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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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?
Training clinics are available at local, area, regional and chapter levels for:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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 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:
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.
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].
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.
The area training manager is responsible for:
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:
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:
Contact for Questions:
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Houston, TX 77088