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Sports Coach

Jul 2024
Career of the Month
sports coach and their student

Key Facts

Starter Salary
Experienced Salary
Working Hours
36-38 hours a week


Sports coaches work with people from absolute beginners through to top professionals; some people learning a sport do so for leisure, while others want to compete at various levels.

Coaches plan and run training sessions for individuals or groups. This can include teaching the basics of the sport to beginners or devising programmes for experienced people to develop fitness and work on their weaker areas. If coaching team sports, coaches train individuals to work as part of a team; if training individuals they need to provide motivational support as well as advise on technique.

Some coaches gain several qualifications which enables them to coach multi-skills sports. People who do this job are organised, able to inspire and motivate, and have good communication skills. They may sometimes need to work outside in all weather.

What it takes

What it takes:

  • leadership skills
  • the ability to teach pupils how to do something
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to monitor your own performance and that of your colleagues
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Other requirements:

  • You'll usually need some knowledge of first aid.


  • pass enhanced background checks

Day to day

Day to day:

If you're working with schools and community groups, the work may include:

  • planning fun, engaging coaching activities, sessions and programmes in a safe environment
  • giving feedback on performance and helping to improve technique
  • working with young people, schools, community groups and sports organisations to promote the sport

You could work at a university, on a sports field, at a fitness centre, at a school or at a college.If you're working in competitive sport, the work may include:

  • designing basic training programmes
  • working on developing more advanced techniques and tactics
  • supporting performers at events and competitions

If coaching at national or international level the work may include:

  • designing challenging and varied training programmes
  • monitoring the physical condition and mental attitude of the people you coach
  • working with experts in sport like sports scientists, nutritionists, physiotherapists and programme managers
  • mentoring other coaches

Your working environment may be physically demanding and outdoors in all weathers.


You may need
  • An A Level (or equivalent) in P.E. / sports science
Academic and Vocational Notes

There are several different routes into this career. You can start coach training from the age of 16 while also studying at sixth form or college – courses can vary in length and distance learning courses are available.

You could gain a sports coach qualification by doing a full-time course at college or by studying a higher education course including a degree. When researching courses, always check specific entry requirements with individual providers; some higher education sports courses also offer coaching qualifications.  

There are also apprenticeships for this career, some are aimed at specific sports but the majority are for multi-skills coaching; vacancies are advertised locally, with training providers and colleges, or through the Government's apprenticeships website.

In addition to a sports-related qualification you will need to have an appropriate coaching qualification from the National Governing Body for that particular sport.

You will need to pass an enhanced background check for this role if working with young people.

Work Based Training Notes

Continue to progress your skills and experience with further training such as the National Governing Body (NGB) coaching qualification awarded by your chosen area of sport; more details can be found on the UK Sport website.

Other Routes

Whilst these are the usual routes to this career, there can be alternatives. You will be able to discuss these with your adviser.

Some data provided by NCS. May contain public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

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