Coach Education System
Contact the Director of Program Training to assess personal sport experience and knowledge and option to receive level 1 coach certification through the completion of the online Coaching Special Olympics Athletes training course. The Director of Program Training can be contact by email, firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 512.491.2940.
Coaching Special Olympics Athletes Course
Options for Level 2 and Level 3 Coach Certifications:
After Level 1 certification, one can choose to take the Principles of Coaching course or Tactics course in either order. The coach will be recognized as a Level 2 coach after they complete the second course (Principles of Coaching or Tactics).
In addition to face to face training courses, there are online training opportunities for coaches to become certified. Note: a SIG Instructional Session is required for all new SOTX online users.
New Coach SIG Training:
This 30-minute FREE training covers the SIG instructional piece for new SOTX Coaches as part of the Coach certification requirement to complete Level 1 certification. The training is based upon the SOTX Information Guide, which contains important information about the policies and procedures, sports rules, fundraising guidelines, financial requirements and communication strategies for Special Olympics Texas. The training is divided into ten different sections and separated with learning quizzes throughout. New Coaches accessing online training(s) must complete this training as part of the certification requirement. New Coaches attending face to face training(s) will receive the SIG instruction piece at the face to face training. Start training now!/p>
Coach Education System - Training and Certification
Coach education is vital because coaches are so influential in the development of Special Olympics athletes. Special Olympics Texas places great emphasis on coaching education and training, and has made a commitment to coaching excellence. Coaches play an indispensable role in Special Olympics, and coaching education helps to ensure each coach and athlete has the best sport experience possible.
General Orientation Training, Protective Behaviors Training and Concussion in Sports Training
The first step toward certification is to attend the General Orientation training and the Protective Behaviors training. General Orientation will provide you with an overview of the Special Olympics mission and philosophy, intellectual disabilities and eligibility, sports opportunities, and rules.
Protective Behaviors offers guidelines that are designed to protect athletes, volunteers and staff by providing information on types of abuse and how to prevent emotional, sexual and physical abuse of athletes. Concussion in Sports Training is to help raise awareness and help minimize the risk of concussions. General Orientation, Protective Behaviors and Concussion in Sports Training are necessary for all who are interested in working with Special Olympics Texas athletes.
Online Sports Information Guide (SIG) Training
A SIG Instructional Session is required for all new SOTX coaches. This online training is required for all new SOTX online users to complete Level 1 certification. The training is based upon the Sports Information Guide, which contains important information about the policies and procedures, sports rules, fundraising guidelines, financial requirements and communication strategies of Special Olympics Texas.
Level 1 Coach – Option A: Sport Skills Course and SIG Instructional Course
This course is offered for those interested in coaching who have not competed or coached at a high school, university or equivalent level. Sport specific trainings are available for each sport offered in the area. The skills course focuses on the basic skills and strategies of the sport, fundamental skills development for the athletes, as well as, competition and game understanding. The skills course includes a classroom session, an activity session performing the skills with the trainer and clinician, and a model training session with athletes.
Level 1 Coach – Option B: Coaching Special Olympics Athletes Course and SIG Instructional Course
This course is designed for the new coach with sport experience and the veteran Special Olympics coach looking to improve his or her training and coaching skills. This course involves four sections: the athlete, the coach, training and coaching each athlete, and successfully preparing for competition.
Principles of Coaching Course
This course builds upon the foundation established in the Level 1 Special Olympics training school. This course is non-sport specific and seeks to expand more of the sport sciences. It addresses the basic principles of coaching, coaching philosophy, planning and coaching administration, fitness and conditioning, and safety and risk management. This course is open to all coaches who are interested in advancing their coaching knowledge.
This sport-specific course focuses on the development of higher-level sport skills, game or event tactics and strategies, expanded skill instruction, and enhancement of athlete performance. This course builds on the coach’s sport knowledge acquired in the Level 1 training. This training is open to all coaches who are interested in advancing their coaching knowledge.
Level 4 Coach – Comprehensive Coach Mentor Course
This course will teach a coach how to guide, assist, support and train a new coach to SOTX or an athlete coach going through the coaching program in the assimilation and improvement of the skills necessary to become a fully effective Special Olympics Texas coach.
