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Sports Coach

The role

Sports coaches help people to fulfil their potential within a sport through training them and teaching techniques.

Sports coaches plan and run training sessions, encouraging their participants, observing them and giving feedback to their performance. If it’s a team sport, they would also work with the players to help them work together. A Sports Coach will also attend competitions with their participants.

Most Sports Coaches work part-time or are volunteers, supplementing another full-time job. Only a few are able to make it a full-time career.

Experienced coaches are able to become Coach Development Officers (CDOs), working with other Coaches to help them build on their skills and qualifications.

A Sports Coach could work with people from all levels, from teaching school children the basics of a game, right up to professional level. If a Sports Coach works with children, they need to pass checks with the Criminal Records Bureau.

How to become a Sports Coach

A Sports Coach needs a coaching qualification for their sport. This qualification must be recognised by that sport’s national governing body (NGB). The Sport England website (link below) has details on NGBs for each sport.

A candidate can get their coaching qualification in one of two ways: through their NGB, or through a higher or further education course that involves coaching within it. Qualifications could include a foundations degree or degree in coaching or sports-related course such as sports science. There are also BTEC HNC/HND courses.

While studying, candidates need to gain experience in coaching, and can do this through volunteering at local sports clubs.

Once a Sports Coach has achieved the basic coaching qualification for their sport as required by its NGB, they can take further qualifications.

Skills and knowledge required

  • Passion for the sport they coach in
  • Stamina
  • Good communication skills
  • The ability to encourage and motivate
  • Dedication
  • The ability to recognise and address problems


Salaries for Sports Coaches who work full-time can be from £12,000 to £20,000 and above. Part-time coaches are usually paid hourly, with the amount varying, usually around the £15 mark.

The hours

Unless working at a professional level, most Sports Coaches will work when most people play sport, which is in the evenings and weekends. The amount of time they work can vary depending on the level and commitment of a team or individual.

Useful websites - Sports Coach UK - Sports Leadership UK - SkillsActive

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