persons involved with the coaching of Special Olympics
athletes have a minimum base of knowledge about the sport(s) they coach.
- For all state level events, including Sectional Tournaments, each
County program is required to have a minimum of one sports specific
certified coach present for each sport in which the county is
- Coaches new to Special Olympics must take part in the certification process within one year of beginning coaching.
- Coaches who are currently certified have to renew their sports
specific certification every 3 years, either by taking a more advanced
level of Special Olympics coaches training, or by taking an approved
non-Special Olympics course.
Steps to Certification
- Schedule a time for you to attend a General Orientation training
(requisite for all coaches). This brief training will give you an
overview of Special Olympics and will provide you with information you
will need in your role as a coach.
- Complete a Class A Volunteer Form.
For communication purposes and for the safety of our athletes, every
coach must be a registered Class A Volunteer and undergo a criminal
background screening. You will not be able to commence any coaching
activities until you have been deemed an approved Class A Volunteer by
Special Olympics Florida.
- While waiting for your Class A Volunteer application to be processed, take Special Olympics’ requisite on-line Protective Behaviors training
(your background screening will not be processed until we are notified
by Special Olympics that you have successfully completed this on-line
training). This is so athletes and volunteers alike can help create a
safe and healthy atmosphere for everyone involved.
- Then be sure you take the Concussion Course (mandatory for certification)
- Attend an approved second course covering a specific sport, aspects
of coaching individuals with intellectual disabilities, or other
- Complete the Special Olympics Application for Sports Training Certification and submit it to the local Special Olympics program.
Coaching Excellence Progression
Our coaches are at the center of our sports education programs and truly
have a profound impact on each and every Special Olympics Florida
athlete. By constantly striving to learn more, coaches will always be
able to increase the positive impact imparted upon our athletes. In an
effort to both recognize the remarkable dedication of our coaches and
also encourage continuing education among all Special Olympics Florida
coaches, we have instituted a Coaching Excellence Progression program.
This program allows coaches to continue their education and receive
various incentives based on this continued education. Learn more.
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 a code of conduct.
Special Olympics Coach Oath
“In the name of all coaches and in the spirit of sportsmanship, I promise that we will act professionally, respect others, and ensure a positive experience for all. I promise to provide quality sports and training opportunities in a safe environment for all athletes.”
Other Online Resources
At Special Olympics we love the thrill of the game and pushing our
limits to achieve a new personal best! Through divisioning Special
Olympics athletes get a fair and equal opportunity to compete regardless
of ability level, giving them the greatest chance of achieving success.
USTA Florida Section Foundation, a not-for-profit tennis association
that works toward the promotion and development of tennis as an
enjoyable, lifetime sport that contributes to good health, character and
responsible citizenship, are now official partners of Special Olympics
Florida. That means all counties with a registered tennis program are
eligible to receive adaptive tennis equipment. Apply today! Also fill out the Equipment Request Form and upload with your application.