Sports Essentials

Athlete Development Model

The Special Olympics Athlete Development Model (ADM) is a support plan designed to empower each of our athletes. The model promotes motor and skill development as well as health and fitness, while preparing athletes for competition at all levels.

The ADM is based on a progression from sport fundamentals to learning to train to training to compete. The ADM recognizes that not all athletes will move through the stages at the same pace and allows athletes to train at a level that works for them.

2019 X-Games snowboarder coming to a stop.
2019 X-Games Aspen Snowboarding

ADM OVERVIEW COLLECTION

This a collection of resources that act as an overview to the athlete development model.

FUNDAMENTALS

  • Sports Guides, Rules and Information: For all of our recognized and official sports, find coaching guides, development models, photos and videos and other related materials. You can also find information on “Other Sports” (locally popular sports which are not official Summer or Winter sports) at the end of this page.
  • Health: Get all the forms, information, tools, tips and research you need to run, promote and grow one or more Healthy Athletes disciplines and Healthy Communities.

ADM OVERVIEW

VIDEOS

  • Sports Teaches Us: Special Olympics is a sports organization, but it's also far more. Through a variety of innovative programs and the involvement of passionate volunteers, Special Olympics transforms lives.
  • Overview of the Athlete Development Model (video): English | Arabic | Chinese | French | Russian | Spanish

FUNDAMENTALS STAGE

The focus is on the basics of motor development and fundamentals of sports skills, building a foundation of health, fitness and nutrition habits.

LEARNING TO TRAIN STAGE

Intent to convert skills learned in the Fundamental stage into sports specific skills, within multiple sport settings, focusing on learning to train.

TRAINING TO COMPETE STAGE

The athlete narrows their training to focus on one or two sports and becomes comfortable with all aspects of competition preparation.

RECREATION STAGE

The athlete continues to participate in sports, have fun and maintain a healthy lifestyle.