“I’m stuck at work, our first practice is tonight and I won’t have time to get home to grab my coach’s binder and make it to the gym in time to go over the new rules for this year and share everything my athletes and coaches need to know for this year!  What am I going to do?”

Has this ever happened to you?  Assistant coaches aren’t around?  Not sure what to do?

Good news: www.sonc.org has you covered!  With recent revisions to the Sports Programs pages, you’ll now find:

SONC Sports - At your Fingertips

Simply go to www.sonc.org/sportsoffered for a list of all the sports we offer and to view the current SONC and National Governing Body Rules, information about becoming certified and more!

Certification - Build your Expertise

Every Special Olympics program across the country has a Coaches Education System (CES), where coaches are required, encouraged and incentivized to partake in a variety of training courses designed to improve coaching and the experience for the athletes.

SONC offers:

  • Training for new coaches
  • Re-Certification for veteran coaches
  • Rewards for all certified coaches

If you are a registered coach, you can become certified in as many sports as we offer.  There is also an online Coaching Special Olympics Athletes (CSOA) course that qualifies for certification.

Certification - What’s New

Beginning January 2018, the following requirements will be in effect:

  • Regional Competitions - Each team must have a certified coach register and attend
  • Summer Games - Each delegation (county) must have a certified coach register and attend for each sport
  • Regional Competitions and Summer Games - In order to submit a protest, a coach must be certified
  • USA Games and World Games - All coaches must be certified to attend
  • Incentives - Depending on the type of certification you complete, you may be eligible to receive a sport lapel pin and/or a certificate of completion

Re-Certification - Easier than Ever

If you’re currently certified in a sport, or it has been less than a year since your certification expired, it is easy to renew your certification.  There are three options:

  1. Take one of the new Sport-Specific Re-Certification Quizzes (additional sports and CSOA re-certification options coming soon).   As long as you achieve a passing grade, you’ll be set for another three years!
  2. Attend an in-person, or take an online, certification course.
  3. Become a Certified CES Clinician (certain requirements apply)

Visit www.sonc.org/coacheseducation for more information about the various courses offered and other information about SONC’s Coaches Education System.

More Resources are Available

In addition to the above, the new Coaches Resources page at www.sonc.org/coachesresources has a number of avenues you can explore:

  • Policies & Procedures
    • Code of Conduct
    • Travel & Housing
    • Competition
    • Training
  • Volunteer Recognition & News
    • See what your fellow coaches are up to and view past “Huddle” newsletters

Looking for Contributors

In 2018, we aim to build our Coaches Resources for all coaches, including information related to:

  • Training - drills, approaches, ideas, etc.
  • Competition - approaches, strategies, etc.
  • Working with Special Olympics Athletes and Unified Partners - specific diagnoses, behaviors, situations, etc.
  • Athlete Health and Performance - including outside resources, take home information, free services, etc.
  • Team Management - communications, newsletters, best practices, etc.

If you have resources you use, or you have a special interest to contribute towards this effort, please reach out to Jeff Ruthenberg, Vice President of Sports Programs, at jeffr@sonc.org.

Don’t Miss Out on the Action

Make sure to check out our Competition Calendar for the latest on Regional Competitions in your area as well as Summer Games!