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 (adaptability skills)
  • the ability to monitor your own performance and that of your colleagues
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
  • 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:

To become a Sports Coach, you don’t need specific subjects, but you should focus on building skills and knowledge related to sports and coaching. Here are some subjects and other considerations that can be beneficial for aspiring Sports Coaches:

  1. Physical Education (PE): PE can provide a strong foundation in sports, including rules, strategies, fitness, and anatomy. It’s a valuable subject for understanding various sports.
  2. Biology: This subject can provide an understanding of human anatomy, physiology, and nutrition, which are important for coaching athletes.
  3. Psychology: Psychology can be beneficial for understanding the psychological aspects of coaching, including motivation, team dynamics, and communication.
  4. English: Strong communication skills are essential for coaching. A good foundation in English, including reading, writing, and speaking, is important.
  5. Mathematics: Basic mathematical skills are useful for tasks such as keeping score and analyzing sports statistics.

Post School

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.