Sports coaches

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Sports coaches/instructors help children and adults to realise their potential in a sporting discipline through the provision of instruction, advice and encouragement.

Coaches are responsible for planning, organising and delivering an appropriate range of sports activities and programmes for individuals and teams.

Typical responsibilities include:

  • teaching relevant skills, tactics and techniques

  • monitoring and enhancing performance by providing tuition, encouragement and constructive feedback

  • identifying strengths and weaknesses

  • advising about health and lifestyle issues

  • developing training programmes

  • undertaking administrative tasks

  • assisting with sports promotion/development.


Qualifications and training required


SkillsActive, the sector skills council for active leisure, learning and wellbeing, has useful information about standards and qualifications in this area. There are routes in for both university graduates and school leavers, with a range of apprenticeships available.

You can also study sports coaching at undergraduate or postgraduate level.  If you are considering applying for postgraduate study in this area, a degree in sports science, sports management, recreation or leisure studies, physiology or psychology may be beneficial. You're also likely to need substantial relevant practical work experience, which you may have gained via voluntary, part-time or paid employment as a coach, fitness instructor, recreation assistant or leisure or fitness centre attendant.


Key skills for sports coaches


  • Physical fitness

  • Excellent interpersonal skills

  • Communication skills

  • Teamworking skills.


Typical employers of sports coaches


  • Schools and universities

  • Colleges

  • Local authorities

  • Fitness centres

  • Sports clubs

  • Holiday camps

  • Sports national governing bodies

  • Sports councils


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