Our Coaches

Floor hockey players in South Africa gather round their coach for a strategy session before a tournament held near Johannesburg. Photo by Will Schermerhorn

Was there a mentor, teacher or coach who made a difference in your life? The one who gave you the courage and determination to strive to be your best? The one who helped shape both your performance and your character? You can be that important person in someone else’s life.

More Than a Coach

Coaches teach the skills and spirit that define a true athlete. Coaches are role models and character-builders.

Special Olympics coaches go even further -- they help athletes with intellectual disabilities find their own strengths and abilities. They also show them how to build upon those strengths and improve every day.

As a Special Olympics coach, you bring enthusiasm, commitment and a positive attitude to each practice, event and competition. You will enrich the lives of our athletes in many life-changing ways. The skills and confidence an athlete learns through sports have a long and lasting effect. They can help an athlete succeed in school or even find a job.

Coaches also get a lot in return. They get to know athletes who inspire -- athletes who are brave and determined, despite the odds against them.  Coaches become more than teachers, mentors and role models -- they are seen as leaders in the community.  

About Intellectual Disability

Special Olympics is a global movement of people who want to improve the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. But what are intellectual disabilities? Learn More

Coaching Excellence

Special Olympics is committed to Coaching Excellence -- because it benefits both coaches and athletes at the same time. In a supportive learning environment, coaches work to enhance athletes’ sport techniques, tactics and fitness.

One of our top Coaching Excellence goals calls for ongoing coaches’ education; this includes partnering with sports organizations to provide the highest and most up-to-date level of coaching knowledge. Coaching Excellence education helps our coaches better recognize each athlete’s potential. It also comes into play as we increase training and competition opportunities so that each athlete can reach -- or exceed -- their personal best.

As you can see, the focus and commitment is on the athletes. In this way, appropriate training helps coaches provide the best opportunities and experiences for athletes -- at every developmental level -- to reach their maximum potential.

Our coaches aim high and take pride in their athletes' achievements, which can often be life-changing moments. In the words of Annette Lynch, senior manager of Sports Partnerships, Special Olympics North America: “If better is possible, good is not enough.”


Special Olympics athletes with coach in a huddle.

Bringing Out the Best. Special Olympics coaches play an important role in the lives of Special Olympics athletes. 

Coaches Who Inspire -- and Are Inspired

Our coaches give Special Olympics athletes the chance to reach his or her potential --and find their dreams. At the same time, something special can happen.

For Mike Cohen, the surprise came after he began coaching young men with intellectual disabilities who loved basketball. With his training and guidance, the team grew in skill and confidence. They soon began competing against other Special Olympics teams throughout Florida. Soon, their classmates and neighborhood began to follow their games. For the first time, the young men were valued and praised in their community.

Coach Cohen expected Special Olympics to give purpose to these young men. But he didn’t expect to be transformed himself – by their courage and commitment. He also knew he had made a real difference in their lives. Now he is a key player in his local Special Olympics Program. He encourages everyone he knows to get involved.


Stories About Our Coaches


March 05, 2015 | North America: Ohio

The Angel That Doesn't Wear Any Wings

By Bailee Jesse
March 05, 2015 | North America: South Dakota

Spreading the Word to End the Word at Hillcrest Elementary

By Alec Johnson

Students from Hillcrest Elementary took the pledge throughout the entire day on Wednesday, March 4, 2014. This is a video from the day.View Story Students from Hillcrest Elementary took the pledge throughout the entire day on Wednesday, March 4, 2014. This is a video from the day.

About Alec Johnson:I am a student teacher in Mrs. Gehring's 2nd grade classroom at Hillcrest Elementary. I graduate from DSU in May 2015. I volunteer coach for Special Olympics in Brookings, SD.
Share
View less ▲

March 05, 2015 | North America: Kansas

STOP THE R-WORD

By Bill Mondt III

I have a younger sister who has Downs. I have lost friends, gotten into fights, walked out of classes, been asked to leave classes just because of of others using that word.View Story I have a younger sister who has Downs. I have lost friends, gotten into fights, walked out of classes, been asked to leave classes just because of of others using that word. I have pointed out that I am not allowed in society that I cannot use other slurs in referring to others, and this word is the same.Even with all the trouble I have had because my sister is not "normal", I would not change anything about her. Using the r-word just shows ignorance.

About Bill Mondt III:Brother to a disabled sister and volunteer and coach for Special Olympics for 29 years.
Share
View less ▲

March 04, 2015 | North America: Utah

Karston ' Story

By Alex Fox

My son is a future member of Jimmy's Jaguars. We are a community based team in the Salt Lake Valley. I don't want my son or any of my athletes talked down to and treated less than. Join us in getting rid of this word!View Story My son is a future member of Jimmy's Jaguars. We are a community based team in the Salt Lake Valley. I don't want my son or any of my athletes talked down to and treated less than. Join us in getting rid of this word!

