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If you have been looking for an opportunity to coach Special Olympics Athletes, start the process by becoming a certified coach.  Familiarize yourself with Steps for Becoming and Staying a Certified Coach.


Are You A Bronze, Silver or Gold Level Coach?

We want to challenge our coaches; both new and seasoned members of our team. The newly developed SOPA Coach Training and Progression Plan will guide coaches through our education system and provide them the opportunity for additional education and new skills.

The journey begins with the basics in the Certified Coach Level. In these level, coaches complete three basic trainings: Protective Behaviors, General Orientation, and Concussion Training followed by completing the skills training of their chosen sport. 

The Bronze Level provides the next level of training. This includes the course Coaching Special Olympics Athletes  and implementing Fit 5 during athlete training sessions. Coaches MUST sign-up for Fit 5 to receive the training and materials.

The Silver Level will build upon the Bronze level and include the Principles of Coaching and Coaching Unified Sports  courses as well as athlete goal setting and year round training. The Gold Level will build upon the Silver level and the coach will learn advanced tactics for their sport of choice and work with their athletes on tracking and achieving their personal best performance goals.

View our Coach Recognition Levels flyer for more information.

Once you complete a level you must submit the Sports Training Application for Coaches Progression Plan B, S, & G Application to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . When reviewed you will be notified that you have completed that level and are ready to begin the requirements for the next level.

For more information contact Jennifer Tresp, Training & Unified Sports Director at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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  • Complete a SOPA Volunteer Application and Class A Background Checks (for 18 and over).

  • General OrientationClick here for Online Training. This is a general introduction to Special Olympics and any new volunteer or coach should take this training prior to working with athletes.
  • Protective Behaviors – Online Training that must now be completed every three years.  Available by clicking here, this training must be completed by all new and existing Class A volunteers (16 years of age and older) prior to working with Special Olympics athletes.
  • Concussion Training - Online Training that must now be completed every three years. This training must be completed by all new and existing Coaches prior to working with Special Olympics athletes.  Click here to learn more.
  • New Coach (skills) - Specific to your Sport Training Schools. Sports Training Application *Please note: There is no online training available for new coaches.
  • Coaching Special Olympics Athletes- this course is an overview of four components: athlete, coach, training and competition.  If you are a new coach with sport experience you are encouraged to take this course instead of a basic Skills Course.  Pre-approval is required. Track 2 Application
  • Continuing Education Training - this training is for certified coaches.  Coaches must receive continuing education training every 3 years to maintain their certification.  Without this training coach certification expires which means the coach would need to take the new coach skills course over again.  For a complete list of courses which will meet the Continuing Education requirement of the SOPA Coach Education Program, please click hereTo submit for continuing education, download the Continuing Education Training Application.

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1. Sunday, January 27, 2019 – Floor Hockey Skills Training (Beaver County - North West)

  • Location:  Saint Monica Catholic Academy, 609 10th, Beaver Falls, PA 15010
  • Time: 12:00 pm – 3:30 pm

2. February 4, 2019 – Athletics Skills in Easton (Northampton – North East)

  • Time - 3 to 6 pm
  • Location - Charles Chrin Community Center, 4100 Green Pond Road, Palmer, PA 18045

3. Sunday, March 24, 2019 – Athletics Skills Training – Montgomery County (South East)

  • Location:  Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School, 201 E Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462  
  • Time:  9:00 AM to 11:30 AM 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.      10. 1011111.

**Alpine Training Opportunities - Hidden Valley and Seven Springs**

Help Wanted: The success of a training school is measured by the quality of instruction.  If you are very knowledgeable about your sport including successful experiences as a coach, teacher and presenter please consider volunteering to be a Special Olympics Sport Clinician.  Click here for Clinician Application

Any questions, call 1-800-235-9058, ext. 245.  Join the team of Special Olympics Heroes!

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All Webinars will be the 2nd Wednesday of the month at 12:00pm. If interested in attending click the REGISTRATION link, once registered you will receive a call-in number and link to join the Webinar. If you are unable to be at a computer for the sessions, you can participate via the phone.

Webinars with an asterisk (*) will be eligible as Continuing Education courses. In order to receive the credit coaches must participate live or view recorded webinar from the SOPA website then submit a short quiz.   

2019 DATES


January 9

Start the Year Off Right - Sports Wellness

February 13

Spread the Word - New Theme and Resources

March 13

Team Assessments - Importance of and How To: Basketball and Softball

April 10

Volunteer Recruitment and Recognition

May 8

Goal Setting and Personal Best - Setting, Tracking, Recognition

June 12

Utilizing GMS – Regis. & Local Program Events

July 10

Team Assessments - Importance of and How To: Soccer and Volleyball

August 14

Athlete Fitness/Fitness Coordinators

September 11

SOPA Resources 101

October 9


November 13


December 11


Did you miss our 2018 Lunch & Learn Series? No worries. Click on the below PDF to access old recordings.


