Our Impact

iCoachKids 4th Annual International Conference

A football team huddled on the field together as a team.
Special Olympics Kenya Unified teammates huddle at the Special Olympics Unified Cup 2018, Chicago, IL, USA.

iCoachKids is a project, under the umbrella of the International Council for Coaching Excellence (ICCE) that provides development opportunities and advanced learning for those coaching children and young people. Special Olympics will collaborate with iCoachKids to offer inclusive sport training to youth and provide iCoachkids with content and advice regarding adaptive sports for people with intellectual disabilities (ID). This partnership will benefit more than 8 million iCoachKids coaches throughout the European Union and over 500,000 Special Olympics coaches in 190 countries.

Today’s children will be tomorrow’s leaders, teachers, coaches and parents. In recent years, particularly in the sports world, we have become increasingly aware of the responsibility we have to our children to provide them with a solid foundation for a healthy life. Evidence informs us that active children are more likely to be active, productive adults, engaged in positive social and health behaviours. The sport industry has listened and taken action. Special Olympics’ partner iCoachKids is leading the way in creating positive youth sport opportunities.

iCoachKids, it is a not-for-profit global coaching movement that was initiated in 2016. The success of the project has been unprecedented and attracted attention and interest from non-EU nations, International Sports Federations and global players in health and industry. The iCoachKids movement was formed to harness the motivation, interest and momentum for the development of a Global Sport System that provides a safe and developmentally appropriate environment for every child.

With its vision to ensure child-centred sport environments provide safe developmental experiences for every child, it immediately became clear that the mission and values of iCoachKids aligned with the strategic goals of Special Olympics. In 2019, at the International Council for Coaching Excellence (ICCE) Global Coaches Conference in Tokyo, Japan, Special Olympics was proud to sign a partnership with iCoachKids.

The annual iCoachKids International Conference has continued to expand this year involving 22 speakers from nine countries across four continents. Global experts like Kris van der Haegen from the Royal Belgian Football Federation; Jill Ellis, former US Women’s National Soccer Team Head Coach and Andy Rogers from Sport New Zealand shared their perspectives and expertise on Youth Sport Dropout and Retention and Talent Development. Dan Waymark from UEFA shared the exciting Playmakers programme developed in partnership with Disney. Kevin Martel from USA hockey spoke about how the US has restructured their youth programmes enhancing the player experience and dramatically improving player retention.

Special Olympics was delighted to join this panel of speakers to share how inclusive, age and developmentally appropriate sport programmes can decrease and even prevent youth sport dropout for children both with AND without intellectual disabilities. Fiona Murray, Director of Coaching and Education, and Jennifer Hansen, Manager of Young Athletes, introduced the audience of over 700 coaches to our youth-specific developmental sports and Unified Sports programme, highlighting the power of inclusive sport to combat youth sport dropout.

Become a Coach
Coaches teach the skills and spirit that define a true athlete. Coaches are role models and character-builders. Special Olympics coaches go even further—they help athletes with intellectual disabilities find their own strengths and abilities. They also show them how to build upon those strengths and improve every day. Become a Coach

Tokyo, Japan - 1 November 2019: iCoachKids, a project to provide innovative learning and development opportunities for those coaching children and young people, today announced a partnership with Special Olympics, the global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power of inclusion through sport, leadership development, health, school engagement and youth leadership.
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Special Olympics Global Ambassador Padraig Harrington was recently interviewed by Alan Brazil and his colleagues at the Alan Brazil Breakfast Show on talkSPORT, the world’s biggest sports radio station.
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Moeti Clement Sethunya takes a well-rounded approached to coaching football (soccer) and floor hockey at Special Olympics South Africa using it as a building block to athlete employment.
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