About Alex Fox:I am the head coach of Jimmy's Jaguars and board member for Special Olympics Utah. I represent TD Ameritrade and all of their support for this great organization.
Share
View less ▲

February 17, 2015 | North America: Jamaica

Jamaica Unified Floorball on Show

By Victor L Brown SOJ Floorball Coordinator

European Selects and Maroons Unified FC

On February 7, 2015 Special Olympics Jamaica held a Unified Sports Day under which our Maroons Floorball programme was given the opportunity to show onlookers what the Sport is all about at high skill level.View Story On February 7, 2015 Special Olympics Jamaica held a Unified Sports Day under which our Maroons Floorball programme was given the opportunity to show onlookers what the Sport is all about at high skill level. Thanks to the Jamaica Floorball Association who had arranged for some European resources to come to Jamaica (for six months) on a bilingual exchange programme which included coaching Floorball in schools and to the existing clubs, we have been able to take advantage of having these resources readily available and have taken very opportunity to work with them. “This interaction is in-keeping with the SO thrust for Inclusion in Sports and through the Maroons we also meet the Unified Sports thrust.” The match on February 7th was very entertaining, with the Maroons jumping into a 2 nil lead by mid-way in the first period. The Europeans came back with a goal before the end of the period. After some stubborn resistance from the Maroons, the Europeans netted twice in the second period and finished off the match with three more goals in the third. “These match interactions, regardless of the results, serve to provide focus training points to address the shortfalls in team and individual court play and overall skills. At the end of every interaction (regular training or match), the coaching team comes together to analyse what took place and design specific drills for the next training session. It is important that this coaching activity takes place so that the slow uphill skills enhancement journey can be well organized and the appropriate thinking can go into our training plans.” We take this opportunity to thank our European friends for becoming a part of the Global Inclusion Thrust and for sharing with us their skills. We look forward to Floorball being an official Sport at the 2017 Winter Games and are preparing athletes to play the traditional SO three-on-three version of the Sport

About Victor L Brown SOJ Floorball Coordinator:I've been coordinating Special Olympics Jamaica Floorball since 2011
Share
View less ▲

February 13, 2015 | North America: North Carolina

Unified Sports Pair Shines on Ice

By Tappie Dellinger

Unified Sports Skating Pair Ashley Tanner and Cassidy Smith performing at the Smuckers' Skating Spectacular

At the end of January, a Special Olympics North Carolina Unified Sports ice skating pair from Mecklenburg County got the once –in –a-lifetime honor to perform in the 2015 Smuckers’ Skating Spectacular in Greensboro.View Story At the end of January, a Special Olympics North Carolina Unified Sports ice skating pair from Mecklenburg County got the once –in –a-lifetime honor to perform in the 2015 Smuckers’ Skating Spectacular in Greensboro along with many of the champions and medalists from the 2015 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Special Olympics Mecklenburg County athlete Ashley Tanner, 18, has been partnered with Cassidy Smith, 19, for less than a year as a Unified sports pair. The pair train under Coach Tappie Dellinger at Extreme Ice Center in Indian Trail, NC. The Unified Sports pair skated to a medley of Michael Jackson’s hit songs. Tanner attends Butler High School in Matthews and Smith is a freshman at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte. They both entered this event nervous but excited.

About Tappie Dellinger:Tappie Dellinger - I am the Coach of this Unified Sports pair and am so blessed they are in my life! They are a true inspiration!
Share
View less ▲

February 13, 2015 | North America: Hawaii

FARRINGTON HIGH SCHOOL KALIHI, HAWAII

By Evelyn Utai

Our Friends Program on our bowling field trip.

We are going on our third year promoting the R-Word Campaign and this year we are doing it big. We are the Farrington Governors (GOVS).View Story We are going on our third year promoting the R-Word Campaign and this year we are doing it big. We are the Farrington Governors (GOVS). This year we are encouraging one more GOV to take the pledge not only by signing the banner, but actually logging in online and making the numbers grow. Please join us as a school and community we encourage #ONEMOREGOV to take that pledge to end the R-Word.

About Evelyn Utai:Aloha, my name is Evelyn Uta'i and I am an education assistant at Farrington High School. At Farrington High School we are taking the pledge to the end the R-Word.
Share
View less ▲


Top Searches

Need to find it fast?

*

Special Olympics - Become a Fan