Coach Training & Certification Process
Thank you for wanting to be a coach of Special Olympics Utah! Coaches are vital to the mission of Special Olympics. Coaches provide the training and skills necessary to make an athlete, and the encouragement required to keep the athlete improving and competing at higher levels.
We want to help you become a coach. Below is what you will need to do.
At a minimum, you will need to complete the following five items to coach at the local level:
- On-Line Registration Form
- General Orientation Training (on-line)
- Background Waiver
- Protective Behaviors Training (on-line)
- Concussion Training
To become a Certified Coach, or coach at state competitions or coach Unified Sports you will need to also complete the following:
- Level One – Coaching Special Olympics Athletes
- Level Two – Sport Specific Skills Course
Once you have completed the Green Level (Class A) volunteer requirements and completed Levels One and Two, you will receive your Special Olympics coach certification certificate. The certification must be completed every three years.
If you wish to continue on and complete Level Three Sport Specific Skill Training, it should be completed within two years of certification.
Let’s get started!
Step One: Green Level (Class A) Volunteer Registration and General Orientation
All coaches must obtain a Green Level (Class A) Volunteer status before being able to register as a coach at state level event or before being alone with any athletes.
Complete the following application form and general orientation:
- Coach and Volunteer Registration Form (adult, 18 years of age and above)
- Coach and Volunteer Registration Form (youth, 17 years of age and under)
- General Orientation
Step Two: Background Screening Waiver, Protective Behaviors Training, and Concussion Training
Once your application to coach has been received, reviewed and approved by the Sports Staff, you will receive an e-invite to register for a background screening. Special Olympics Utah recently selected Verified Volunteers, LLC to conduct background checks on its Class A volunteers. Verified Volunteers employs cutting edge technology to make registering for a background check more convenient and has a proven track record of conducting thorough checks and providing excellent customer service that will benefit everyone in the process.
Once your background check has been approved, you will be asked to complete the Concussion Training and Protective Behaviors Training:
- Concussion Training (please email your certificate to firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Protective Behaviors Training
Step Three: Additional Coaching — State Level Competition, Unified Sports and Sport Specific Skills
Level 1 – Coaching Special Olympics Athletes
This level must be completed before being able to register as a coach at a state level event. Coaches must pass the Green Level (Class A) requirements before completing Level 1.
Complete the Coaching Special Olympics Athletes course either online or in person as listed below. This course gives coaches a better understanding of how athletes with intellectual disabilities learn and play sports. It includes not only an overview of working with Special Olympics athletes as well as practical ideas for teaching and coaching your practices.
Through ASEP: Offered through American Sports Education Program, this 3-hour course is a self paced online course designed for coaches to prepare them to coach athletes with intellectual disabilities. This course satisfies the Special Olympics certification and continued education requirements. There is a one-time cost of $16.95 to complete this course online. To begin this course on ASEP’s website, click here.
Level 1a – Unified Sports Course (required for coaches of Unified Sports teams)
This level must be completed before being able to register your team as a Unified Sports team for any competitive event. Each Unified Sports team must have at least one certified coach that has completed this level.
This course, provided by National Federal of State High School Associations, helps coaches to understand and implement the most successful strategies for coaching teams that include Special Olympics athletes (individuals with intellectual disabilities) and Unified Partners (individuals without intellectual disabilities). This is a free online course that you can take at your own pace. To begin this course, click here.
Level 2 – Sport Specific Skills Course
This level must be completed within two years of beginning participation as a coach with Special Olympics Utah. Coaches must pass the Green Level (Class A) requirements and Level 1 before completing Level 2.
Sport Specific Training is available for each of the sport offered by Special Olympics Utah and occur prior to the sports season. These free trainings cover techniques and practice skills for a specific sport as well as key reminders for coaches regarding rules, registration procedures, and uniform requirements specific to Special Olympics Utah. Please note that each sport is not offered every year. When these courses are not offered, we encourage coaches to use the coaching guide resources provided at specialolympics.org. These guides include tips, practice ideas, videos and more specific to all the sports offered by Special Olympics Inc. Check the calendar or contact your area’s field service coordinator or regional sports manager for details about upcoming sports skills training courses offered in Utah. Pre-registration is required.
The following course is offered online:
Level 3 – Principles of Coaching Course
This level must be completed within two years of beginning participation as a coach with Special Olympics Utah. Coaches must pass the Green Level (Class A) requirements and Level 1 before completing Level 3.
Complete a Principles of Coaching Course. This course helps coaches to identify their coaching philosophy, identify practical methods for enhancing Special Olympics athlete performance and apply the principles of strength, endurance, coordination, agility and flexibility. This can be completed one of two ways:
Through WVU: Offered through Western Virginia University, this is a self-paced course designed to prepare coaches for working with athletes with intellectual disabilities. This course satisfies the Special Olympics certification and continued education requirements. There is a one-time cost of $35.00 to complete this course online. To begin this course on WVU’s website, click here.
Through SOUT: Principles of Coaching Course
Special Olympics Utah salutes all our coaches for their hard work and dedication to our athletes and partners!
The key to athlete success and well-being is based on the quality of sports training and experiences provided by Special Olympics coaches. Special Olympics Utah encourages all coaches to become certified in the specific sports they are coaching.
Background Waiver, Concussion Training and Protective Behaviors Training must be completed every 3 years to remain active. As of January 1, 2015, all coaches must complete the following to meet the minimum criteria for coach certification. Coaches that have not been certified before January 1, 2015 must make sure their Green Level (Class A) status is current and complete all three levels listed below within the time parameters given on each level.
Additional Coaching Resources: