Want to become a sports coach?
If you are thinking of becoming a sports coach, this article offers advice and information on how to start your coaching career as well as the responsibilities of a coach.
We have used our 16 years experience in sports to provide you with three different approaches on becoming a sports coach and what further steps you can take.
The three different approaches discussed in this post are:
- Coaching programmes
- Completing a coaching qualification
You may want to visit our article on the different leadership styles In sports coaching or our Sports Session Planning Template. Why not also visit our Sports Coaching Learning Centre for more articles and resources.
Volunteering – Learning the responsibilities of a coach
Volunteering is the quickest method to get into sports coaching. Once you have decided on your sport, got your CRB checks, most local sports teams will snatch you up with the prospect of getting a helper. It is simple as approaching a local sports team (you can find these on most council websites if you search “local sports clubs” and your area into Google) and mention that you want to get some experience with coaching and ask if they have space for you to help out. Whilst doing this you can learn the different responsibilities of a coach as well as what makes a good coach.
Most sports teams will want to check your paperwork first and more than likely, if you have no previous coaching experience you will be observing the first few coaching sessions. This may sound boring but trust me in that this is where you learn the most about the sports coaching techniques and the responsibilities of a sports coach. After a few weeks, you might be starting to take the warm ups and might even be helping the manager decide the formation for the next football match.
If you have no experience in sports coaching, volunteering enables you to get vital experience and allows you time to decide if coaching really is for you before you pay £200+ on a coaching course. Along with this, you learn more about the game and if the hours are not fitting for you, you have no pressure to attend (apart from maybe your teammates relying on you).
The downside to volunteering is of course, no pay (hence volunteering), the club may not pay for your travel and you will have to be supervised by the team coach (if you have no coaching qualifications).
If you are not in it for the money, volunteering has a massive impact with little drawbacks. Just don’t expect to ring up a premier league club and be able to turn up to coach their development teams; even those volunteers have high level coaching qualifications.
Some top sports clubs run a coaching development programme in which candidates apply for a place and depending on which programme, either the club pay for none, some or all of your sports coaching qualifications. Along with this, these courses normally include some sort of academic qualification and offer you a team whom you are expected to coach. The majority of these courses are for either college or university students who want to continue their education but also want to work within sport.
These sports coaching programmes provide you with an opportunity to progress towards the top tier of the coaching structure as you are learning on the job however they are very rare and clubs may only offer this to one or two places a year. More than likely you will have to pay to join the programme but could pay off in the long term.
Independently complete a National Governing Body Coaching Qualification.
This is a very common way to get into sports coaching. Most National Governing Bodies arrange and run their own coaching courses and to coach in that sport, you need to have a certain coaching certificate. For example, if you want to become a football coach, you must have a level 1 certificate in coaching football, once you have this, you can then work as an assistant coach at a football club. To become a club coach or more, you have to complete the correct coaching award in that sport. You can read more on what qualifications a sports coach needs here.
This method ensures that you are qualified to coach however by completing the sports coaching courses does not mean you will have a job immediately. You will then need to search for coaching jobs or complete the methods above. You can find this information on the National Governing Bodies websites.
The next step is to decide which method you are going to follow and to get started. If you know any sports coaches it would be may be helpful to ask how they became a sports coach and where they qualified. You may also want to read our post on how to be a better coach.
Now you have read how you can become a sports coach, Part 2 of our guide to sports coaching is on what makes a good coach.