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Tell us in what sports areas your coaches need to receive training, and we will work to create training opportunities. There is no guarantee that the training will be held in your county, but the training will be offered in the surrounding area.  Please click on the link below to complete the Coaches Skills Certification Request Form for your desired sport and sports season – prior to the established due date.


  Winter Coaches Certification

Trainings Offered: October - January  (Due Date: August 31, 2018)

Associated Sports: Alpine Skiing, Cross Country Skiing, Speed Skating, Snowshoeing, Figure Skating, Floor Hockey


  Summer Coaches Certification

Trainings  Offered: January -  March  (Due Date: December 3, 2018)

Associated Sports: Athletics, Swimming, Basketball, Golf, Softball, Gymnastics, Equestrian, Tennis


    Fall Coaches Certification

Trainings  Offered: Late July - September  (Due Date: June 29, 2018)

Associated Sports: Soccer, Volleyball, Powerlifting, Bocce, Bowling, Roller Skating, LDR/W

  • There is no guarantee that the training will be offered in your county, but within the surrounding area.
  • Current Coach Training School dates and locations are listed above.
  • Training School Fees are $10.00 per coach.
  • SOPA reserves the right to cancel a sport or the entire training if there are less then 2 volunteers registered.

If you have any questions please contact Jennifer Tresp at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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Submit Training Numbers to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Fall Training Numbers

2018 Due Dates:

  • Program Review Period: December 28, 2018 – January 11, 2019
  • Allocations for 2019 Fall Festival: January 19th

Attendance Records -

Training attendance records are detailed Excel spreadsheets that maintain your training sites’ attendance for athletes and coaches.  The athlete Excel spreadsheet requests information such as gender, age, attended practices, events attended, and the medical expiration date.  The coach Excel spreadsheet requests information such as certification date, completion of concussion training, general orientation, protective behaviors, events attended and attended practices.  The primary goal of these attendance sheets is to ensure your coaches can submit exactly what is needed to complete your programs training numbers.

Attendance Record for Athletes, Partners and Coaches

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Training Coordinators Conference Calls:

Twice a year Training Coordinators Conference Calls will be held to provide updates and reminders. You will be able to find these presentations here.

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Sports Certification and Continuing Education:

Online Courses -

Through new online course offerings, Special Olympics Pennsylvania coaches may now take online courses to either earn (Track 2 only) or maintain their certifications. New online courses introduced by Special Olympics North American in conjunction with American Sports Education Program (ASEP) and the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) include Coaching Special Olympics Athletes and Coaching Unified Sports.  Completion of the Coaching Special Olympics Athletes and Coaching Unified Sports courses fulfill the continuing education requirement for all sports in which an individual is currently certified.  Individuals who qualify to earn their initial sports certification following Track 2 of the SOPA Coach Education Program may take the online Coaching Special Olympics Athletes course in place of attending the in-person training course.

Special Olympics Pennsylvania makes these courses available to coaches, but does not prepare the content, nor do we set the fees for those courses with a cost.  It does not receive any portion of those amounts charged per course. 

Sports Certification -

Track Two Coaching Certification – Coaching Special Olympics Athletes Online Course:

Individuals with extensive prior coaching or playing background in a sport in which they want to become certified may earn their certification by completing the new Coaching Special Olympics Athletes online course offered by the American Sport Education Program.  (Please note this course costs $16.95 per person and individuals have one year to complete the course from the time they register for it.)

To earn a Track Two Coaching Certification using the Coaching Special Olympics Athletes online course a coach must:

  • Complete the Special Olympics General Orientation.  After review the material click on the Online Training Test, click finish after providing us with your information and answering all the questions on the General Orientation Quiz.
  • Complete the Special Olympics Protective Behaviors Training.
  • Submit for review and approval a Sport History Application outlining their experience in the sport.  (If approved, the coach would complete the below steps.  If denied, the coach must earn their certification by completing the Track One certification steps outlined on the SOPA Coach Overview page of the Website.
  • Register for and complete the Coaching Special Olympics Athletes online course.
  • Complete a 10 hour practicum coaching athletes in the sport in which they want to become certified.
  • Complete and submit the Special Olympics Sports Training Application.

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Continuing Education (Recertification) Course Options:

By completing one of the continuing education courses, which has “recertification for all current sports certifications” written after it, and completing and submitting a Sports Training Application each current certification will be renewed for three additional years regardless of the date it was earned.  Completion of those courses listing "recertification only" for a specific sport will renew current certifications in that sport only for three additional years.

Continuing Education Course Options

Proof of completion of the course must be submitted along with a completed Sports Training Application before the coach record will be updated to reflect completion of continuing education and recertification.  Coaches applying for continuing education credit are no longer required to complete 10 hours of practicum time working with athletes.

For a complete list of courses (both online and in-person) which will meet the Continuing Education requirement of the SOPA Coach Education Program, please click here .

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