Volunteer Descriptions

Head Coach

(Class A volunteer; must be at least 18 years of age)

What's it like to be a Special Olympics coach?

The head coach is responsible for a team -- and all aspects of it -- just like in any other sports organization. SODE requires that all head coaches become certified in the sport (each team attending an event must have at least one certified coach on its coaching staff). 

In addition, head coaches are expected to ensure the following responsibilities are carried out:

  • Attend all sports meetings pertaining to specific sports.
  • Encourage assistant coaches to become certified.
  • Maintain athlete records and complete registration process for competition.
  • Assess each athlete to determine appropriate skill level for competition and training.
  • Develop an 8-10 week training program for the team (or each athlete for skills events) including fundamental skills, conditioning, and rules.
  • Conduct well-organized practices, utilizing assistant coaches.
  • Have complete knowledge of and abide by all Special Olympics rules.
  • Attend competitions with the athletes.


Assistant Coach

(Class A volunteer; must be at least 16 years of age)

  • Assist in assessing each athlete to determine skill level for competition and training.
  • Assist in developing 8-10 week training program for each athlete including fundamental skills, conditioning and rules.
  • Attend competitions with the athletes.
  • Have knowledge and abide by all Special Olympics rules.


Practice Volunteer

(Class A volunteer; must be at least 14 years of age)

Practice volunteers assist coaches at weekly practices. Roles may include assisting with uniforms, taking attendance, set-up and clean-up, as assisting with athletes. Commitment is 1-2 hours per week for an 8-10 week training period. Practice volunteers are not credentialed for events.


Unified Partner

(Class A volunteer)

Special Olympics Unified Sports® is an initiative that brings together Special Olympics athletes and Unified partners (athletes without intellectual disabilities) on sports teams for training and competition. The matching of athletes and partners by age and ability is defined on a sport-by-sport basis, and includes team and indivdual sports as well as Young Athletes and Motor Activity Training Program participants.


Event Volunteer

(Class B or Class C volunteer; must be 14 years of age. Please note that at some events there will not be volunteer roles for children under the age of 16)

SODE conducts several sports and fundraising events throughout the year all across the state. The events are driven by a core group of volunteers along with hundreds of "day-of/Class C" volunteers who come out to execute the various aspects of the event.



(please fill out and email to Carly Thompson at cthom@udel.edu if you have not already)

For more information contact Carly Thompson at 302-831-3479 or cthom@udel.edu.