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Online Coach Education

Coach and athlete on the slopes giving a thumbs up.
Course by Course Overview

If you are a coach or you are thinking about becoming a coach, read on to learn more about what courses we have and who each course is designed for.

Scroll to the end of the page to see which languages are available for each course.

Level 1 Sport Assistant

Summary: Level 1 Sport Assistant is the first step on the pathway to becoming a coach. It introduces you to the basics of Special Olympics Sport.

Who is this for? People interested in preparing to become a coach or supporting at sport training and not ready to commit to a full coaching role.

Key Learning: Basic knowledge of Special Olympics sport—the mission of Special Olympics, the difference between Special Olympics and Paralympics, Special Olympics sport and your role as a Sport Assistant.

Level 2 Coaching Assistant

Summary: Level 2 Coaching Assistant is the second step on the coaching pathway and will prepare you to begin taking on coaching duties under the supervision of a more experienced coach.

Who is this for? Those ready to take on coaching duties under the supervision of another coach. No coaching experience required.

Key Learning: Introduction to the principles of coaching and coaching Special Olympics Athletes. Topics covered include, your role, how-to-coach skills, athlete-centred coaching, Unified sports and Fitness.

Level 3 Coach

Summary: This course is one element of your education as a lead coach. All coaches at Level 3 should also complete sport specific coach certification. You should consult your local programme for more information about sport specific training.

Who is this for? Perfect for coaches who will be taking responsibility for leading training sessions for groups of athletes. Ideally the coach will work under the mentorship of a more experienced coach.

Key Learning: Coaches will learn about the coaching process and coaching skills, athlete development and coach planning, developing your coaching team, preparing you and your athletes for competition.

Unified Sports Coaching Course

Summary: Essential learning for any Special Olympics Unified Sports Coach. This course introduces Unified Sports and the 6 criteria for a successful Unified Sports programme.

Who is this for? All coaches, coaching assistants and volunteers working with a Unified Sports Team or programme. Note that this course is a requirement for coaches attending Special Olympics International sanctioned unified sports competitions.

Key Learning: The course will give you the tools to become a successful Unified Sports coach in your community or school. Key topics addressed include, the principle of meaningful involvement, establishing a Unified Sports team and preparing for training and competition.

Fitness for the Sports Coach

Summary: Physical fitness is central to the Special Olympics mission. This course will introduce coaches to fitness and will help them to plan purposefully and creatively to integrate fitness into sport training and to engage their athletes in fitness activities.

Who is this for? Special Olympics coaches at any level and in any sport.

Key Learning: The course will explore: Intellectual disability (ID), Health disparities and barriers to participation experienced by individuals with ID, integrating fitness into sports programmes and strategies to support communication, instruction and motivation.

Young Athletes Coach

Summary: Special Olympics Young Athletes coaches will be introduced to the Young Athletes programme, designed for children with and without intellectual disabilities age 2-7.

Who is this for? Ideal for anyone who will be supporting Young Athletes programmes at home, in the community or in school. No previous experience is needed.

Key Learning: An introduction to Special Olympics Young athletes and your role. You will learn about the 8 skill areas and the activities included in each area, along with implementation guidance whether you are conducting Young Athletes at home, at school or in the community.

Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection and Safeguarding

Summary: This course will educate you on how you can protect individuals and vulnerable populations from sexual abuse.

Who is this for? Whether you are a board member, staff member, coach, volunteer or you regularly engage with Special Olympics athletes—this course is for you.

Key Learning: You will receive expert advice and practical guidance for preventing sexual abuse. You will learn important skills and behaviors which are essential for protecting athletes.

Courses Coming Soon

Coaching Small Sided Games

Small sided games (SSG) can be a lot of fun as well as a great development tool when used well. Coaches will learn how to use SSG to support athlete learning and development.

Planning a Training Session

Planning training sessions helps us make best use of time and resources and to focus on our athletes during sessions. This course will give you with some basic knowledge and tools to use when planning your sessions to ensure your athletes get the most out of them.

Planning a Training Season

This course is ideal for you, if you want to learn a little more about how to intentionally structure the training season to provide the best opportunities for development for your athletes.

Understanding Sports Rules Article 1

Rules can be confusing—but they are important! Special Olympics Sports Rules Article 1 is the must know foundational rules document of SO Sport. This course will help you to understand the basic principles of Article 1 and how it applies for you and your athletes.

Languages Available for Each Course

Level 1 Sports AssistantLevel 2 Coaching AssistantLevel 3 CoachUnified Sports Coaching CourseFitness for Sports CoachesYoung Athlete Coach Course
Portuguese (B)****

Coaching Resources

Sports & Coaching

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 locally popular sports in the mix.

Coaching Special Olympics Athletes

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.

Sport Rules Article 1

The Official Special Olympics Sport Rules (“Sport Rules”) provide standards for Special Olympics training and competition. Sport Rules Article I provides general principles established by the Special Olympics Official General Rules (“General Rules”) that are not found in the sport-specific rules.
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