Some Special Olympics coaches have coaching experience; some don’t. Some have experience with individuals with intellectual disabilities, some don’t. A coach can be a teacher, family member, or someone simply charged up to change others’ lives and their own!
To get connected as a new volunteer coach, first find Special Olympics near you and contact your local leadership.
Below, you can find forms, information, and trainings you may need as a coach during your sport season. Additional coaching resources are available on the Special Olympics Inc. website.
Mandatory Reporter Information
Individuals 18 years and older who are associated with, employed or volunteer with a private sports organization or team are required to report suspected abuse and neglect as soon as possible, but no later than 24 hours after having a suspicion of a reportable offense. Inform SOVA staff as well by emailing [email protected].
If you suspect a reportable offense, call one of the hotlines within 24 hours. Call 911 if an athlete is in immediate danger.
Child Protective Services 800-552-7096 Adult Protective Services 888-832-3858
Special Olympics Coach Oath
"In the name of all coaches, we shall follow written and verbal instructions of Special Olympics officials at all times, have our athletes at the appropriate events and activities at the proper time and abide by the rules and policies, in the spirit of sportsmanship."
Physical Fitness Resources
Physical fitness is a key part of the Special Olympics mission. Additional fitness activities beyond sport are improving our athletes sport performance, health and lives. Special Olympics Virginia has a new web page devoted entirely to Wellness and Fitness that can be found here. Special Olympics also offers many other fitness resources that have been successfully implemented by Special Olympics programs and replicated around the world – you can find out more those resources here. Additionally, in Virginia, the Get SO Fit fitness program, run by Wade Crawford, is active in the Virginia Beach region. For details on Get SO Fit, contact us at [email protected], or check out the Get SO Fit Facebook page.
Coach Code of Conduct
Special Olympics coaches and assistant coaches should model respectful behaviors and good sportsmanship. The standards of behavior in our Coach Code of Conduct help us oversee quality trainings and competitions and create a positive environment for our athletes, volunteers, fans, and families.
Class A Volunteer Application
Our Class A Volunteer application and Event Volunteer release forms can be found in our Volunteer Resources section.
Sport Rules & Coaching Guides
Download rules, coaching guides, and coach training quizzes for every sport in our Sports section. We offer tools for planning a training season, teaching sports skills, and following the rules, protocol, and etiquette of each sport
Sports Rules Changes
View and download PDFs of sports rules changes made this year for each sport.
Criteria for Advancement to Higher Levels of Competition
This document outlines the procedures for selecting athletes to advance to higher levels of competition.
The fundamental difference between Special Olympics competitions and those of other sports organizations is that athletes of all ability levels are encouraged to participate, and every athlete is recognized for his/her performance. Competitions are structured so that athletes compete with other athletes of similar ability in equitable divisions. The divisioning process can be confusing for new volunteers. For a concise look at what it’s all about, check out our new video, "Game On: A Quick Guide to Special Olympics Divisioning.”
Registered Training Program (RTP) Form
Please contact your Region Director to obtain the appropriate form for your sport.
State Games Registration Resources
Find forms, letters, and policies regarding your delegation’s trip to one of our state-level games on our State Games Registration Resources page.
Coach Certification Process
Find out how to become a Special Olympics certified coach.
Taking our online Volunteer Orientation is the first step toward becoming a better informed volunteer and one of several requirements necessary to become a Special Olympics Certified Coach. After completing the orientation, please complete this form to receive credit.
Coach Certification Course Form
To maintain your certification, coaches must take a coach training course of their choice once every three years. Submit this form whenever you take a coach certification course. If you are applying to be a Special Olympics certified coach for the first time, please check out our Coach Certification Process.
Protective Behaviors Training and Quiz
The Protective Behaviors online training course and quiz gives guidance on how to treat our athletes respectfully and how to identify potential signs of abuse. Coaches are required to complete this training and quiz every three years.
Online Training & Quiz | PDF
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 every three years. Please review Special Olympics Virginia's Concussion Management Guidelines and complete the Concussion Clearance Form for an athlete with a suspected concussion.
Coaching Special Olympics Athletes Online 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. The cost for the course is $16.95. Contact your Region Director to receive a code that allows you to take this training for free.
SONA has teamed up with NFHS, ESPN, the NFL Foundation and the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs at the U.S. Department of Education to bring you the new and improved online course for Unified Sports Coaches. This free one-hour long course is designed to explain Special Olympics Unified Sports and offer guidance on how to become a successful Unified Sports coach. Hosted by ESPN’s Kevin Negandhi, the course includes historical background, testimonials, tutorials and quizzes to keep the audience engaged from beginning to end.
Please visit the NFHS website to view and take the course: http://nfhslearn.com/courses/36000/coaching-unified-sports
A Coach's Playbook: An Introduction to Autism and Instructional Strategies for Coaching
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.
Code of Conduct Violations
Document and report inappropriate behaviors by volunteers or athletes, and develop an action plan to resolve the issue.
Code of Conduct Violation Recommended Actions
Code of Conduct Violation Conduct Report Form & Action Plan
Incident Report Form (American Specialty Insurance)
Use this form to report an injury to an athlete or volunteer. Completed forms should be submitted to our staff, who will review them and submit them to American Specialty.