Coaches Corner

Coaches play a unique role in Special Olympics, working hands-on with athletes to provide the sports skills and spirit they need to compete.

To be a Special Olympics coach, you don’t have to have prior experience – we provide the necessary training. What you do need is the enthusiasm and desire to make a positive impact on the lives of athletes.

Congratulations to the Team Montana coaches selected for the 2018 USA Games!

  • Athletics – Greg Grove, Eureka
  • Bocce – Kris Kelly, Polson & Kathy Wanner, Great Falls
  • Bowling – Joey Hancock, Bozeman
  • Powerlifting – Mark Kuhr, Whitefish

NEW COACHES

NEW coaches to Special Olympics Montana (SOMT) or current coaches who wish to be certified in a new sport, must complete the following steps in order to achieve certification (click on the red letters to be taken to the link).

  • A Volunteer Application (www.somt.org/resources)  must be approved by the State Office. A background check will be conducted on individuals 18 years of age and older. You will receive notice by mail when your application is accepted. The volunteer application must be resubmitted every three (3) years. Applications may be submitted to the State Office at PO Box 3507, Great Falls, MT 59403 or faxed to 406-454-9043.
  • Online Protective Behaviors, which can be accessed at our website www.somt.org/resources. This training is required every three (3) years. SOMT is automatically notified when an individual completes the training.
  • The general session can also be done online, and be accessed at our website, as well. View the MS PowerPoint presentation and then download the test and complete. The test must be sent to the State Office at PO Box 3507, Great Falls, MT 59403 or faxed to 406-454-9043. This is the second half of the Level I Training and is a one-time only requirement.
  • Concussion Training — The Centers for Disease Control concussion training provides guidance for coaches to recognize a concussion and know how to respond if an athlete might have a concussion. Beginning in 2017, coaches are required to complete this training and quiz every three years.
  • An in-person classroom training session. This session covers all the basics you need to become a coach; General orientation, protective behaviors, new volunteer application, and sports rules/skills training. A coach who completes this in-person course, passes their background check satisfactorily, and completes concussion training, will be certified in their desired sport. This class covers everything you can do online.
  • To stay updated on the dates for the next in-person training for your area, visit the SOMT Facebook page or your area’s page.

RE-CERTIFYING COACHES

Starting in July 2017, SOMT will offer online re-certification courses for returning coaches. In order to qualify for online coach recertification, you must be a certified coach within the sport you want to be recertified in and/or your certification cannot have been expired for more than one year. Please note that the following items must be completed every three years for you to remain an active, certified coach (click on the red letters to be taken to the link).

  • A Volunteer Application must be approved by the State Office. A background check will be conducted on individuals 18 years of age and older. You will receive notice by mail when your application is accepted. The volunteer application must be resubmitted every three (3) years. Applications may be submitted to the State Office at PO Box 3507, Great Falls, MT 59403 or faxed to 406-454-9043.
  • Online Protective Behaviors. This training is required every three (3) years. SOMT is automatically notified when an individual completes the training.
  • Concussion Training — The Center for Disease Control concussion training provides guidance for coaches to recognize a concussion and know how to respond if an athlete might have a concussion. Complete this training and quiz every three years and mail or fax a copy of the certificate to SOMT, using the information above as the address.
  • Complete the sport specific quiz for the sport you wish to be re-certified in. Reminder: you will only be approved for re-certification if you were a certified coach in that sport within the past year (for example, if it is 2020, you need to have been certified in 2019. If your last certification was in 2018, you will not qualify). Click on the links below; they will take you to the quiz. All questions must be answered to be re-certified. For quizzes with 10 questions or more, you MUST receive a 90% or better in two tries to be re-certified online. For quizzes with less than 10 questions, you can only miss ONE question. Read carefully. Questions for the quiz come directly from the selected sport’s rule book, protest form, and basic SOMT knowledge and sportsmanship. Please review the rule book and protest form attached at the bottom of the page.

