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Coaches Code of Conduct

This is the code of conduct for Special Olympics coaches.

Special Olympics is committed to the highest ideals of sport and expects all coaches to honor sport and Special Olympics. All Special Olympics coaches agree to observe the following code:

Respect for Others

I will respect the rights, dignity and worth of athletes, coaches, other volunteers, friends and spectators in Special Olympics.

I will treat everyone equally regardless of sex, ethnic origin, religion or ability.

I will be a positive role model for the athletes I coach. 

Ensure a Positive Experience

 I will ensure that for each athlete I coach, the time spent with Special Olympics is a positive experience.

I will respect the talent, developmental stage and goals of each athlete.  

I will ensure each athlete competes in events that challenge that athlete’s potential and are appropriate to that athlete’s ability.

I will be fair, considerate and honest with athletes and communicate with athletes using simple, clear language.

I will ensure that accurate scores are provided for entry of an athlete into any event.  

I will instruct each athlete to perform to the best of the athlete’s ability at all preliminaries and final heats in accordance with the Official Special Olympics Sports Rules. 

Act Professionally and Take Responsibility for My Actions

My language, manner, punctuality, preparation and presentation will demonstrate high standards.  

I will display control, respect, dignity and professionalism to all involved in the sport (athletes, coaches, opponents, officials, administrators, parents, spectators, media, etc.).

I will encourage athletes to demonstrate the same qualities.

I will not drink alcohol, smoke or take illegal drugs while representing Special Olympics at training sessions, competition or during Games.

I will refrain from any form of personal abuse towards athletes and others, including inappropriate or unwanted sexual advances on others, verbal, physical and emotional abuse.  

I will be alert to any form of abuse from other sources directed toward athletes in my care.

I will abide by the Special Olympics policy on the prohibition of coaches dating athletes. 

Quality Service to the Athletes

I will seek continual improvement through performance evaluation and ongoing coach education. 

I will be knowledgeable about the Sports Rules and skills of the sport(s) I coach.

I will provide a plan for a regular training program.

I will keep copies of the medical, training and competition records for each athlete I coach.

I will follow the Special Olympics Sports Rules for my sport(s).

Health and Safety of Athletes

I will ensure that the equipment and facilities are safe to use. 

I will ensure that the equipment, rules, training and environment are appropriate for the age and ability of the athletes.

I will review each athlete’s medical form and be aware of any limitations on that athlete’s participation noted on that form.

I will encourage athletes to seek medical advice when required.

I will maintain the same interest and support toward sick and injured athletes.

I will allow further participation in training and competition only when appropriate.

I understand that if I violate this Code of Conduct I will be subject to a range of consequences, up to and including being prohibited from coaching in Special Olympics.  

How to Get Involved in Special Olympics

Special Olympics sports training, coaching and competitions go on in more than 170 countries around the world. You can get involved by getting in touch with the closest Special Olympics office.

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Made Possible by The Annenberg Foundation

The Special Olympics movement is profoundly grateful for the support of the Annenberg Foundation which has underwritten the production of the coaches’ guides and resources, supporting our global goals for coaches’ excellence.


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