Coaches Play A Unique and Indispensable Role in Special Olympics Programs.

More than 200 certified Special Olympics coaches in the West Virginia provide Special Olympics athletes with the sports skills and competitive spirit that define a true athlete.

Coaches not only provide skills training for athletes, but they are also role models and character builders. Coaches give Special Olympics athletes the most immediate awareness of their own worth, ability, courage and capacity to grow and improve.

Coaches include students, business people, family members of athletes, amateur and professional athletes and coaches, teachers and many others.  Coaches fill a variety of different roles for Special Olympics  West Virginia at the local, state, national and international levels. 

Special Olympics West Virginia coaches train athletes in one or more sports, including:

  • Alpine skiing                    
  • Aquatics                               
  • Basketball                    
  • Bocce                            
  • Bowling                        
  • Cheerleading                
  • Cross Country Skiing                 
  • Cycling                        
  • Equestrian
  • Football  Skills    
  • Golf
  • Kayaking
  • Power Lifting
  • Roller Skating
  • Snowboarding
  • Snowshoeing
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Tennis
  • Track and Field
  • Volley ball        

Special Olympics coaches:

  • Assist athletes in learning sports skills.    
  • Encourage confidence and self-esteem through sport.
  • Obtain equipment for athletic training.
  • Conduct demonstrations in new sports.
  • Start Special Olympics Unified Sports teams.

How it Works

Special Olympics coaches become interested in coaching often after they participate at an event. Although playing experience in a sport is not required to be eligible to coach, individuals should have a basic knowledge of the sport and its rules.

To become a certified Special Olympics coach, an individual must participate in a training course. The first level of training is the volunteer orientation, which offers information on Special Olympics as an organization, rules, programs, intellectual disabilities, and the stipulations for eligibility. After completing the orientation, the prospective coach attends a coaches' clinic in that specific sport and  must complete a 10-hour practicum in which they train athletes. Upon completion, he or she is eligible for certification.

Special Olympics coaches often find that the personal rewards they receive are equal to or even outweigh the benefits that can offer the athletes they train. Special Olympics coaches have a unique opportunity to work with athletes in competitive situations, allowing the athlete to “Inspire Greatness.”

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