Sports Coach

Job Description:

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

Job Category:
Culture, Media & Sport

What you will do:

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


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • 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
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to use your initiative

Restrictions and Requirements
You’ll need to:

  • pass enhanced background checks as you may work with children and vulnerable adults
  • You’ll usually need some knowledge of first aid.
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • volunteering

You can take a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in:

  • sports coaching and development
  • sports and exercise science
  • sports studies
  • physical education

You can do a general sports or coaching qualification, for example in the UK you could complete a:

  • Diploma in Sport
  • Extended Certificate in Sports Coaching

You may be able to do a Diploma in Coaching qualification for your particular chosen sport.

Examples of sports offered include:

  • tennis
  • cricket
  • riding
  • netball
  • basketball
  • judo

If you are already working in a sports related field, your employer may encourage you to take a work based qualification such as:

Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Sports Development

In the UK, the following intermediate, advanced and higher apprenticeships are relevant to this role:

  • Level 2 Community activator coach
  • Level 3 Personal trainer
  • Level 3 Community sport and health officer
  • Level 4 Sports coach


If you’re working in sport already, for example in a leisure centre, as a sports teacher or with a sports club, you can take a professional coaching qualification recognised by the national governing body for your sport.

You could get experience as an assistant sports coach by volunteering for a few hours a week with a club or amateur team. This is a common way to start a coaching career.

Career tips
Coaching awards are often more important than academic qualifications. For professional coaching, some employers will expect you to have a relevant academic qualification

Working Hours and Environment:

You would typically work 36-38 hours a week but this could vary. You could also work evenings, weekends and Bank Holidays, and sometimes away from home.

You could work at a university, on a sports field, at a fitness centre, at a school or at a college.

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

Career Path & Progression:

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