Coach Education

Coaches play a unique role in Special Olympics, working hands-on with athletes to provide the sports skills and spirit they need to compete.

To be a Special Olympics coach, you don’t have to have prior experience – we provide the necessary training. What you do need is the enthusiasm and desire to make a positive impact on the lives of athletes. Use the drop-downs below to see what you need to become a coach, to see the online re-certification quizzes and coach resources, and to see other resources and coach courses available.

2021 Coach Education Opportunities

SOMT will continue to offer education opportunities throughout 2021, into 2022. Coach opportunities will be posted below and on the SOMT Facebook events page, as they are scheduled. To reserve a spot at one of the trainings, email SOMT Sports Director, Scott Held, at The Online Sport Recertifications referenced below can be completed without a reservation.

  • Tuesday, January 11th – Winter Sports Coach Education- Online
  • Year Round- Online Sport Recertifications- Certification quizzes are available for all coaches needing to recertify in a sport. As long as a coach is currently certified, or less than one year expired in the sport they are choosing to recertify in, they can use the quizzes on this page (below) to recertify online.

Interested in Coaching?

We are in need of coaches in a multitude of sports all over the state. If you are interested in becoming a coach, fill out the form below and our staff will contact you shortly.

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Becoming a Certified Coach

Coaches who wish to be a certified Special Olympics Montana (SOMT) coach, must complete the following steps in order to become certified (click on the red letters to be taken to the link).

  • A Volunteer Application ( must be approved by the State Office. A background check will be conducted on individuals 18 years of age and older. References will be called on individuals 17 years old and younger. The volunteer application must be resubmitted, at a minimum, every three (3) years. Applications may be submitted to the State Office at PO Box 3507, Great Falls, MT 59403 or faxed to 406-770-4456.
  • Online Protective Behaviors, which can be accessed at This training is required, at a minimum, every three (3) years. SOMT is automatically notified when an individual completes the training. *Optional- May utilize SO Learn for this option, see SO Learn drop-down below*
  • The General Orientation can also be done online. View the PDF and then download the test, complete, and submit to the State Office at PO Box 3507, Great Falls, MT 59403 or faxed to 406-770-4456.
  • The Coaches Code-of-Conduct. This document lays out the expectations for a coach and their behavior while serving in that role. Download, read and sign, and send in to the address above. This only needs to be completed when you first become a coach, but is good information to review at any stage in your coaching experience.
  • The COVID-19 Code-of-Conduct. This lays out basic knowledge and expectations of behavior when at a Special Olympics event, and how to best acknowledge and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Download, read and sign, and send in to the address above. This only needs to be completed once.
  • The Communicable Diseases Waiver and Release of Liability. This form acknowledges participating in Special Olympics activities may expose participants to infectious illnesses. Download, read and sign, and send in to the address above.
  • Concussion Training – Option 1- RECOMMENDED– Utilize SO Learn for this option. See SO Learn drop-down below for step-by-step instructions on how to register with SO Learn. Option 2– The Centers for Disease Control concussion training provides guidance for coaches to recognize a concussion and know how to respond if an athlete might have a concussion. Coaches are required to complete this training and quiz, at a minimum, every three years.
  • For new and/or re-certifying coaches- An in-person or conference call training session. These sessions covers all the basics you need to become a coach; General orientation, code-of-conduct, protective behaviors, new volunteer application, and sports rules/skills training. A coach who completes this in-person course, passes their background check satisfactorily, and completes concussion training, will be certified in their desired sport(s).
    • 2021 Coach Education Opportunities Schedule
    • To stay updated on the dates for the next in-person training for your area, visit the SOMT Facebook page or the website calendar.
    • OR… For re-certifying coaches ONLY, online re-certification quizzes- Coaches re-certifying by this method, must not have let their certification in their desired sport lapse for more than one year (for example, if it is 2020, you need to have been certified in 2019. If your last certification was in 2018, you will not qualify) . To re-certify, complete the online sport specific quiz for the desired sport. The quizzes can be selected in the drop-down section below.

Sport Re-certification Quizzes and Resources

Click on the links below; they will take you to the quiz. All questions must be answered to be re-certified. You can only miss ONE question to pass. Read carefully. Questions for the quiz come directly from the selected sport’s rule book, protest form, resources as listed below, and basic SOMT knowledge and sportsmanship. The quizzes can be taken multiple times until a passing mark is achieved.

