Written by – Max de Klerk
This ultimate guide is created for the purpose of helping anyone who is interested in working as a sports coach and for the ones who are already working in a sport-related field. I hope this guide will provide you with the insight needed in order to make your next choice easier! So whether you are a high school student or working already for multiple years, there will be useful content for you to find in this ultimate guide. I will take you along 4 parts. Check them out down here.
What will you find within each part?
Why would you?
Maybe you have already answered this for yourself, but if you are one of those readers that is just discovering the world of sports coaching and teaching, this part is dedicated to you.
Why is sports so great?
The first thing I want to talk about is the topic of what makes sports so great. It’s a good starting point to start seeing the reasons for becoming a sports professional. There are a lot elements which make sports so great and if you want to read about all of the described elements, I wrote a more extensive blog which discusses it in more depth.
2. The Social Aspect
3. Sportsmanship.. or not
4. The Athletes
5. The Show
In this guide I will talk talk about the first 2, competition and the social aspect.
Sports has been around for quite some time now. It used to be utilized as way to get fit for war or to train as a hunter. Nowadays, fortunately it’s main purpose isn’t to prepare for these things. The sole purpose now is to compete and entertain. Moreover, competition has also been around for a while. It has become an important aspect of life and because some athletes take this very seriously, competition is in my opinion becoming more fierce. This is one of the reasons which makes sports so great and entertaining to watch.
The social aspect
Sports connects people and that is sometimes forgotten. Whether you play sports or not, often you will be connected to people who share the same passion for it. It’s beautiful to see team trusting each other on the field right? Their connection as a team is transferred to the fans who watch them play. As a result, the stadiums can be electrified (or the opposite). Anyways, people come together to experience sports and that’s definitely making it great.
If you play in a team, the social aspect also brings a lot of benefits. This one of the aspects which is discussed in the next topic. What is in it for the individual? Let’s take a look at the benefits of team sports.
The benefits of playing team sports
Why is this topic relevant for if you want to become a sports coach? Good question. This topic is relevant for you because it talks about the motivation people might have for doing sports. It’s good to be aware of this because in the end you will be able to better understand what the role of a sports coach is depending on the level a sport is played on.
The article we posted about the benefits of playing team sports provides you a more extensive insight. Moreover, there are 8 benefits which are discussed in that blog. One of the benefits is about building respect. In my opinion one of the most fundamental elements a sports professional needs to develop.
What you learn as a sports coach.
So now that we have discussed why sports is considered to be great and how team sports benefit the individual, let’s look at What you can learn as a sports coach. Next to losing your temper sometimes, coaching can bring about some useful skills which you can use the rest of you life. Here are 3 of them.
You as a coach will learn how to respond in a way which benefits the team in any kind of scenario. Players will lean on you when they need to. Although you might fail to do so first. Eventually you will learn to take control of the flow.
Learning how to have overview on how, when, where and who, when it comes to sports is a professional skill that can be implemented into your personal life as well.
Although sports coaching can bring a lot of benefits, there are also sacrifices to be made. Want to know which ones? Make sure to read the blog: Things you learn as a sports coach.
What kind of sports jobs are there?
Maybe you skipped through the previous content and thought, What kind of sports jobs are there? There is a lot to consider. However, if you want to make sure that the sport-related job is actually about being directly in touch with the athletes, the following jobs are there to consider.
– Sports Coach
– Fitness Trainer
– Physical Education Teacher
For each of these jobs there are a lot of other related positions. You can become Fitness trainer for disabled people if you want to. The choice is yours to make and if you want to know how much the average salary is for each of these positions. Make sure to read the related blog post to find out.
Hopefully you got a better perspective on the options out there. In Part 2 I will show you the different degrees, courses and tools you can use and choose in order to become the sports professional of choice.
How do you indeed.
Welcome to part 2. Here I will talk about the resources that are out there for becoming a sports professional of any kind. Whether you want to become a coach or PE teacher, the following content can help you sort out the options. There is also a mini chapter dedicated to getting a new job. Here I will show you some tips and tricks which can help you on your way to a new job.
I created this part because there are so many options to consider. Doing so should hopefully lead into creating more clarity for you and of course, for myself.
The internet has given us the tools to never stop learning. Whether you want to become a sports coach or PE teacher, If you are looking for useful online courses to improve your skills, the following resources might be useful.