Rules

Special Olympics International official rule books

Special Olympics Montana basketball modification rules

Special Olympics Montana bowling modification rules

Protest form

Upcoming Events

  • Great Falls Summer Games Coach Training

    This is a training that will cover the basics of being a coach, as well as the rules of powerlifting...

    March 19 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm at SOMT State Office
  • Billings Summer Games Coach Training

    This is a training that will cover the basics of being a coach, as well as the rules of Swimming, Go...

    March 20 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm at Lewis and Clark Middle School
  • Bozeman Summer Games Coach Training

    This is a training that will cover the basics of being a coach, as well as the rules of Swimming, Go...

    March 21 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm at Bozeman High School

Useful Resources:

Athlete-Centered Coaching GuideThis guide is a general introduction to coaching adults and children with intellectual disabilities. This guide also includes a section focusing on some behaviors commonly associated with intellectual disabilities and effective strategies to improve athlete learning.

Sport Specific Coaching GuidesInternationally, Special Olympics offers 30-plus Olympic-style individual and team sports that provide meaningful training and competition opportunities for persons with intellectual disabilities. This page presents coaching guides, rules, quick-start guides and more. Utilize these guides – they are well researched, thorough, and often contain pre-made training plans.

Special Olympics Sport Sciences: Sport Psychology for Coaches This guide dives into how athletes learn, what motivates them, how to develop communication skills, and the psychological considerations for training and competition.


Coaches’ Education Program:

Simply put, athletes deserve highly trained coaches so they can reach their maximum potential. The better the coach -> the better the opportunities -> the better the athlete! The Special Olympics North America Coach Education System begins with a solid foundation in safety and builds from there; because Montana is such an expansive state, we want to make as many options for training available as possible.

 

Approved courses, seminars or workshops:
Special Olympics Montana is able to utilize the following courses or to design and personalize a variety of training formats (online courses; webinars; one-on-one peer mentoring) to meet the needs of coaches with varying backgrounds, as long as the standards and competencies are achieved. This also includes online courses from the National Governing Bodies, American Sport Education Program (ASEP), the National Federation of State High Schools (NFHS), Positive Coaching Alliance, Responsible Sports and others.

To apply for certification after taking one of these courses, please complete this form: Application for Coach Certification. Please contact Special Olympics Montana’s sports department for approval. Generally, most courses that help a coach become a better coach will be accepted.


Level I Coaches’ Training Courses:

Special Olympics is committed to coaching excellence. The most important thing to know as a coach in Special Olympics is that athletes are individuals, and coaching them is just like coaching any other youth or community sports team. But we recognize that there are some situations that make Special Olympics coaching unique, Athletes are people who have been identified as slow learners; beyond that, they are just like everyone else, individuals with unique challenges, talents, abilities and interests.

Coaching Unified Sports CourseUnified 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. Cost: Free.

A Coach’s Playbook: An Introduction to Autism and Instructional Strategies for CoachingOffered through Special Olympics Virginia, this course offers an introduction to autism and general strategies for coaching athletes with autism. As the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder is becoming more prevalent, it is important that our coaches are trained to work with athletes who are on the autism spectrum. Cost: Free.


Level II Coaches’ Training Courses:

Coaching Special Olympics Athletes CourseThrough 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. Cost is $16.95.

Principles of Coaching CourseSince the introduction of the Special Olympics training school for coaches in 1980, more than 265,000 volunteer coaches have been trained in seminars or courses conducted around the world. In reviewing the evaluations of these coaches’ training seminars, a comment appeared repeatedly of the wish that more time could have been spent in the seminar. West Virginia University Continuing & Professional Education, College of Physical Activity and Sports Sciences, and Special Olympics can now offer this online course as a result of those repeated requests.

Cost: $35. Average completion time for the course is 25-30 hours.


Resources:

Contact:

Scott Held
Sports Director
Phone: (406) 216-5327 ext 118
Email: SHeld@somt.org