Coach Training and Certification

Coach Training and Certification


In order to provide Special Olympics athletes with a quality experience in sport, coaches are expected to attain a minimum level of qualification, and are supported in their pursuit of coach training. 


All coaches are required to have completed the Special Olympics Canada National Coaching Certification Program (SOC/NCCP) Community or Competition Coach Technical course as well as the Coaches Association of Canada’s Making Headway, within the first year of their assignment or placement


A Look at Coaching Certification Requirements


The first thing to understand about coaching certification requirements is that there are three streams of courses:

  • Multi-Sport
  • Special Olympics
  • Sport Specific

Each stream acts independently and has separate contact information regarding upcoming courses. The courses themselves are administered independently. However, all courses that you take in any of these streams are part of the National Coaching Certification Program and you will receive certification credits for the courses on your transcript.



Multi-Sport Modules


The First stream, Multi-Sport, is administered by the Coaches Association of Ontario. These courses explore central themes in coaching and sport. There are a variety of ways the modules can be taken including in person workshops, Homestudy and online courses.


You can find information regarding upcoming Multi-Sport modules at:


To coach at the Provincial Games coaches are required to take the Making Ethical Decisions module and online evaluations along with either the Sport Specific training for the sport they will be coaching at Games (see Sport Specific section below) or any two of the modules listed below:


Competition Introduction Modules

Competition Development Modules

Making Ethical Decisions (MED)

Psychology of Performance

Planning a Practice

Leading Drug Free Sport


Managing Conflict

Design a Sport Program

Prevention and Recovery of Injury

Basic Mental Skills

Developing Athletic Ability

Teaching and Learning

Coaching and Leading Effectively


Managing a Sport Program


Advanced Practice Planning


Performance Planning

*Coaches that have Theory Level 1 on their transcript meet the certification requirement for this portion.


Making Headway in Sports


All coaches are required to take one of the Making Headway in Sports, concussion awareness, free online module. It is expected that all coaches will take this module within their first year of volunteering with us. This is a mandatory course for any coach that would like to apply to coach at the Provincial Games.


The modules can be found on the Coaches Association of Canada’s website at:



Special Olympics Courses


The second stream, Special Olympics Technical, has been developed in partnership between Special Olympics Canada and the NCCP. These courses are only offered to Special Olympics volunteers and it is required that all SO coaches take one of these courses within their first year of volunteering with the organization.


There are two SOC Technical courses that are offered and each has its own set of curriculum. The SOC courses are independent of each other, neither course is a prerequisite for the other course and volunteers only need to take one or the other depending on their coaching aspirations.


To view and register for all upcoming SOC coaching courses in Ontario please visit the Special Olympics Ontario Events Calendar, courses typically run from September-December and March-May.  


SOC Community Sport Coach Course

This course was designed for our community coaches that work with beginner athletes or those athletes that really just practice or compete at a community level.


The course goes over the following material: setting the scene, analyzing the SO athlete, fundamental motor skills, planning a practice (specific to SO), safety and risk management, and ethical decision making.


You can coach at Provincial games as an assistant coach after taking this course.


SOC Competitive Sport Coach Course

This course was developed for those SO coaches that work with competitive athletes.


The material that will be covered in this course is as follows: planning a safe practice for the SO athlete, associated disabilities, planning a practice and emergency action plan, analyzing the SO athlete, modifying the practice for the SO athlete, and supporting the competitive environment.


This course is a requirement for Head coaches at the Provincial games and for all coaches that would like to coach at National or International games.



Sport Specific Courses


Sport specific courses have been created in partnership between your National or Provincial Sport Organizations and the NCCP. Each NSO or PSO administers its own sport specific courses and has its own set of guidelines for which courses coaches in their sport need to be certified in.


You can find a listing of the NSO/PSO links by visiting:


It is recommended the Provincial Games Head Coaches have Sport Specific training.



Coaches Training at a Glance 






NCCP Registration 

Coaches Association of Ontario (CAO) 

All Coaches – Mandatory 

SOC Competitive Sport Coach 


All Coaches – Mandatory

Making Headway in Sports 


All Coaches – Mandatory 

Making Ethical Decisions (MED) 


All Coaches – Mandatory 

Making Ethical Decisions (MED)  Online 


All Coaches – Mandatory 

Sport Specific Courses 


All Coaches 

National Games Coaches – Mandatory