Become a Coach

Become a Coach - Special Olympics NSCoaches play a unique and indispensable role in Special Olympics around the world.

Coaches provide the sports skills and spirit that define a true athlete.

In addition, coaches are 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. Special Olympics coaches:

  • Help to recruit athletes and assistant coaches.
  • Assist athletes in learning sports skills and applying them in competitions.
  • Encourage confidence and self-esteem through sport.
  • Conduct demonstrations in the community.

Special Olympics coaches often find that the personal rewards received are equal to or even outweigh the benefits they offer the athletes. Special Olympics coaches have a unique opportunity to work with athletes in competitive situations to assist in their training for life.

What is the minimum age for a coach?

Coaches can be certified at age 16; however, all Head Coaches must be at least 18 years old.

What volunteer opportunities are available for minor (under age 18) volunteers?

Volunteers that are at least 16 years old can be certified in any Special Olympics sport. Volunteers that are younger than 16 can provide coaching assistance and event and competition support under the supervision of a parent, guardian or certified head coach or assistant coach.

Can a family member coach an athlete?

Absolutely. Special Olympics relies on the families of the athletes for a variety of volunteer positions. The age restrictions noted above apply to all family coaches.

How does a coach become certified?

To become a certified coach for Special Olympics, the following must be completed:

  • Online Orientation: a 90 minute session that introduces volunteers to the Speical Olympics movement.
  • Completion of a thorough Police & Vulnerable Sectors background checks
  • Complete the Special Olympics Competition Course.  An 10 hour NCCP (National Coaching Certification Program) course offered throughout the Province, please contact the Provincial office to register or get further information.
  • Complete the sport specific NCCP (National Coaching Certification Program) Course in the sport the volunteer is coaching.
  • Coaches who wish to apply for positions on the Provincial & National Team must also be fully certified Sport Technical in the sport they are coaching (offered through the Provincial Sport Org.) as well as fully certified Special Olympics Competition Course (offered through Special Olympics Nova Scotia).

Step-by-Step Coach On-Boarding Process:

  • Step 1: Volunteer contacts Chapter/Local Program
  • Step 2: Chapter/Local Program representative meets w/ volunteer for screening/placement purposes (in-person/phone) and checks their references.
  • Step 3: Volunteer is assigned to a program
  • Step 4: Volunteer attends Chapter/Local Program orientation event (if applicable)
  • Step 5: Volunteer completes the online orientation and quiz/Police Record & Vulnerable Sectors Check. If a PRC has been completed within the last 12 months, volunteers will not be asked to complete another one at this time.
  • Step 6: Volunteer starts with program
  • Step 7: Volunteer completes NCCP training (coaches only) Must be completed within 1 year of starting with a program

To begin your coaching experience with Special Olympics, please complete these forms:

and send them along to the regional coordinator or registrar in your desired community.

If you have any other questions, please contact:
Matt Quinn (Program Director) – mquinn@specialolympicsns.ca – (902) 429-2266 x 4

For more information on coaching please visit the following websites:


Coaching Resources

Special Olympics Nova Scotia offers over 16 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.

Coaches are a critical component of Special Olympics. A coach is a key figure in an athlete’s life, providing the sports skills and spirit that define a true athlete. Coaches serve as role models and character builders, giving Special Olympics athletes awareness of their worth, ability, courage and capacity to grow and improve. Special Olympics coaches also have a direct impact on athletes’ lives by helping them acquire skills that can influence their abilities to obtain employment, succeed in school and achieve personal goals.

Volunteer coaches come from all walks of life and backgrounds, and don’t need prior experience – we provide the necessary training and resources. To be a Special Olympics coach, all you need is a compassionate nature, a desire to help others and a lot of enthusiasm.

Please click one of the sports below for information concerning coaching guides, rules, and quick start guides:

Programs