There is an application process for this training. The application is sport-specific. The applicant must have completed Level 1, Principles of Coaching and Tactics courses. The applicant must have the Tactics certification for 2 of the required 4 years as a certified coach before applying for Level 4. One must apply for Level 4 coach training in the same sport that they received their Tactics certification. Contact your program/area director for the Level 4 application.
Upon completion of the Comprehensive Coach Mentor Course, you will work through the sport season with the athlete or coach you are mentoring in the sport. Complete the Mentor Log and mail it to your program/area director.
Sports Training Program
Sports training and competitions are the heart of the Special Olympics program. Coaches, officials, and games and competition directors play key roles in providing the athletes with the best sport experience possible. Special Olympics Texas provides a comprehensive program designed to ensure that the participation of athletes is safe, enjoyable and productive. Experienced and knowledgeable instructors will provide the resources you need.
Why become certified?
- Promote the mission of Special Olympics Texas.
- Provide your athletes with the safest and most effective training sessions possible.
- Enhance your coaching skills.
- Keep up-to-date regarding current rules and training techniques.
- Ensure coaching consistency worldwide.
- Demonstrate program credibility.
- Protect yourself against liability.
Training clinics are available at local, area, regional and chapter levels for:
- Games and competition directors
- Area training directors/managers
Depending on your background and experience, different options are available to become certified. Please contact your area office or the chapter office for more information.
In keeping with the commitment to coaching excellence, Special Olympics Texas recommends that each coach attend a Special Olympics course or Continuing Education course, so they can share new coaching practices and techniques and to express new ideas. Examples of courses are listed below:
- Sport-Specific Workshops or Seminars
- First Aid
- CPI Training
- Crisis Communication Training
- American Sport Education Program (ASEP)
- Officials Training; Rules and Updates
- National Federation of High School Association
National Governing Body Courses; other sports organizations’ coaching courses. For more information, contact your area office or the Director of Program Training at 800.876.5646, ext. 2940.
Online Training Opportunities
The following information and links can be found at www.sotx.org/onlinetraining.
The following courses can be taken in the preference of your own setting and schedule. The courses are all delivered through demonstrative videos and a series of PDF downloads. SOTX will not cover any course registration fee.
Special Olympics North America has partnered with American Sport Education Program (ASEP), United States Bowling Congress, National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) and West Virginia University Continuing Education (WVU) to offer online courses. These courses are for Special Olympics Coaches who are seeking advanced training or continuing education.
Level 1 Coaches may take ASEP’s Coaching Youth [Sport] courses in the respective sport to become a Level 2 or 3 certified Coach. You can choose to take the online Principles of Coaching course or Tactics course in either order. A coach will be recognized as a Level 2 coach after they complete the second course, either Principles of Coaching or Tactics. The coach will then be recognized as a Level 3 coach after they complete the third course, either Principles of Coaching or Tactics.
For more information, contact your area office or the Director of Program Training at 800.876.5646, ext. 2940.
Coaching Special Olympics Athletes
This 3-hour course is offered through American Sports Education Program for $16.95. It is a great course for new coaches in preparation for their first Special Olympics coaching role. This course prepares coaches to use their sport-specific knowledge in coaching athletes with intellectual disabilities. The course is made up of four different units: the Athlete, Teaching and Training the Athlete, the Coach-preparing for and coaching during Competition and Managing the Program. For veteran Special Olympics coaches, this course serves as a reminder of the essentials sometimes forgotten after years of coaching.
This course is equivalent to the classroom Level 1 – Coaching Special Olympics Athletes Course.
Coaching Basketball, Aquatics, Golf, Soccer, Softball, Volleyball, Track & Field, and Tennis
These 3-hour courses are offered through National Federation of State High Schools Associations for $50.00 -$75.00. These sport specific courses are recommended for those coaches who lack sport specific knowledge. Each course focuses on the basic skills, strategies and fundamentals in athlete development. Course units include basic competition levels and game fundamentals for each sport.
These courses are equivalent to the classroom Level 1 – Sport Skills Course.
