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Development Model for Coaches and Athletes

Our coaches are the driving force that makes Special Olympics thrive. Through excellent coaching, we unlock success for all our athletes worldwide whether their goal is fitness, fun, or top performance. Special Olympics has developed guidelines for developing our coaches and our athletes to reach their goals.

Building a Stronger Coaching Fondation

With so many ways for coaches and athletes to build skills, grow in experience and find satisfaction in sport, Special Olympics feels it is important to have clear plans for both. Our coaches and our athletes with intellectual disabilities come from a variety of backgrounds, have a wide range of skills and experience, and compete with varying levels of ability.

Special Olympics has established separate but related development models for our coaches and athletes. Both are described in detail below.

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.

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Coach Development Model

The Coach Development Model (CDM) provides a framework for Special Olympics Programs to certify coaches and recognizes specific coach qualifications. Following the CDM, Programs recruit and train coaches to fit into the Athlete Development Model. Coaches trained under the CDM support a lifelong sports experience for our Special Olympics athletes along their different sports development paths.

The Coach Development Model also offers guidance and new ideas on how best to work with local sports governing bodies to train and certify coaches. The CDM delivers optimum sports experiences to athletes at all levels and trains coaches to provide excellent instruction, advice, and motivation.
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