Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Coaches and Officials

Floor Hockey

How does Special Olympics Canada train its coaches?

All volunteers who coach with Special Olympics in Canada receive their sport-specific training from a national sport organization (NSO). This approach, which is used by many other sport organizations in Canada, has been developed to ensure every coach receives appropriate training that is beneficial to all those involved.

Find a coaching workshop

For information on coaching workshops, please visit the Coaching Association of Canada website at or visit one of the sport-specific sites below:

How do Special Olympics coaches become trained?

National Coaching Certification Program

With the Coaching Association of Canada and within the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP), Special Olympics has created a set of coaching courses. The NCCP is Canada’s recognized training and certification program that works with a variety of coaches.

Our NCCP coaching program focuses on what a coach can do, instead of what a coach knows. It provides the knowledge and skills that will lead to enhanced ability and attitudes to successfully coach in the Special Olympics environment, ultimately giving the athletes the best sporting experience.

How can I apply to become a coach?

Sign up for Special Olympics Community or Competition Sport Workshops by contacting your local Chapter.

Learn more about being a coach

If you have any questions or concerns that are not answered here, please do not hesitate to contact us.

For general information regarding our national coach education program, please contact Alison Legenza, Program Manager at

For Chapter-specific questions or for information regarding upcoming workshops, please contact your Chapter’s coaching representative. All contact information can be found on the Chapter websites.

How will the new program help me to become a better coach?
The NCCP has been specifically designed to train coaches to be able to meet the needs of the specific athletes they are coaching. Coaches will participate in training opportunities that will enable them to return to their coaching environment with specific skills that can be implemented immediately. Depending on the training stream – Community or Competition – coaches will learn to:

  • plan safe and effective practices;
  • make ethical decisions;
  • design a basic sport program;
  • analyze performance;
  • provide support to athletes in training;
  • support the competitive experience;
  • manage a program.

How do I know where I fit into the NCCP?
The type of training you will access will depend on the type of program/athlete you are coaching, or intend to coach. The NCCP structure is based on athletes’ needs, which are identified within streams and contexts.

Community Sport Stream
Contexts: Initiation and Ongoing Participation

Competition Sport Stream
Contexts: Introduction, Development, and High Performance

Instruction stream
Contexts: Beginners, Intermediate Performers, and Advanced Performers

Of the three streams listed above Special Olympics Canada offers two streams, community and competition. Special Olympics Canada and your local Chapter will determine the needs and type of coaching required to coach in the various programs, and at competitive games. Contact your local Special Olympics Canada Chapter for more detail.

I have heard the words “trained” and “certified” used. What is the difference?
“Trained” is a designation that coaches receive when they have completed all required training activities to be a particular type of coach.

“Certified” is a designation that coaches receive when they have completed all required evaluation activities to be a particular type of coach.

Contact your local Chapter for the specific requirements for a given Special Olympics Canada Program or to coach at various levels of competition.

How will my training and/or certifications be recorded?
After a coach accesses their first training or evaluation activity they will receive what is referred to as a CC#. The CC# will provide the coach with access to the NCCP database so that they can view all of the requirements they have met, and any remaining requirements to be a certain type of coach (e.g., Community, Competition).

How much will it cost for me to become trained or certified?
Each sport and province/territory determines their own fee structure for NCCP learning experiences (for sport specific workshops). Special Olympics Canada determines the fee structure for their community and competition workshops. We understand you are volunteer coaches and valued volunteer members of our sport organization. Contact your local Chapter for more information.

How do I achieve certification?
Coaches wishing to be certified (or if it is required by their Chapter or by Special Olympics Canada) will be required to demonstrate their ability to achieve requirements identified for their coaching context in areas such as:

  • program design;
  • practice planning;
  • performance analysis;
  • program management;
  • ethical coaching;
  • support to athletes during training;
  • and support to athletes in competition.

Special Olympics coaches wishing to be certified in their sport will be evaluated within their Special Olympics program. A trained, sport-specific evaluator will complete the evaluation. This provides a great opportunity for feedback and ensures quality programs for our athletes. The specific evaluation tools have been piloted in sport-specific Special Olympics programs.

For more details on coach education and Special Olympics programs, contact your local Chapter.

For more details on coach education in Canada and the new NCCP, visit, the official site for the Coaching Association of Canada.

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Special Olympics Canada would like to thank Coca-Cola for it’s generous fundraising support of this section of the website.