Our volunteers are all ages, and their commitments can range from an afternoon to years of coaching. In fact, our team would not exist today—and could not have been created—without the time, energy, commitment and enthusiasm of our volunteers.   As our team grows, so do our needs. It takes a lot of people in a variety of volunteer roles to make this happen! Whether you’re coaching an athlete or helping with paperwork, timing a runner or planning an event social event or fundraiser, you’re needed. It takes a lot of people in a variety of volunteer roles to make this happen!

Behind the Scene volunteers are action-takers. They follow-up with athletes to ensure their SOMN applications are current; they plan fundraisers and social events, they update the website and email communications, and time and measure athletes. Undoubtedly, there probably tasks that we haven’t even considered.

Coaches are volunteers who work with Special Olympics athletes to prepare them for competition and teach them the necessary skills to compete at their highest levels.  The idea of coaching may seem overwhelming, but you don’t have to coach alone. You can share the responsibility and fun of coaching with another coach, friend or family member.

Special Olympics Unified Sports® brings together athletes with intellectual disabilities and athletes without intellectual disabilities to train and compete on the same team. While a primary goal of Unified Sports is to promote inclusion through team practice and competition, Unified Partners reap additional benefits such as improving their physical fitness, sharpening their skills, and learning acceptance and inclusion.


For safety and insurance purposes, all volunteers who work directly with our athletes as a coach or Unified Partner must complete an application through Special Olympics of Minnesota and take a brief on-line quiz.  A background check will also be conducted.


Step 1: Complete the online volunteer application
You’ll receive an email from eServices@geninfo.com (General Information Services (GIS)) to complete your background check. If you need a printable PDF, please contact coacheducation@somn.org.

Step 2: Complete the online level 1 certification course and quiz (PDF)
This training is designed for new coaches and current coaches who need to renew their Protective Behaviors training. General Orientation, Protective Behaviors and Concussion are all included in the Level 1 training.

Step 3: Renew background check
Current coaches who have questions regarding their background check can contact their delegation or email coacheducation@somn.org

Level II Certification

Level 2 online trainings focus on a sport’s rules, events and resources for practices and skill development. They also provide training in the Coaching Special Olympics Athletes course that prepares Special Olympics coaches to use their sport-specific knowledge in coaching athletes with intellectual disabilities. For veteran coaches, the course serves as a reminder of the essentials. Level II certification is recommended for students looking for activities to boost their college applications.

Level 2 online trainings count towards first-time certification or recertification in that sport. Certification is valid for three years.

Alpine Sports – updated 2019
Basketball – updated 2019
Bocce – updated 2019
Bowling – updated 2019
Flag football – updated 2019
Poly (Floor) Hockey – updated 2019
Softball – updated 2019
Swimming – updated 2019
Track and field – updated 2019