Coaches 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.

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.
  • The general orientation can also be done online, and be accessed at our website, as well. 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.
  • Concussion Training — 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, 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).
    • 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.
    • Click on the links below; they will take you to the quiz. All questions must be answered to be re-certified. For quizzes with 10 questions or more, you MUST receive a 90% or better to be re-certified online. For quizzes with 10 questions or less, you can only miss ONE question. 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.
    • 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 game planning, so even though you passed, your dates may not be updated with every “coaches green-list.”

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

2019 SSG Information Packet

Special Olympics International Coaching Guides and Resources

Starters Guide To Practice

Upcoming Events

Useful Resources:

Athlete-Centered Coaching GuideThis 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 GuidesInternationally, 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.

Additional Coach Training Resources:

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

Coaching Unified Sports CourseUnified 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 CoachingOffered 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 CourseThrough 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: THIS COURSE IS CURRENTLY UNDER MAINTENANCE AND UNAVAILABLE. 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.



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