If you do not qualify for or do not pass the quiz(zes) you take, you will be notified within approximately 1-2 weeks by email. If you pass the re-certification quiz, you will not be notified, but your certification dates will be updated. Ask your Local Program Coordinator to check the “coaches green-list” they receive quarterly to make sure your dates have been updated. If you re-certify around games time, be prepared for certification processing to take a few weeks due to the high volume of games planning, so even though you passed, your dates may not be updated with every “coaches green-list.”

Alpine Skiing
Cross-Country Skiing

Rules and Resources

Special Olympics International official rule books
Special Olympics Montana basketball modification rules
Special Olympics Montana bowling modification rules
Protest form
Special Olympics Unified Models
How To Score Bocce
2020 SSG Information Packet
Special Olympics International Coaching Guides and Resources
Starters Guide To Practice                                                                                                                            Universal Sign Language and Sign Language Apps for Sports

Score Submission Guide

Additional Coach Education Courses

If you complete one of the following courses, be sure to send a copy of your certificate or confirmation of completion to SOMT Sports Director, Scott Held, at, so you can receive credit with Special Olympics Montana for completion, as well.

Additional Coach Education Courses:

*These courses are currently not required to become a certified coach*

Principles of Coaching Course: This course includes five modules that help build the knowledge base for a Special Olympics coach. You will be prompted to create an account with CoachTube, the third party facilitator of this content. Ensure that you watch all videos and click all links as you complete this course. Cost: Free.

Coaching Unified Sports Course: Unified Sports is an inclusive sports program that unites Special Olympics athletes (individuals with intellectual disabilities) and partners (individuals without intellectual disabilities) as teammates for training and competition. This course will help you understand and implement Special Olympics Unified Sports in your school. Cost: Free.

A Coach’s Playbook: An Introduction to Autism and Instructional Strategies for Coaching: Offered through Special Olympics Virginia, this course offers an introduction to autism and general strategies for coaching athletes with autism. As the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder is becoming more prevalent, it is important that our coaches are trained to work with athletes who are on the autism spectrum. Cost: Free.

Coaching Special Olympics Athletes Course: Through this three-hour course, you will develop a better understanding of how people with intellectual disabilities learn and how they participate in sports. The course offers a solid overview of the coaching principles involved in working with Special Olympics athletes, as well as practical ideas that you can immediately use in your teaching and coaching. Cost is $16.95.

Sportsmanship Course: The NFHS developed this free course to give you a better understanding of sportsmanship, how it impacts the educational process and identifies your specific role in modeling it at all interscholastic athletic events. Insight is shared throughout the course from fans, players, parents, teacher-coaches and officials. This course will help provide schools a more positive game environment. Cost: Free.

Sports Nutrition– Proper nutrition is key to optimizing health and athletic performance. This course presents guidelines for the diet needed to be ready for athletic practice and competition, and how to refuel afterwards. It gives tips on how you can influence your students’ eating habits outside of the school environment. Specific examples are provided for what types of foods students should and should not eat to replenish their bodies between activities. Cost: Free.

Useful Coaching Resources

Athlete-Centered Coaching Guide: This guide is a general introduction to coaching adults and children with intellectual disabilities. This guide also includes a section focusing on some behaviors commonly associated with intellectual disabilities and effective strategies to improve athlete learning.

Special Olympics Sport Sciences: Sport Psychology for Coaches : This guide dives into how athletes learn, what motivates them, how to develop communication skills, and the psychological considerations for training and competition.

SO Learn

SO Learn is a coach education platform maintained and updated by Special Olympics International. Special Olympics Montana accepts and recognizes the certificates earned by completing the Protective Behaviors, Concussion Awareness, and Coaching Unified Sports courses offered by SO Learn. Upon completing the courses, SOMT is automatically notified, so make sure that, if you choose to utilize this option, you list your true name and email address, so we can give you credit for completing. A step-by-step instructional on how to register is in the slideshow. If you questions about this option and how it relates to your current SOMT certifications, contact SOMT Sports Director, Scott Held, at the contact information at the bottom of the page. If you’re having trouble reading the sliding photos, click on one of the photos. It will automatically pop open into a smaller, more legible window, and you can change pictures on command.

Upcoming Events

There are no upcoming events at this time.



Scott Held
Sports Director
Phone: (406) 216-5327 ext 118