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 16,500 athletes from around the state benefit from participation in the program.

To learn more about coaching opportunities throughout Missouri, contact an area program staff.

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. Complete the Concussion Awareness Training. Complete the quiz and then print out the certificate with your name on it, write your name at the top send it into your area office. We require that every coach retake the Concussion Awareness course every three years (for example if your certification expires in 1/09, you need to take the course again in 1/12).
4. If you haven't already, you'll need to fill out a Class A Volunteer Form. 
5. 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).
6. You will be contacted by a Special Olympics representative to complete the process.

Levels of Coaching

Coaches teach the skills and spirit that define a true athlete. Coaches are role models and character-builders.Special Olympics coaches go even further -- they help athletes with intellectual disabilities find their own strengths and abilities. 

They also show them how to build upon those strengths and improve every day. As a Special Olympics coach, you bring enthusiasm, commitment and a positive attitude to each practice, event and competition. You will enrich the lives of our athletes in many life-changing ways. The skills and confidence an athlete learns through sports have a long and lasting effect. 

They can help an athlete succeed in school or even find a job.Coaches also get a lot in return. They get to know athletes who inspire -- athletes who are brave and determined, despite the odds against them. Coaches become more than teachers, mentors and role models -- they are seen as leaders in the community.

A Special Olympics coach is a person who selects, assesses and provides Special Olympics athletes with comprehensive sports training and preparation for competitions, knowing, understanding and abiding by the rules of the sport being coached, Special Olympics General Rules and Official Sports Rules. 

Special Olympics Missouri requires that all agencies have someone certified as a head coach in the respective sport. 



The following coach descriptions outline the expectations from a Special Olympics coach.
 


Team Sports: Each team must have one head coach. A head coach may only be the coach of one team. The coach’s name submitted on the entry form must be that of a certified head coach. The head coach must be on the field or on the court with the team during any and all competition. In the event an emergency should arise, a certified volunteer coach may take over as the head coach, but this shall require prior approval by SOMO’s Competition Director (Shaffer@somo.org).  For an example, if you have four 3-on-3 teams you need to have four different head coaches.

Individual Sports: The coach’s name submitted on the entry form must be that of a certified head coach. It is not necessary to have a certified head coach present at each venue where athletes participate, however only a head coach may file a protest. 

 

Listed below are the levels and requirements of coaches that Special Olympics Missouri will recognize.

Bench coach: An individual who has the primary responsibility/job to be an aide to the coaching staff.  An example of this can be a high school student.
*The following course is required to be a bench coach:
    --  Fill out a Class A Volunteer Form.
    -- General Session
   --  Complete the Concussion Awareness Training


Skills coach/Team skills coach:  Is an individual who has the primary responsibility of instructing athletes in individual skills of their sport.
*The following courses are required to be an individual skills coach:
     --  Fill out a Class A Volunteer Form. 
     -- General Session
     --  Complete the Concussion Awareness Training
     -- Sports-Specific Coaches Training

Assistant coach: An individual who has the duties that involve assisting with setting up practice schedules, lesson plans, observing practice and games and more.
*The following courses are required to be an assistant coach:
     --  Fill out a Class A Volunteer Form. 
     -- General Session
     --  Complete the Concussion Awareness Training
     -- Sports Specific Coaches Training
     -- Principles of Coaching

Head coach: The head coach is responsible for providing athletes with comprehensive sport training and preparation for multi-level sport competition.
     -- Provide proper planning for each step of training and competition
     -- Provide and maintain a safe and secure physical environment
     -- Use acceptable and safe equipment
     -- Ensure appropriate sport skills instruction and safe competition
     -- Match athletes according to ability, size and strength. Continually assess each athlete for participation in appropriate activities within, not challenged beyond  their capabilities.
     -- Inform athletes of inherent risks associated with a specific sport
     -- Ensure acceptable supervision and maintain an adequate coach-to-athlete ratio (1:9)
     -- Provide appropriate medical support at all times
     -- Maintain accurate records
*The following courses are required to be a head coach:
     --  Fill out a Class A Volunteer Form. 
     -- General Session
     --  Complete the Concussion Awareness Training
     -- Sports Specific
     -- Principles of Coaching
     -- Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)/First Aid (FA)


Coach Certification Process

 For more information on the coach certification process, which includes the possibility of online courses, click here.