Special Olympics coaches inspire the greatness in each of our athletes by sharing their spirit and skills. In return, our athletes help them remember why they love the game.
Our volunteer coaches are both role models and character-builders for our athletes. They give Special Olympics athletes the most immediate awareness of their own worth, ability, courage and capacity to grow and improve.
Whether you are a new coach or you have been coaching for years, you might find these resources of some assistance.
Become a Coach
It's easy to be a Special Olympics coach.
Regardless of whether you've coached before, you can be the inspiration for Special Olympics athletes. We provide training in the sport, tips to help you coach your team, and a simple certification process that makes it easy for you to get started. Opportunities are also available for volunteers who are experienced in a particular sport, but haven't coached before. You can assist other coaches and provide instructional training at practices, camps and special events.
There are 21 sports to choose from and thousands of athletes who need a coach. More than 16,000 athletes from around the state benefit from participation in the program.
To learn more about coaching opportunities throughout Missouri, contact an area director.
Experience the rewards of coaching.
Special Olympics coaches get to experience the way sports should be. Our athletes are excited to play, respectful of players and officials, and devoted to their coaches. With a little encouragement from a coach like you, these exceptional athletes can do anything.
Steps to becoming a Special Olympics coach:
1. Complete the General Session.
2. Complete Principles of Coaching.
3. If you haven't already, you'll need to fill out a Class A Volunteer Form.
4. Complete a CPR/First Aid course through American Red Cross or other provider. Each year thereafter in order to remain up to date you may take the renewal course online at www.firstaidweb.com . Complete the quiz and then print out the last page with your scores, write your name at the top send it into your area office. We require that every coach retake the CPR/FA course every three years (for example if your certification expires in 1/09, you need to take a class course in 1/12).
5. You will be contacted by a Special Olympics representative to complete the process.
NEW ONLINE COACHES’ COURSES
Special Olympics is offering two break-through online education resources for its coaches, aimed at improving the quality and consistency of Special Olympics’ coaches training worldwide. Special Olympics partnered with two leading sport coaching education providers: American Sport Education Program (ASEP) and the National Federation of State High Schools (NFHS) to develop and deliver Special Olympics-customized online courses that meet entry-level certification requirements for Special Olympics coaches.
Through the ASEP-offered Coaching Special Olympics Athletes online course, coaches will develop a better understanding of how people with intellectual disabilities learn and how they participate in sports. The course offers an overview of the coaching principles and successful techniques involved in working with Special Olympics athletes, as well as practical ideas that can be used during coaching. This course requires a $16.95 one-year membership fee, which also grants you access to all other Special Olympics and non-Special Olympics courses within ASEP. Special Olympics does not receive funds from this fee.
The NFHS-offered Coaching Special Olympics Unified Sports®* course helps coaches understand and implement the most successful coaching strategies for this very special mix of teammates. The course features an introduction by former NFL quarterback, and Special Olympics supporter, Kurt Warner. *You will need to click the link, then create an account, then go back to the original link to take the course. This course is free. Please email Shaffer@somo.org after completing this course.
These courses represent much-needed web-based alternatives to traditional in-person trainings. Special Olympics PDF resources are referenced throughout the course, along with photos, audio, video, and narrated presentations.
Coaches' meetings are held periodically by your Area Director. Make sure you attend these to stay current on rules, changes to events, and other topics. These are often communicated via Coaches Connections or on our calendar. Contact your Area Director if you cannot find the next date for a coaches' meeting.
Rosters, scoresheets, and other documents are required to send athletes to competition. Go to our Sports Offered page and find documents by clicking the specific sport. Alternatively, you can find all our sports documents in the sports document library.
One of your responsibilities is to make sure every athlete has a completed physical and consent form BEFORE they even step onto the practice field or court. This is a safety and liability issue and is SOMO policy. You should always keep your athletes' physical forms on hand during practices, competitions, and when traveling.
A few suggestions to help you manage this task:
- Ask a parent to keep track of your physicals and when they are due to your area office.
- Get a student to create a spreadsheet for you to track your athletes' physicals and their expiration dates.
- Carry a file with you or make copies and keep a file in your trunk, just in case.
- If your athletes play for another agency during a different sport season, share your documents with the other
- coach(es) and request they do the same.
- Double check the physical form is filled out in entirety, so that it is not returned to you because of missing information.
Deadlines for 2014:
All NEW physicals will be due to SOMO HQ 8 weeks prior to the state event in which the athlete will compete. NO athlete shall practice without a valid physical.
Athlete physicals are valid for 3 years from the date they are signed by the examiner. Please note: area offices may adjust deadlines to be able to assure physicals are in the SOMO Headquarters by the above dates.
If you would like to have input on our policy regarding athlete physicals, please email them to email@example.com.
Over the past few years we have also moved over to photo identification for all athletes. We have made great progress in this area, and we appreciate your patience with us as we make this transition. The majority of athletes have a photo ID, but any current athletes who do not have an ID need to submit a digital photograph as soon as possible. Contact your Area Director for details on how to do this. Any new athlete MUST submit a digital photograph at the same time they send in their physical and consent form.
Photo IDs must be worn at all SOMO State events (and eventually all events) whenever the athlete is not competing. The purpose of photo IDs is to track meals to your team and to improve safety for everyone at events.