Let’s start out with the why. Why is it important to complete courses? Well, I think courses can help you become the sports professional which you want to be. Learning never stops and developing a growth mindset will make sure you reach your potential. It is also more attractive for future employers when they see a candidate which kept working on themselves.
So let’s look at some examples.
The United States Sports Academy provides a couple of free courses to follow. These courses take around 16 weeks to complete.
– Introduction to coaching
– Sport-related concussions (I guess this one is for al the American football coaches)
It’s understandable if you don’t want to be working on a course for so long. Therefore you can also choose for shorter options to such as:
– An overview of Long term athletic development
– Balance and stability training
– Constraints led approach in coaching – linking CLA to skill acquisition
You can check out these courses here.
If you already did such kind of courses. There are also options for attaining official coaching certificates. The FIBA and UEFA have their own systems for this. You can read more about it in the article we wrote which goes more in depth about Courses for sports coaches.
Courses are a good and easy solution for developing yourself but it won’t always get you the sport job of interest. This is because whenever you want to work into a more professional direction, in the sport-related field it is often required to have a degree of some kind which is related to sports. This is the next topic I will discuss.
One of the major reasons for attaining a sport-related degree is to gain access to jobs which require you to have one. A degree opens up new opportunities and usually provides you with more financial benefit than without one. Another reason for attaining a degree is the opportunity to work abroad at some moment in your life. Countries like China require foreign workers to have a bachelor’s degree in order to work legally in their country.
Let’s look at some bachelor’s degrees which might be interesting to consider:
Professional Fitness Training and Exercise Science
This study teached you a broad range of skills which will make you competent for jobs such as, Sports Performance Coach, Group Fitness instructor and Personal trainer. Read more about it here.
Want to work with high performing athletes? This study could the right fit. The study focusses on fields such as, Injury and Illness prevention, Therapeutic intervention, Immediate and emergency care. Read more about this study here.
Want to see more? read the article we dedicated to sports degrees
Master in Football Coaching and Management
This degree is the ultimate up close experience with athletes at high end football clubs. You’ll even be visiting Real Madrid’s Sports city to observe their everyday activities. Read more here.
International Basketball Coaching and Management
learn about basketball in Lithuania, one of Europe’s most hardcore basketball countries. You’ll learn about evaluating different coaching and management systems which are applied throughout Europe. Learn more about it here.
The blog we wrote about sports degrees also goes more in depth on the options regarding master’s degrees. Check it out.
Good to know: University of Sterling won the Sports University of the Year award in the UK. Check out the following video to get an impression.
After reading this previous part, I hope you got more acquainted with the sport-related possibilities which you can decide to pursue. So let’s go a few steps further and take a look on the ways of getting a job of preference. What are the elements you should consider when pursuing a new job? This is one of the questions I will answer for you in the next part.
Having a degree is great and all but the next trick is to get a job that fits your needs. You have seen some of the sport jobs out there, but how do you get yourself in a favorable position to get hired?
In order to become attractive for future employers, you need to show professionalism at every moment they come in touch with you. Let’s look at the steps in the hiring process in which you can influence your presentation the most.
1. You are being recruited or you are looking for a job.
2. You send your resume/CV to the employer.
3. Getting invited to the 1st job interview.
In step one you are actively looking for a new job. You might be searching online or reaching out to companies directly by calling or visiting their location. Whether it’s online or offline, people tend to judge on both. You don’t want your new employer to see your rants on twitter or your selfies on Instagram. It gives an unprofessional impression which you want to prevent from happening. So if you want to be found online make sure you’ll only be seen in places which represent your professional life. LinkedIn is a good example of social media which is appropriate for such things.
One of the personal attributes you usually hand over is your resume. Although it isn’t regarded as the most important aspect, your resume might be the first presentation of yourself which the possible employer might see. So in this case it is important to have it up to date and professionally looking.
Here are some major tips which you should always consider when making your own resume.
Tip 1: Include information which matters
– Personal details
– Short summary
– Previous employment
– Educational background
– Languages you speak
– Projects you worked on
Tip 2: Keep it simple!
Simplicity is hard to achieve. I got lost in details more than once before. Remind yourself to keep it simple. Use Fonts such as Arial and Helvetica with a size between the 10 and 12. Also use words that are understandable. Don’t over exaggerate with jargon. Keeping it simple adds onto the readability of your resume.
