the mentor, teacher or coach that made that difference in your life? The
one who gave you the courage and determination to strive to be your
best? The one who helped you shape both your performance and your
character? You can be that important figure in someone else’s life.
Coaches are a critical component of Special Olympics’ work. A coach is a
key figure in an athlete’s life, providing the sports skills and spirit
that define a true athlete. Coaches serve as role models and character
builders, giving Special Olympics athletes awareness of their worth,
ability, courage and capacity to grow and improve. Special Olympics
coaches also have a direct impact on athletes’ lives by helping them
acquire skills that can influence their abilities to obtain employment,
succeed in school and achieve personal goals.
Volunteer coaches come from all walks of life and
backgrounds, and don’t need prior experience-we provide the necessary
training and resources. To be a Special Olympics coach, all you need is
a compassionate nature, a desire to help others and a lot of enthusiasm.
Special Olympics Coach's Code of Conduct
Special Olympics is committed to the highest
ideals of sport and expects all coaches to act in a manner that both
contributes to the overall mission of Special Olympics and follows
Special Olympics Virginia policies. All Special Olympics Coaches agree
to observe the following code of conduct:
RESPECT FOR OTHERS
- I will respect the rights, dignity and worth of
athletes, coaches, other volunteers, friends and spectators in Special
- I will treat everyone equally regardless of
sex, ethnic origin, religion or ability.
- I will be a positive role model for the
athletes I coach.
- I will respect the property of hotels,
dormitories, athletic facilities and dining facilities.
ENSURE A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE
- I will ensure that the time spent with Special
Olympics is a positive experience for each athlete I coach.
- I will respect the talent, developmental stage
and goals of each athlete.
- I will ensure each athlete competes in events
that challenge that athlete’s potential and are appropriate to that
- I will be fair, considerate and honest with
athletes and communicate with athletes using simple, clear language.
- I will ensure that accurate scores are provided
for entry of an athlete into any event.
- I will instruct each athlete to perform to the
best of the athlete’s ability at all preliminary competitions and
final competition in accordance with the Official Special Olympics
- I will ensure that athletes are properly
ACT PROFESSIONALLY AND TAKE
RESPONSIBILITY FOR MY ACTIONS
- I will provide for the general welfare, health
and safety of all Special Olympics athletes in my charge during the
course of my assigned duties.
- My language, manner, punctuality, preparation
and presentation will demonstrate high standards.
- I will display control, respect, dignity and
professionalism to all involved in the sport (athletes, coaches,
opponents, officials, administrators, parents, spectators, media,
- I will encourage athletes to demonstrate the
same qualities as above.
- I will not smoke or chew tobacco at any Special
Olympics training or competition site except in designated areas.
- I will not drink alcohol or take illegal drugs
while representing Special Olympics at training sessions or during
- I will refrain from any form of personal abuse
towards athletes and others, including inappropriate or unwanted
sexual advances on others, verbal, physical and emotional abuse.
- I will be alert to any form of abuse from other
sources directed toward athletes in my care.
- I will abide by the Special Olympics policy on
the prohibition of coaches dating athletes.
- I will not engage in sexual activities during
any Special Olympics training or at competitions.
QUALITY SERVICE TO THE ATHLETES
- I will seek continual improvement through
performance evaluation and ongoing coach education.
- I will be knowledgeable about the sports rules
and skills of the sport(s) I coach.
- I will provide a planned training program.
- I will keep copies of the medical, training,
and competition records for each athlete I coach.
- I will follow the Special Olympics,
International Federation and National Federation/Governing Body rules
for my sport(s).
- I will be a positive role model for the
athletes in the program.
HEALTH AND SAFETY OF THE ATHLETES
- I will ensure that the equipment and facilities
used are safe.
- I will ensure that the sport equipment,
training plans and the environment are appropriate for the age and
ability of the athletes.
- I will review each athlete’s medical form and
be aware of any limitations on that athlete’s participation noted on
- I will encourage athletes to seek medical
advice when required.
- I will maintain the same interest and support
towards sick and injured athletes as healthy athletes.
- I will allow further participation in training
and competition after an illness or injury only when appropriate.
- I will report any emergencies to the
appropriate authorities after first taking immediate action to ensure
the health and safety of the participants.
- I will ensure that prescribed medications and
over-the-counter medications are taken at the proper times according
to instructions given by the parent/guardian.
All volunteers who are interested becoming a
coach, assistant coach, chaperone, or unified player must complete one
of the following Volunteer Class A registration forms. If you are over
18, you must also complete the online Protective Behaviors Training
Course. Please see the below:
Sports handbooks and rules:
Link to ALL coaching guides: