what is a sports coach?

As a sports coach, you help teams and players improve sports performance by training them on the best techniques. Most professional sportspeople and teams have sports coaches to guide and motivate them to achieve their goals. Your role is to ensure consistent improvement in skills and find techniques that work for the whole group. You also attend sporting events and competitions to encourage your team and athletes and help them overcome anxiety.

Sometimes, your job involves teaching a new sport to a group of people. For instance, you can teach students basic basketball rules before playing professionally. You also conduct regular performance assessments to determine a sportsperson's areas of weakness and develop techniques to help them improve. As a sports coach, you can also act as an agent for your client, put them in touch with clubs and sponsors and help them become professional athletes.

what does a sports coach do?

A sports coach takes a holistic approach to sports and helps sportspeople improve their lives. For instance, you instil a good work ethic, discipline and focus that assists in other aspects of their lives. Sometimes, you have to recommend the best diet that will help them build strength and enhance endurance in sporting activities.

Would working as a sports coach suit your motivational skills and interest in sports? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a sports coach role.

sports coach jobs

average salary of a sports coach

According to National Careers, the median annual compensation package for a sports coach starting out is £18,000. The salary fluctuates depending on the employer and experience level. You have minimal transferrable skills when you are new to the coaching field. However, if you are a former professional sportsperson, your experience level improves your earnings. An experienced sports coach earns over £28,000 per year. Most employers often include transport and medical allowances in the compensation package.

factors that affect the salary of a sports coach

The earnings of a sports coach significantly depend on the experience level. Professional teams and athletes need experts to improve their performance in major competitions. Hence, an experienced sports coach with a background in the sport earns more than a sports coach starting the profession. Your skills also influence your pay structure since the sportspeople rely on your expertise to improve performance.

As a sports coach, your salary also varies based on your employer. For instance, your earnings won't be similar to coaching a professional team if you work in a school. Professional teams competing in major sports pay more compared to smaller teams. The sport you coach can also influence your pay structure. When you train a football team, you are likely to earn more than coaching less popular games.

mand and woman using a phone
mand and woman using a phone

types of sports coaches

Some of the types of sports coaches include:

  • athletics sports coach: your job is to train professional and amateur athletes on the fundamentals of the game or match. You help the athletes improve their physical conditions by recommending training exercises and nutrition. You also coach them to improve performance in competitions, like teaching them how to spot an opponent's weakness and find a personalised strategy to ensure victory.
  • football coach: your focus is on training football players to improve their sporting techniques. You may work with children, young adults or professional teams. Your role is to ensure the team can work together to enhance their performance. The job involves setting team goals and holding practice sessions to improve individual skills.
  • disability sports coach: as a disability sports coach, you help disabled people to overcome the barriers and improve performance in their sport. You select the appropriate training activities and help them choose between pursuing mainstream and disability sports.

working as a sports coach

A sports coach builds great players by improving their skills and teaching them new techniques. Let's explore the daily activities and work environment of a sports coach.


education and skills

Some routes of becoming a sports coach include:

  • university degree: if you want to coach a professional team, you should have a higher national diploma, foundation or undergraduate degree. You need 1 or 2 A Levels for the higher national diploma and foundation degree or 3 A Levels for the undergraduate degree. Some of the fields of study include sports studies, sports coaching and development and physical education.
  • college course: some of the courses available for a sports coach include a Level 2 diploma in sport or a Level 3 extended certificate in sports coaching. Level 3 diploma coaching courses are also available for your chosen sport. That means you can specialise in coaching tennis, football or basketball.
  • apprenticeship: you can find a relevant advanced and higher degree apprenticeship in sports coach or personal trainer fields. The programme requires you to combine coursework with on-the-job training.

sports coach skills and competencies

Apart from academic qualifications, you need soft skills to be a great sports coach. Some skills include:

  • leadership skills: you have to be a great motivator and manager to improve the performance of your teams. Leadership skills like management and positivity help you inspire sportspeople to do their best.
  • decision-making skills: a sports coach needs to make snappy and accurate decisions on team formations and other issues during competitions. You should combine game-managing tools and decision-making skills to improve the team's performance. Decision-making skills also help you during recruitment and selection.
  • interpersonal skills: as a sports coach, you have to develop strong people skills to maintain a good working relationship with other coaches and sportspeople. Interpersonal skills give you empathy, communication and active listening activity, which improves your collaboration skills. Communication skills also come in handy when representing sportspeople in conferences and public events.
  • dedication: a sports coach needs to be dedicated to their team. Sometimes coaching can be intensive since you have to attend regular practices and competitions, which take place on weekends.


coach thinking a strategy
coach thinking a strategy


FAQs about working as a sports coach

thank you for subscribing to your personalised job alerts.