Coaching Unified Sports
This 90-minute course is FREE offered through National Federation of State High School Associations. This course caters to both new and veteran coaches seeking continuing education. Unified Sports is an inclusive sports program that unites Special Olympics athletes and partners as teammates for training and competition. This course is based upon meaningful involvement for all team members and founded on Three Unified Programs: Unified Sports, Player Development and Unified Recreation. Coaches will learn how to build a successful team by the recruitment and assessment process and appropriate sport selection for athletes and partners. Please know, an individual will not be recognized as a Unified Sports Coach until completion of a Level 1 Sport Skills course; however, the sessions can be taken out of order.
This course is equivalent to the classroom Level 1 - Unified Sports course.
Principles of Coaching Special Olympics Athletes
This 9-hour course is offered through West Virginia Continuing Education for $35.00. Coaches who have completed a Sport Specific Skills or Coaching Special Olympics Athletes Course may take this course to maintain or upgrade certification in their respective sports. This non-sport specific course is based on the sciences of successful coaching. This course is made up of five different units: Understanding the Special Olympics Philosophy, Sports Planning for the Coach, Coaching Sport Skills and Developing Sport Confidence, Sport-Specific Performance Training and Nutrition for Special Olympics Athletes, and Sport Safety and Risk Management.
This course is equivalent to the classroom POC course.
Coaching Youth Basketball, Volleyball, Softball, Soccer and Tennis
These 3-hour courses are offered through American Sports Education Program for $19.95 each. Coaches who have completed a Sport Specific Skills or Coaching Special Olympics Athletes Course may take any of these Coaching Youth Sport Courses to maintain or upgrade certification in their respective sports. These courses are for coaching athletes age 14 and under participating in a recreational, noncompetitive setting. Coaches will gain sport-specific skills and essential coaching concepts for youth sports. These sport-specific courses are based on tactic and skill instruction, coach responsibilities, effective communication, safety and fitness, rules and practice planning during season.
These courses are equivalent to the classroom Tactics course.
This 3-hour course is offered through United States Bowling Congress for $49.00. This is an entry level course for a new or veteran Special Olympics Coach seeking bowling certification. Coaches will learn basic fundamentals, sport safety and progression of skills from two-handed delivery to the basic four-step approach. Before taking this course, all users must first be approved through USBC’s Registered Volunteer Program. Once approved through the RVP, the user will be given access to purchase the course. Youth must be 13 years of age or older to take this course.
Prior to being given access to purchase the test coaches that are U.S. citizens 18 and older must go through the USBC background screening process - The Registered Volunteer Program
To access the USBC presentation and testing site, follow these instructions:
- Go to www.BOWL.com/coaching
- Select the USBC Coaching Resource Center
- Select the Level I Program
- Read all the information. The Level I presentation and a pdf of the script for presentation are accessible by using the link(s) in the last paragraph.
- At the conclusion of the presentation, read all the information on the last slide. Once an account is created on the test site, answer only one survey question that pertains to you. You only need to answer once.
- The coaching department will receive the response from the survey question via email and will reply back as soon as the required information is verified by a staff member; this may take a few days due to the volume of requests coming in.
Online Certification Procedures
Once a course is complete, the user will receive an online course certification. Please forward a copy of the online course certificate to your Area Director and/or the Director of Program Training at email@example.com. A follow-up letter will be sent to recognize your course accomplishments as a new or returning coach for SOTX.
If seeking new coach certification, the online SIG instructional course will need to be taken to complete certification. Submit your course completion certificate to your area office. Once your form is processed, you will receive an official SOTX Coach Card and become a certified SOTX Coach!
Prerequisites before completing online courses if new to SOTX:
Requirements for All Trainers and Officials
All trainers and officials must be registered SOTX Class A volunteers [must have a current Class A Volunteer Application on file, must have attended General Orientation and Protective Behaviors Trainings (in person or online) and must have passed the criminal background check]. The Protective Behaviors Training must be completed and a new Class A Volunteer Application must be submitted every three years. Annually, trainers must attend the Area Conference.
