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Sports coach

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Sports coaches teach sports skills to individuals and teams of all sporting abilities.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £14,000 to £35,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Varied per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll need a coaching qualification that’s recognised by the national governing body (NGB) for your sport. You can get these in one of the following ways:

  • directly through a sport NGB
  • as part of a college or university course that includes coaching

You’ll need clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

Some employers will expect you to have a relevant higher education qualification like a:

  • foundation degree in sports coaching and development
  • HND in sports and exercise science
  • degree in coaching, sports science, sports studies or physical education

You could start by volunteering as an assistant coach for a few hours a week to get experience.

You could also get into this job through an apprenticeship.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • excellent communication skills
  • the ability to inspire confidence and motivate participants
  • the ability to assess and solve problems
  • determination and patience
  • good organisation skills
  • a sensitive and supportive approach
  • physical stamina

3. What you'll do

Your work will vary depending on:

  • who you’re coaching
  • the type of sport you’re coaching

If you’re working with schools and community groups, you’ll:

  • plan fun, engaging coaching activities, sessions and programmes in a safe environment
  • give feedback on performance and help to improve technique
  • work with young people, schools, community groups and sports organisations to promote the sport

If you’re working with young people involved in competitive sport, you’ll:

  • design basic training programmes
  • work on developing more advanced techniques and tactics
  • support performers at events and competitions

If coaching at national or international level you’ll:

  • design challenging and varied training programmes
  • monitor the physical condition and mental attitude of the people you coach
  • work with experts in sport like sports scientists, nutritionists, physiotherapists and programme managers
  • mentor other coaches

4. Salary

Starter: £14,000 to £22,000

Experienced: £30,000

Highly Experienced: £35,000 (head or senior coach for an NGB or club)

Part-time rates vary depending on how many people are being coached and at what level. The hourly rate can range from £10 to £20.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll often work in the evenings and at weekends, especially during competitions. You’ll usually work long hours if coaching at a high level.

Competitions take place all over the UK and abroad, so you’ll spend time away from home.

You’ll work in a variety of places, like schools, health centres, private health clubs and sports clubs.

You’ll spend a lot of time outside in all weather conditions.

6. Career path and progression

With qualifications and experience, you could become a coach development officer, helping other coaches develop their skills and qualifications.

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Last updated: 02 April 2018