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Leadership & Skills Training

Athletes and Special Olympics representatives sitting around a table conversing.
The Leadership & Skills curriculum for Athlete Leadership is designed to provide athletes with leadership training as well as personal and professional development that they can apply to leadership roles in their Program, community and workplace.

The Core Modules

The core modules of the curriculum are designed to provide athletes with the basic knowledge about leadership and what athlete leadership looks like in Special Olympics and their local program.

Introduction to Athlete Leadership

In this module athletes learn about athlete leadership and begin to explore their skills and interests.
People sitting around the table with binders open in front of them doing work.

Understanding Leadership

This module takes athletes through the next step of discovering who they are as a leader and recognizing the value they bring as they continue their leadership journey.

Advanced Leadership Modules

The Advanced Leadership Skills section includes five modules that build on the basic skills covered in the Understanding Leadership module.
Athlete leaders will explore the importance of recognizing and managing emotions to build and maintain good relationships.
Athlete Leaders learn how to effectively interact with individuals and teams and influence others to follow their lead.
Athlete Leaders explore the importance of effective time management through establishing goals, prioritizing, and being purposeful in planning.
Athlete Leaders focus on leading engaging conversations, collecting input from peers, listening to feedback and summarizing the information.
Athlete Leaders learn about advocacy and how to become a Unified Leader.

Special Olympics Roles

The Special Olympics Roles modules are designed to provide athletes with an overview of what to expect if they served in one of these leadership roles.

Personal and Professional Development handbooks

The Personal and Professional Development handbooks offer athletes an opportunity to learn new skills on their own that start easier and get progressively more difficult with each lesson. There are 5 different topics with 3 lessons within each topic.


  • Starting conversations
  • Appropriate conversations
  • Active Listening
  • Letter: DOCXPDF

Handling Disappointment

  • Emotions and safe actions
  • Reacting to disappointment
  • Accepting yourself
  • Letter: DOCXPDF

Setting Goals

  • Goal-setting basics
  • SMART goals
  • Overcoming obstacles
  • Letter: DOCXPDF

Healthy Relationships

  • Understanding relationships
  • Boundaries
  • Dealing with conflict
  • Letter: DOCXPDF


  • Discovering yourself
  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • Self-advocacy
  • Letter: DOCXPDF
We also have e-learning courses available, visit our learning platform SO Learn and continue training.
To be a good mentor to an athlete leader, you must understand what Athlete Leadership is and build skills to be successful in the role. You will also learn how to establish inclusive behaviors and set the athlete leader up for success.

Leadership & Skills Training Translations