Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Coaching Special Olympics Athletes

Coach and athlete interacting and smiling with one another.
Special Olympics Coaches are the heartbeat of our movement. Without coaches, we have no sports programmes for the more than 6 million Special Olympics Athletes and Unified Partners who train and compete every day, all around the world.

We know that you, the coaches, always strive to provide the best possible opportunities for your athletes and on this page we share all the resources, tools and guides which have been created to support you in your vital role.

Code of Conduct for Coaches

Special Olympics is committed to the highest ideals of sport and expects all coaches to honor sport and Special Olympics.
2 Min Read

Coaching Guides

Over half a million people around the world are engaged as Special Olympics Coaches. These short guides will help support you as you coach Special Olympics athletes. The short guides on this page are suitable for coaches of all sports, while Sport Specific Coaching Guides can be found here. These guides contain sport technical and tactic guidance for coaches and many include sample training sessions, season plans and lots of great coaching tips and strategies!

Online Learning

The Special Olympics Online Learning Portal hosts a number of coaching courses which are available in multiple languages and free of charge.

Coaching Special Olympic Athletes

Human Kinetics offers online courses for Special Olympics North America (SONA) coaches seeking level-one certification as well as for veteran coaches seeking continuing education.

Special Olympics Online Learning Portal

The online learning portal provide coaches and volunteers in Special Olympics Thailand the resources to gain knowledge with convenience and at each individual pace.

Learn More about the Online Learning Portal

This new resource provides educational, interactive courses for coaches, volunteers, athletes, and health professionals.
1 Min Read
Additional courses available outside the Special Olympics Online Learning Portal.

The Coach & Competition Series

Part 1 - Before Competition (PDF)

When getting ready for competition, your athletes' performance may improve. These changes can be even greater when training is more specific and intense. As a coach you have many duties towards your athletes. One of the most important is to give them the best chance to succeed. Success does not need to mean a gold medal. Success is a chance to perform to the best of their ability.

Part 2 - At Competition (PDF)

Athletes depend on their coach to ensure that they know what to expect at a competition. Here are some of the elements of competition you should understand in order to help prepare your athletes. If you are unsure about any of these areas, you should contact your local programme.

Learn About Coaching Videos

Sport 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.

My Athletes Teach Me - Coach Vicky Matarazzo USA

Vicky Matarazzo talks about the Special Olympics athletes she’s coached for 17 years and how their example inspired her after she was diagnosed with cancer. DOWNLOAD MP4 (28.6 MB)

A Day in the Life of a Unified Sports Football Coach

Award-winning video showing what it's like to be a Unified Sports football coach during a big Special Olympics Games. 10 minutes. DOWNLOAD (86.3 MB) MP4

A Day in the Life of an Alpine Skiing Coach

Join Cristoph Scheurer, Special Olympics Alpine Skiing coach for Team Germany and member of the Alpine Skiing Sport Resource Team, as he takes you through a "day in the life" of an alpine skiing coach at World Winter Games. DOWNLOAD (128 MB) MP4

Unified Sports Volleyball Coaching Video

This video is designed for use in coach education seminars with specific chapter headings, and it can also be used for general viewing. It's 8:29 in length.

Unified Sports Models

An in-depth overview of the Unified Sports competitive, player development and recreational models. The video is 8:11 minutes long.

Basketball Player Grading

This video covers how to assess the ability of basketball players. This "grading" video is a useful tool to assess and keep track of each player's improvement over time. DOWNLOAD MP4