Competition Director Training
The competition director’s training is for people conducting competition within a specific sport. People attending this training will learn how to manage the responsibilities of the competition director through teamwork, communication and proper planning. The training includes units on general competition, team or individual sports, and sport-specific competition. Those interested attend an eight hour training school. Certification is valid indefinitely under the following conditions:
- The certified individual remains active in planning and coordinating local, area, regional or chapter-level competitions.
Competition Director Responsibilities
- Report to the games director or staff liaison.
- Ensure that all the needs of his or her sport-specific venue are met by working with and coordinating activities with other venue directors and committee members.
- Understand the sports rules and procedures of his or her venue.
- Recruit, train and assign volunteers to fill “key” roles.
- Ensure that officials are recruited and trained, and are appropriate to the venue and abilities of the athletes.
- Ensure safety for all athletes and spectators.
- Provide venue information to the competition committee and coaches in a timely manner.
- Ensure that equipment needs are met.
- Attend the local area conference to share competition rules, policies, etc.
- Perform other duties as needed.
Games Management Training
The Games Management Training is for people chosen by their respective program/area director who conduct local, area, regional or chapter games. People attending this training will learn how to manage the responsibilities of the games director through teamwork, communication and proper planning. The training includes units on selecting a management team, committee management, event venue management, rules committees and how to coordinate special events. Those interested attend a ten-hour training school. Certification is valid indefinitely under the following conditions:
- The certified individual remains active in planning and coordinating local, area, regional or chapter-level competitions.
Games Director Responsibilities
- Serve as the chief administrator and manager by carrying out the policies and procedures established by Special Olympics Texas.
- Oversee the overall operation and function of all divisions of the games organization.
- Delegate games-related responsibilities, in good management practice, to the various committee chairs and subcommittees.
- Inspire and direct division chairs and subcommittees.
- Call all meetings of the games management team for instruction and status review, and ensure that all directors are properly trained and informed of their responsibilities.
- Exhibit consistent leadership skills, effective management, an ability to relate to other volunteers, an ability to stimulate community involvement and the ability to represent Special Olympics Texas in a responsible and dignified manner.
- Report to the Special Olympics program staff liaison (the program/area director or the Director of Competition and Games).
- Perform other duties as needed.
Instructor Training for Unified Sports® and MATP
Unified Sports® Trainer
An individual interested in becoming a Unified Sports® trainer must be a certified Unified Sports® coach and attend the Unified Sports® Trainer Training.
The Unified Sports® trainer will assist the area training director and program/area director with Unified Sports® trainings and programs.
The Unified Sports® trainer will conduct at least one Unified Sports® training school annually.
The Unified Sports® trainer will maintain certification by attending the training manager recertification.
An individual interested in becoming a MATP trainer must be a certified MATP coach and attend the MATP Trainer Training.
The MATP trainer will assist the area training director and program/area director with MATP trainings and programs.
The MATP trainer will conduct at least one MATP training school annually.
The MATP trainer will maintain certification by attending the training manager recertification.
Officials Training Program
In order to improve the quality of local, area and chapter competitions, an officials training and certification program should be conducted at every competition. Officials in all sports will have the opportunity to become a certified Special Olympics official by attending an approved training clinic of one, two or six hours conducted by the area training director/manager.
The Athletes as Officials program is also offered to Special Olympics athletes who want to further their skills and become certified officials through an officials mentoring program.
All certified officials must be a registered SOTX volunteer [must have a current Class A Volunteer Application on file, must have attended General Orientation and Protective Behaviors (in person or online), completed concussion in sports training every three years, and must have passed the criminal background check].
Area Training Director/Manager Certification
Special Olympics Texas conducts a training school (the Train the Trainer course) for new area training directors and training managers. Individuals selected by their program/area director will be trained to coordinate all aspects of the area training program, including conducting coaches and officials training schools.
Those interested in becoming a trainer for Special Olympics Texas must first attend a coaches training in any sport. This training is a prerequisite and will assist with the proper instruction necessary to become a new trainer for SOTX.
Area training directors maintain their trainer’s certification by attending the annual training director’s recertification through the Director of Program Training. Area training managers recertify annually through their area training director. Recertification will be verified by the chapter Director of Program Training.
Area Training Director Responsibilities
- Serve on an area management team and keep them apprised of all training for volunteers and athletes.
