Coaching Special Olympics Athletes

Coaching Special Olympics Athletes

ISBN 9781450412827

Regular price $8.48 Sale price $16.95

Course Components
The course fee includes access to the online course and test; Special Olympics PDF resources, photos, audio, video, and narrated presentations; one-year access to the course and resources; automatic test scoring; certificate of course completion printable from the website; and entry in the National Coaches Registry. Nothing will be shipped to you, and you will have immediate access to the course upon purchase.

Course Description
Every contact you have with your athletes is a chance to help them build character, grow personally, and improve their sport skills. When you master the content of the Coaching Special Olympics Athletes online course, you’ll be equipped to do just that. 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.

This interactive online course mirrors the Special Olympics classroom course, and it
  • appeals to a wide range of learning preferences because it engages coaches through a variety of methods and media, including video, audio, narrated presentations, photos, dynamic learning interactions, and quizzes;
  • meets the training needs and standards that are specific to Special Olympics;
  • ensures compliance with Special Olympics coaching education requirements for first-time coaches; and
  • offers a convenient and inexpensive way for veteran coaches to earn continuing education credits.
Designed to fit into your busy schedule, this online course offers you 24/7 accessibility at a cost that is lower than what most coaches pay for meals and gas when attending a classroom course. More important, it covers non-sport-specific aspects of coaching that you need in order to be a successful Special Olympics coach.

Learning Objectives
The course material is divided into four units.

In the first unit, you learn all about the athletes—including the mental, physical, and social factors that can influence their ability to learn and take part in sports.

The second unit focuses on specific teaching and training techniques, effective communication strategies, and tips for avoiding common pitfalls when coaching Special Olympics athletes.

Next, you'll learn how to prepare for competition and maximize positive outcomes for your athletes, including creating competition plans and individual athlete development plans.

In the final unit, you’ll explore methods for managing your program and facilitating the development of your athletes' sport and interpersonal skills in a safe environment.

The athlete-centered material in the Coaching Special Olympics Athletes course reinforces how to respect all athletes, how to train and encourage them, how to improve their self-confidence, and how to help them excel by building on their unique strengths and abilities and shine as they take part in what can be the most positive life-changing experience they will ever have.


This course prepares first-time Special Olympics coaches to use their sport-specific knowledge in coaching athletes with intellectual disabilities. For veteran Special Olympics coaches, this course serves as a reminder of the essentials sometimes forgotten after years of coaching. The course also satisfies the Special Olympics recertification or continuing education requirement.
Unit 1: The Athlete—Different Abilities and Challenges
  • Identify the four psychological considerations that affect an athlete’s ability to develop the skills necessary for sport participation.
  • Recognize the core medical considerations that most frequently influence individuals with intellectual disability.
  • Identify social considerations that affect an athlete’s participation.

Unit 2: Teaching and Training the Athlete
  • Identify effective components of instruction and when and how to use them.
  • Determine the training sequence needed in order for athletes to learn the skills to play the sport.
  • Distinguish and use effective communication skills.
  • Identify behavior challenges and effective strategies to improve learning.

Unit 3: The Coach—Preparing for and Coaching During Competition
  • Identify the necessary steps and their importance in preparing for competition, including creating a competition plan.
  • Demonstrate and reinforce good sportsmanship and respect for the sport, competition, officials, opponents, teammates, coaches, and self.
  • Commit to and reinforce athletes’ striving to do their best during training, divisioning, and competition.
  • Provide opportunities for athletes to demonstrate self-confidence, self-sufficiency, and independence.
  • Focus on rewarding efforts, positive attitudes, and goals achieved.
  • Use an individual athlete development plan and competition to measure success and identify areas for improvement.

Unit 4: Managing the Program
  • Define your responsibilities as a Special Olympics coach.
  • Describe the range of preparations and their importance—season planning, practice planning, and developing individual athlete plans.
  • Identify the importance of managing relationships—with parents, other coaches, and other volunteers involved in the program.
  • Provide a safe environment, including provisions for emergencies and minor injuries.
Special Olympics is an international year-round program of sports training and competition for individuals with intellectual disabilities. More than 4.2 million athletes in more than 170 countries train and compete in 30 Olympic-type individual and team sports. Both summer and winter sports are offered.

Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to develop fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy as they participate in the sharing of gifts and friendship with their families and community.

Established in 1981 and rooted in an athlete-centered philosophy that places the developmental needs of athletes ahead of winning at all costs, Human Kinetics Coach Education courses and resources are customized and widely used by youth sport organizations, state high school associations, school districts, state departments of education, colleges and universities, and national governing bodies of Olympic sports to teach, train, and certify coaches.