Coach Training Information

This page lists various in-person and online training opportunities for Special Olympics Kansas coaches. Please refer to the General Coach Overview page for the requirements to be a Special Olympics Kansas Coach. 

Special Olympics Kansas is dedicated to providing potential coaches with quality trainings and information that will allow them to become successful Special Olympics coaches. We believe the key to improving athletic performance and maintaining the well-being of our athletes is to have trained coaches. The Better the Coach…The Better the Experiences…The Better the Athlete. With this in mind we have created the Special Olympics Kansas Coaches’ Training System which defines minimum criteria that coaches should meet. It also lays the foundation to create a continuing education program for our coaches.

Coach Training System

Coaches are not be permitted on the field/bench at a regional or state competition without the following documents on file with SOKS:

Step 1: Complete Class A Form – Please note the Class A form must be on file and up to date with SOKS prior to coaching.

Step 2: Complete the on-line Protective Behaviors training. The training is valid for 3 years rounded to the end of the year.

Step 3: Concussion training. Certificate or documentation of training must be sent into the SOKS Headquarters and on file with SOKS for training to be valid. The training is valid for 3 years rounded to the end of the year. Approved on-line courses:

1) National Federation of High Schools (NFHS)

2) Center for Disease Control (CDC)

Volunteers completing just the minimum requirements listed above will be considered Assistant Coaches. View General Coach Overview

Individuals working with the team but not as a coach on the field/bench instructing the athletes are considered Program Assistants still and are required to have Class A and Protective Behavior training on file and up to date. Current Local Program volunteers click here to view your local programs current volunteer status.  For questions, please contact SOKS at

Certified Coaches

To become a Special Olympics Certified Coach an individual will complete the minimum requirements listed below:

Step 4: General Orientation Course (below) – Course includes: 1) General Orientation to Special Olympics Kansas 2) Principles of Coaching 3) Athlete Centered Coaching Guide 4) Code of Conduct.

Step 5: Sport Specific Training (below) – Coaches should complete sport specific training in each sport they choose to coach. The training is valid for 3 years rounded to the end of the year.

Option 1 (preferred): Attend a Face-to-Face sport specific training conducted by Special Olympics Kansas staff or by an instructor* approved by the Regional Director and Sr. VP of Program Operations. (Documentation of attendance required). Dates for Fall training schools will be posted by 7/01; Winter and Spring training schools will be posted by 11/31; Dates for Summer Sports will be posted by 4/01.

Option 2: Complete a Special Olympics on-line sport specific quiz.

Option 3: Complete on-line or face-to-face ASEP or NFHS sport specific training. Coach must submit documentation of course completion to SOKS. Note: There are fees for some courses conducted by these organizations. Coaches are responsible for any fees associated with these courses.

*An instructor must be a certified coach in that sport and have coached for SOKS for 3 years, or special considerations as approved by the CEO/President. The training would include criteria approved by SOKS staff including the requirement of 80% passing grade on a written exam.

Re-Certification Process (Sport-Specific training)

Each coaches’ sport specific training will be valid for 3 years rounded to the end of the year. At that time coaches may choose a training from the list below or choose to re-take Options 1-3 under Step 5. We strongly encourage coaches to select different options for each recertification. Please contact SOKS if you would like SOKS to consider a training course for recertification.

Approved Courses for re-certification:

1) First Aid – (SOKS Approved)
2) CPR – (SOKS Approved)
3) Coaching Unified Sports – NFHS
4) Heat Illness Prevention – NFHS
5) Sportsmanship – NFHS
6) Bullying, Hazing and Inappropriate Behaviors- NFHS

SOKS Appreciation for Certified Coaches

At time of initial Certification coaches will receive a Certified Coach Lapel Pin

Active coaches that are already certified per the previous policy taking effect on August 1, 2016 will receive their certificate and lapel pin. Gifts of appreciation for years of service to Special Olympics Kansas as a certified coach will be implemented in the near future.

General Orientation

To become a Certified Coach, the SOKS General Orientation must be completed. The SOKS General Orientation is a 1 time only training.

Please review the documents below and then complete the questions on the General Orientation Quiz.

General Orientation 

Athlete Centered Coaching Guide

Principles of Coaching

Coaches Code of Conduct

Concussion Training

American Specialties (Special Olympics insurance broker) and SOI require states to implement a Concussion Policy. The Policy includes a mandatory on-line concussion training for all Special Olympics Kansas coaches. Upon completion of the training, a coach must submit their certification of completion to SOKS. Please print out the certificate and send completed certificate to or fax 913-236-9290.  Documentation must be on file with SOKS.  Renewed every 3 years rounded to the end of the year.  Please keep a copy of the certificate for your records. Contact SOKS if you have question.

Two available options:

CDC –  Concussion Training – On-Line Course 

NFHS – Concussion Training – On-Line Course

Fitness Training

Fitness for Sports Coach (Free) — Teaches sports coaches the very basics of fitness and how to easily integrate principles of fitness within their practice as seamlessly as possible. Also points coaches to resources they can use for fitness.

Fitness Coach (Free) — This is a new volunteer role for fitness professionals or others that have a strong background in fitness and want to really amplify fitness as part of the sports experience either with a team or local program. It goes beyond the information in the Sport coach and talks about what they might do in their role. We see this role as something that can help coaches that feel they don’t have the knowledge or time to focus on the fitness elements of practice.

Inclusive Fitness (Free) — This module is for fitness professionals who want to learn more about how to work with people with intellectual disabilities in their own fitness setting. We have partnered with American Council on Exercise (ACE), a well-known fitness certifying body, to create videos that showcase communication, teaching, and motivation strategies as well as specific exercise prescription considerations. We hope this opens up more inclusive fitness opportunities for our athletes within their community.

All three of these online courses are available in the Special Olympics Online Learning Portal Accessible Here.

Sport Specific Training

Special Olympics Kansas offer year-round training and athletic competition in 20 Olympic-type sports to children and adults with Intellectual Disabilities. Participation is open to anyone ages 8 and older, and programs are designed to serve all ability levels. For sport rules, rules updates, coaching guides and more, visit Special Olympics Inc. Coaching Guide Page.

To view Special Olympics Kansas sport specific information (ie, rules, coaches certification tests and events offered), please click here.

Additional Online Courses/Resources

Special Olympics Online Learning Portal – A growing number of Special Olympics coaching courses are available for free at the relatively new SO online Learning Portal. Check it out here

Coaching Special Olympics Athletes (Small Fee) – 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. Register Here

Coaching Unified Sports (Free) – Unified Sports is an inclusive sports program that unites Special Olympics athletes (individuals with intellectual disabilities) and partners (individuals without intellectual disabilities) as teammates for training and competition. This course will help you understand and implement Special Olympics Unified Sports in your school. This course is also great for coaches and LPCs working with community Unified Sports programs. Register Here

A Coach’s Playbook: Introduction to Autism and Instructional Strategies for Coaching (Free) – As the diagnosis of autism is becoming more prevalent, it is important that our coaches and volunteers are trained to work alongside our athletes who have Autism Spectrum Disorders. View Here