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Remember 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:


  • I will respect the rights, dignity and worth of athletes, coaches, other volunteers, friends and spectators in Special Olympics.

  • 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.


  • 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 athlete’s ability.

  • 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 Sports Rules.

  • I will ensure that athletes are properly attired.


  • 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, etc.).

  • 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 competitions.

  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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 that form.

  • 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.



Volunteer forms and required online courses:

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 and the online Concussion course. Please see the below:





Coaching guides, rules and information:


Please send your volunteer application and both certificates of completion for the online classes above to

Tammy Cale:




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