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.
NEW coaches to Special Olympics Montana (SOMT) or current coaches who wish to be certified in a new sport, must complete the following steps in order to achieve certification (click on the red letters to be taken to the link).
Starting in July 2017, SOMT will offer online re-certification courses for returning coaches. In order to qualify for online coach recertification, you must be a certified coach within the sport you want to be recertified in and/or your certification cannot have been expired for more than one year. Please note that the following items must be completed every three years for you to remain an active, certified coach (click on the red letters to be taken to the link).
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.
Sport Specific Coaching Guides: Internationally, Special Olympics offers 30-plus Olympic-style individual and team sports that provide meaningful training and competition opportunities for persons with intellectual disabilities. This page presents coaching guides, rules, quick-start guides and more. Utilize these guides – they are well researched, thorough, and often contain pre-made training plans.
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.
Simply put, athletes deserve highly trained coaches so they can reach their maximum potential. The better the coach -> the better the opportunities -> the better the athlete! The Special Olympics North America Coach Education System begins with a solid foundation in safety and builds from there; because Montana is such an expansive state, we want to make as many options for training available as possible.
Approved courses, seminars or workshops:
Special Olympics Montana is able to utilize the following courses or to design and personalize a variety of training formats (online courses; webinars; one-on-one peer mentoring) to meet the needs of coaches with varying backgrounds, as long as the standards and competencies are achieved. This also includes online courses from the National Governing Bodies, American Sport Education Program (ASEP), the National Federation of State High Schools (NFHS), Positive Coaching Alliance, Responsible Sports and others.
To apply for certification after taking one of these courses, please complete this form: Application for Coach Certification. Please contact Special Olympics Montana’s sports department for approval. Generally, most courses that help a coach become a better coach will be accepted.
Special Olympics is committed to coaching excellence. The most important thing to know as a coach in Special Olympics is that athletes are individuals, and coaching them is just like coaching any other youth or community sports team. But we recognize that there are some situations that make Special Olympics coaching unique, Athletes are people who have been identified as slow learners; beyond that, they are just like everyone else, individuals with unique challenges, talents, abilities and interests.
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.
Principles of Coaching Course: Since the introduction of the Special Olympics training school for coaches in 1980, more than 265,000 volunteer coaches have been trained in seminars or courses conducted around the world. In reviewing the evaluations of these coaches’ training seminars, a comment appeared repeatedly of the wish that more time could have been spent in the seminar. West Virginia University Continuing & Professional Education, College of Physical Activity and Sports Sciences, and Special Olympics can now offer this online course as a result of those repeated requests.
Cost: $35. Average completion time for the course is 25-30 hours.