- Work with the program/area director to recruit and train an area training team (area training managers).
- Assist the program/area director to coordinate the area training schools, which includes:
- Helping to identify the types of training schools to be offered for the program year and the dates.
- Assisting in the selection and training of all personnel.
- Helping to secure facilities and equipment.
- Helping to recruit sport-specific clinicians for training schools.
- Assisting in the effort to communicate training school opportunities to physical educators, special educators, institutional staff, recreation specialists, family members, group home operators, sheltered workshop staff, members of civic and service organizations and affiliated sports organizations in advance of the date it is scheduled.
- Assisting with the annual area conference.
- Help the program/area director identify all of the programs serving people with intellectual disabilities in the area.
- Support the program/area director’s efforts to identify contacts in each program who will disseminate training information to prospective coaches and athletes.
- Review entries for the area competitions with the program/area director. Concerns can then be addressed at future training schools where emphasis can be placed on how to complete the Delegation and Athlete Entry Forms.
Area Training Manager Job Description and Qualifications
The area training manager is responsible for:
- Demonstrating abilities in public speaking and group dynamics.
- Assisting the area training director and the program/area director in all aspects of the training plan: developing a training calendar, helping secure facilities and equipment, helping recruit sport-specific clinicians, assisting in identifying programs serving individuals with intellectual disabilities, and assisting in the effort to communicate training school opportunities.
- Conducting two training schools with an experienced trainer before conducting a training school on their own. If an area training manager is a certified coach and attended two training schools in the past year, he/she is required to perform only one training school with an experienced trainer prior to conducting a training school on his/her own.
- Conducting two training schools as the lead trainer or working with the training team on a multi-sport training exposition. This requirement is area driven and will be determined by the number of trainers available and the number of sports offered.
- Reviewing entries for the area competitions with the area training director and the program/area director. Concerns can then be addressed at future training schools where emphasis can be placed on how to complete the Delegation and Athlete Entry Forms.
- Assisting with the annual area conference (coaches recertification).
Motor Activities Training Program
The Motor Activities Training Program (MATP) is designed for people with severe disabilities whose physical and/or behavioral limitations preclude participation in team or individual sports in traditional Special Olympics competitions.
The training period is set by the certified coaches. It can be as short as eight weeks or as long as several months. Emphasis is on training and participation rather than competition. The program utilizes goals, short-term objectives, task-analyzed activities, assessments and teaching/coaching suggestions for individualizing motor activity instruction so that people with severe disabilities can participate in appropriate recreational activities geared to their ability levels. This training and participation is done on site (e.g., schools and large residential facilities). After completion of a training program, a MATP Challenge Day can be held and special MATP Challenge medals awarded to all participants. These medals do not denote first, second or third place. Athletes may train year-round, because there is not a designated season.
The MATP has been designed to comply with the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) requirements of public law 101-476. Each of the activities has been task-analyzed by physical educators, physical therapists and recreational specialists who successfully teach individuals with severe disabilities. In school settings, this program can help physical education teachers integrate students with severe disabilities into regular physical education classes in activities including warm-ups, conditioning, gymnastics and athletics. Instructors are encouraged to integrate students into sports through the use of partial participation and game modifications. Coaches must complete the certification process to begin training. Training programs are conducted at state schools and other facilities throughout Texas with much success. This program may be adapted to allow all eligible athletes the opportunity to participate.
The MATP will introduce athletes with severe disabilities to age-appropriate and functionally- appropriate motor and sport activities. These activities include:
- Mobility – leading to gymnastics
- Dexterity – leading to athletics
- Striking – leading to softball
- Kicking – leading to soccer
- Manual wheelchair – leading to athletics
- Aquatics – leading to swimming
Also included in the Motor Activities Training Guide (available from the area office) are a number of sections relating to handling and positioning, sensory awareness, group games, behavior modification and a model training plan. Those interested in becoming a certified MATP coach must attend a three-hour training school. Certification is valid indefinitely under the following conditions:
- The certified individual remains active in coaching athletes in MATP.
Motor Activities Training Program Director
Contact for Questions:
6606 Barbarella Court
Houston, TX 77088