Want to know more tips and tricks? We wrote a guide about this too! It’s called Resume 101: Tips & Tricks. SportJobbys also offers 2 resume services to make sure you have that extra edge over your competing colleagues.
All went great and you just got invited to your first job interview! Fantastic, but how do you make sure that you will ace this conversation? Well, I think it is all about preparation. Ask yourself the following questions a few days ahead and write down your thoughts on it.
– What will my work related activities look like?
– How do employees treat each other. (company culture)
– How does the employer treat its employees
– Can I grow within the company?
– Does the employer provide options to develop myself?
– What is the company’s purpose and how is this translated into the work they do?
Next to the basic questions surrounding salary, working hours and such, consider the above mentioned questions. What kind of answer do you want them to give? Answer it yourself and you’ll be more sure about what you want and don’t want when you sit across the table of your possible employer.
These tips should help you on your way to find a job and If you don’t get hired, ask the employer which declined you for feedback. Be open to understanding how you can improve your position on the job market.
We are getting to the end of part 2 and as you now know, the path for becoming a sports professional is full of options. However, you might want to know what the ways of are for becoming great at what you do. You will find the answers to this in part 3: How to become a great sports coach. In here you will find insights and tools to help you become a better professional.
How to become great
So we have made it to to part 3. Until now I have shown you the reasons for why you should become a sports coach and how to become one. Now it’s time to check out the ways of becoming a great sports coach. This part will be more focussed on the techniques, tools and habits a sports coach should have and use in order to take their coaching level to the top of their ability. So if you are one of those people that want to know how to become a great coach, let’s take a look at the how-to.
Characteristics of expert sports coaches
In the following you will find some of the characteristics which are described in the dedicated blog: 8 characteristics of expert sports coaches. I hope this will give you a better insight into which level you can work towards to if you want to become a great sports coach.
1. Expertise is domain specific and developed over a long time
You need to put in the time and effort if you want to become great at what you do. The 10.000 hour rule is often mentioned within this conversation and I also think it is a decent indication of what needs to be done in order to master what you do. It is also important to become great at something within a specific domain because this will make you a more valuable asset for future employers.
3. Expert Sport Coaches have Knowledge Structured for Easier Recall
Expert coaches develop a framework or structure for doing what they do. This could be in relation to explaining technical or game specific information or communicating in general. For example, an expert coach I know always starts communicating in the big picture before going down to the detail. Another coach describes the technique of their sport in a certain structure which they teach their athletes. This structure is referred to when making adjustments to the athlete’s technique. Understanding the structure is like understanding the system, it helps you to know how the various elements are related and therefore, how they affect each other.
6. Expert Sports Coaches are more Flexible and better able to Adapt
Expert coaches can adapt solutions due to their wider understanding of the overall environment and system. They usually have greater choice over what to do and how to behave as they possess greater awareness of what has and has not worked in the past.
What differentiates the expert coaches from other coaches, is their ability to appreciate and adapt their coaching style to what the situation and athletes need. They have a well-developed coaching style and know how to adapt with confidence.
8. Expert Sports Coaches take Deeper Meanings from Cues
Expert coaches notice on what is going on and they know that almost nothing is random. For example, when an athlete turns up late for practice, expert coaches notice and look for other examples of discontent in that athlete. The next thing they see may be the athlete not acknowledging their team members and perhaps not wearing the right socks. Experts notice the tiny details and attach meaning to them. Noticing the smallest cues means the expert coach can intervene before the problem becomes an issue.
These were some examples which sketch out the characteristics you can develop. And as you can see, the general outline is all about communication. This is also the next aspect which I want to show you. There are some useful communicative habits and techniques which help to become a respected and great sports coach. Use these techniques to motivate, direct and even punish you players.
The first time I coached a team, I didn’t know how to coach properly. I even think some kids lost their motivation to play basketball after having me as their coach. Looking back at that time, there were a lot things I could’ve done better. It starts with communication and one of the first things I should’ve done as a coach was providing more positive reinforcement.
You can build athletes and teams through this. Coaches who help their athletes and teams to visualize their goals can give a big motivational boost. You don’t need to be positive about every aspect. Definitely don’t over exaggerate when players do something great, that might even give the opposite result. It is important to find a balance in giving compliments and providing feedback. It can take some time to get this right because each person responds differently to feedback and compliments.
