How to Become a Sports Coach

how to become a sports coach

Have you always wanted to become a coach? Coaches teach amateur or professional athletes the skills they need in order to succeed in their particular sport. Those who become coaches are knowledgeable and passionate about sports, find instructing others highly rewarding, and get a great amount of satisfaction from winning. In this post, you’ll discover how to become a sports coach.

Responsibilities of a Sports Coach

The primary responsibility of a coach is to get the best performance out of their athletes and teams. At lower levels, a coach may perform team management duties like recruiting athletes and managing the team roster. In higher levels, however, many teams have a dedicated manager who looks after such functions.

Although the duties of a coach can vary (depending on the level and type of sport), they are typically responsible for the following:

• Scouting prospective athletes and opposing teams
• Arranging training camps and try-outs
• Selecting team members from a group of prospective players
• Planning and conducting practices
• Planning fitness programs for players
• Arranging for supply and equipment acquisition
• Preparing strategies for specific games
• Analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of athletes and opposing teams
• Ensuring the safety of athletes during practices and games

How to Become a Sports Coach

Coaches must have extensive knowledge of the sport they will be coaching. They usually gain knowledge of the game through their own experiences playing the sport at some level.

Most people who work as coaches start as a volunteer or work part-time with community or school-based programs. They use it as a stepping-stone to coach at a higher level.

With enough experience, coaches may move into full-time, contracted positions. Many start out as an assistant coach and then promoted as head coach if they demonstrate dedication and effectiveness in their work.

Educational Requirements

For high school-based coaching jobs, schools usually prefer to hire teachers to take on part-time jobs. Typically, coaches in such settings need to meet the educational requirements of a high school teacher.

Meanwhile, coaches at colleges and universities may be required to have a bachelor’s degree. In some cases, coaches may only be required to have a coaching certification and experience playing the sport they will be coaching.

Most sports organizations in the United States and Canada have a formal screening process for coaches. Usually, the requirements are a coaching certification and a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, physical education, or Kinesiology. For more information on certification, refer to the provincial/state sporting organization that regulates the sport you’re interested in coaching.

Work Environment

Sports coaches often work irregular hours, including evenings, weekends, and even holidays. Full-time coaches can work 40 hours or more per week for months during the sports season. Traveling frequently for sports events is part of the job, especially in higher levels of sports. At lower levels, they may need to travel extensively to search for talented athletes.

Qualities Needed to Become a Sports Coach

To become an effective sports coach, one needs to have certain personality traits, including:

• Have a thorough knowledge of the sport
• Patience when instructing and coaching
• Enjoy working with people
• Able to direct the work of others
• Able to instill confidence in athletes
• Enjoy assessing the skill level of athletes
• Trustworthiness
• High moral and ethical standards
• Able to develop high standards of sportsmanship

Sports Coach Salary and Job Outlook

The salary of sports coaches can vary greatly depending on the sport they are coaching, level of competition, their experience, their track record of success, and many others.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for coaches was $33,780 in May 2018. It’s important to note that coaches for professional leagues earn much more than this. The annual salary for coaches for popular sports teams can reach seven figures.

The employment of coaches is projected to grow 11% from 2018 – 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. Increasing participation in school sports may boost demand for coaches.


Sometimes, it’s not all about the money. Yes, sports coaches don’t get much, especially if they are just starting out. But passion and perseverance can pay off in the end. Gain experience and improve your coaching skills. Who knows? If your athlete or team starts winning games, chances are, a professional sports organization will take notice. If you’re an exceptionally good coach, fame and fortune may eventually follow suit. Not to mention the satisfaction you’ll get with every game that you win.

Do you want to know what career you are best suited to? Take our career aptitude test.

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