Sports Coach

    If you are wondering how to become a sports coach, below are tips and advice on training for and beginning careers in coaching, as well as sport and leisure job prospects in the UK.

    The Job Description
    Sports coaches are employed to teach skills, tactics and techniques to teams or individuals of any ability, from beginner to international professional standard. They assist people to participate safely and to their maximum potential.

    Typical responsibilities:

    – planning training programmes
    – running practice sessions
    – supporing participants at competitions
    – analysing performance and giving feedback
    – assessing the mental and physical condition of clients
    – helping to develop individual players into good teamworkers.

    Most coaches are volunteers, working alongside a full-time job.

    Coach development officers (CDOs) are experienced, qualified coaches working alongside County Sports Partnerships (local agencies aiming to assist people to benefit from sport) to help coaches to develop skills and gain qualifications.

    Person Specification
    The key personal attributes of good sport coaches include:

    – enthusiasm for the sport
    – strong verbal communication abilities
    – ability to inspire and motivate others
    – skill in analysing problems
    – patience and determination
    – organisational abilities
    – sensitivity and a supportive manner
    – physical stamina.

    How to become a sports coach
    Training as a sports coach involves gaining a coaching qualification recognised by your sport’s national governing body or NGB. You can gain these qualifications via:

    – the NGBs
    – a college / university course.

    Working with children requires Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) clearance.

    NGB qualification is normally gained by short, part-time or full-time courses, or via distance learning. You need to demonstrate coaching ability and getting involved in voluntary work will usually be of benefit. The Sport England site lists local clubs and activities.

    College or university courses can include:

    – degrees in sports science, coaching, movement studies, sports studies or PE foundation degrees (contact UCAS for information).
    – BTEC HNC/HND Leisure Studies (contact local colleges).

    Local apprenticeships may also be available.

    Training and Development
    After gaining a basic coaching qualification required by your sport’s NGB, you may decide to take advanced qualifications.

    Sports coaches can work towards:

    – NVQ Level 1 Sport, Recreation & Allied Occupations
    – NVQ levels 2 & 3 Sport, Recreation & Allied Occupations: Coaching, Teaching & Instructing.

    In order to progress in coaching you should stay up to date with issues in your sport, and have knowledge of relevant sports nutrition and psychology.

    Sports Coach UK works with NGBs and SkillsActive, the national Sector Skills Council for Active Leisure and Learning, developing the UK Coaching Certificate – UKCC – a 5-level framework for recognised, transferable coaching qualifications. Some are already accredited.

    The Pay (a rough guide)
    Full-time salary can be between £12k and £20k per annum.
    Part-time pay varies according to the number of people coached and the level.
    Hourly rates usually range between £10 and £20.

    Job Prospects
    Coaching opportunities vary by sport and full-time roles are usually in professional sport such as tennis, football, golf, cricket or athletics. Finding vacancies can be difficult in this highly competitive industry.

    You could find work on a voluntary or part-time basis at sports clubs / centres, schools or community centres. You could work self-employed with several teams / clubs. Opportunities have risen with the development of public and government awareness of the health benefit of sport and exercise.

    Many local authorities will employ coaches for their community programmes, but you may require relevant qualifications.

    You could progress senior coaching roles with a national team or NGB with experience and / or advanced qualifications.

    As a coach of a sports professional, your reputation and succes is measured by their performance.

    An experienced coach could move to sports development, particularly if he or she has a degree, and other opportunities could include the training of coaches or management of volunteers or community programmes.

    Useful leisure or sport resources:
    Sport England
    3rd Floor – Victoria House
    Bloomsbury Square
    London WC1B 4SE
    Telephone: 0845 850 8508
    Website –

    This page is for sports coach careers advice and training opportunities.

    Recent Articles


    Related Stories

    Stay on op - Ge the daily news in your inbox