Welcome to Special Olympics Illinois!

You are about to become part of an exciting training and competition program and will serve an integral role in transforming the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics participation encompasses over 19 official sports, coaches’ training opportunities, Athlete Leadership Programs, Young Athletes sports play programs and community initiatives – truly a spectrum of choices! So let’s get started!


Coaches and Officials are integral to the success of Special Olympics. Anyone involved in coaching Special Olympics will tell you the personal rewards are great. They all share the same desire – to help the athletes be the best they can be. People with or without prior sports experience can train to be coaches. Get involved today and transform the lives of athletes as a Special Olympics coach.

*Volunteers must be at least 14 years of age to serve as a coach or chaperone.


How to Become a Coach – Find an Agency
  1. Find and join an agency in need of coaches by filling out the Coach Interest Form, one of our Regional Sports Directors will then contact you to go over the next steps listed below.
  2. Fill out a Class A Form Adult or Class A Form Minor and take the Protective Behaviors Test to sign up as a Special Olympics coach.
  3. Sign up for a General Orientation session with Special Olympics and attend sport specific Training Schools to learn more about coaching.
  4. Work with your agency to pick a sport and, if needed, recruit additional athletes to participate. To see who is eligible to become an athlete read the Athlete Eligibility Statement.
  5. Train, train, train! Your athlete(s)/team will need to get in a minimum of 8 weeks of training prior to the local Special Olympics competition.
  6. Fill out the entry forms for your local competition and send them to your Area Director before the competition deadline. Get your entry forms here.
  7. Attend the local competition and chaperone your athletes. Day of Roles and Responsibilities
  8. If your athletes qualify for the next level of competition, you will need to fill out new entry forms for this competition.
  9. Finally enjoy your experience as a new Special Olympics coach!!


How to Become a Coach – No Agency in Area
  1. You can start your own independent agency. To start, you will need to contact your local Area Director and fill out an Agency Information Form.
  2. You will now be your agency’s SOAD (Special Olympics Athletic Director) and will be responsible for all the paperwork required to keep an agency running.
  3. Finally, if you decide to go this route, follow steps 2-9 above.


Not sure where to start? Fill out our Coaches Interest Form

Are you already a coach and are looking for rules and event forms? Visit our Resources Page

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