When its done right, your players will not only grow on the field, but also off the field. Giving them the confidence to believe in themselves will let them grow individually. Next to that, self-motivated players will allow a team to climb over challenges much easier.
How do you do this? Setting small achievable goals can bring in the positive loop. A great flow I would call it. Having your players surfing that wave is incredible to see. You can start it off by setting goals that are very realistic and timely.
Set rules and expectations.
Before starting out with a team or individual, setting out the rules and expectations together is very useful for keeping players in focus and preventing misbehavior. When it is clear what everyone is expecting from each other and what the positive effects are of these standards, players tend to focus better.
As a sports coach this will also give you the authority to remove players who are misbehaving from practice sessions. They themselves agreed upon the rules so they can only consider their own behavior and what should be changed about it in order to respect the team and the game again.
Did you use one of these communicative techniques before? If you want to read more about this topic. Go to our dedicated blog about it.
Interesting isn’t it? There are a lot of things to learn about sports coaching. But what about the tools to use as a sports coach? That’s the next topic which can help you in becoming a great sports coach. So which tools and equipment are out there for sports coaches to use? Let’s take a look
Tools & equipment for sports coaches and PE teachers
Not everyone’s favorite but it does work really well if you want to get attention. The whistle is your buddy for authority. Check out the options on Amazon.
A tactic board
Want to go through the next play during a timeout or explain a new exercise during practice? The drawing board explains the next step by showing it instead of telling. It helped me as a player back in the day. I wasn’t the fastest learner so some visual guidance did come in handy. Check them here.
As a sports coach you will need to embrace technology. Is has become ingrained into every part of our lives, this also counts for sports. Here are some applications which help the sports coach and athlete improve their craft.
The name makes it pretty obvious. This application can be used to create brackets. Want to set up a tournament? This software helps you out. Check out more about it here.
This is a filming analysation application which helps tracking the performance of athletes. Perfect for providing feedback and letting the player understand how they should adjust their technique. It’s great that this kind of software is available for everyone with a smartphone. It helps to bring your players to the next level. Something we definitely value at SportJobbys. Check more about the app here.
A very multifunctional program in which you can do team management and check player development. Very useful for the more professional teams out there. Read more about the features on their official website.
A more famous brand. Just like Sportlyzer, Polar created a application for tracking and planning for the athletes you coach. You can make all year training programs which measure up against the goals set out by yourself and the athlete you train. A very professional tool which utilizes new technology. Want to know more about Polar? Read more here.
Well well, I managed to keep you interest for now. Currently we are halfway through part 3 of the ultimate guide. So far in part 3 you have been reading about, Characteristics of expert coaches, Communication techniques & tools for sports coaches & PE teachers. The next topic isn’t necessarily sport-related, but is rather a tool for life. In the following I will talk about systems for reaching your goals. I think it is important to understand this topic because it will allow you to simplify the quest for reaching your goals.
Systems for reaching your goals
So what are systems? In the blog we wrote about this topic it’s defined like this:
‘’Systems are a set of behavior and habits which help to reach a certain goal.’’
Alright makes sense right? Let’s say you want to gain knowledge about a certain subject. The following could be a system which you can use to achieve that goal.
1. Identifying knowledge gaps
2. Read and watch content about this subject
3. Talk to other coaches about this
4. Implement new knowledge in practices and games
5. Observe results
6. Ask for feedback from other coaches
7. Implement improvements.
This system is quite long. It is possible to skip steps such as 3 and 6 or you can define the steps differently so it includes a wider set of behaviour. Usually, the more specific you become, the more steps a system will have. It doesn’t matter how specific or wide as long as it works effectively for you.
This is all fun and games but measuring your progress the right way is also important. In order to ensure that its clear what you should measure, you can use SMART goals. SMART stands for:
When using the SMART system, the goal you work towards to becomes very clear. Which in return makes it easier to reflect on the system you created for your goals.
All this stuff can be a lot to take in. Sometimes you need to take your mind of whatever you are doing. Maybe watching a movie wouldn’t be a bad option to consider. Fortunately for you, there are a couple of sports movies about coaching. I summarized some of them down here. Make your pick.
Sports movies about coaching
This movie is based on a true story of a small-town Indiana basketball team that made the state finals in 1954. It is a classic tale about redemption as it includes a former star player turned alcoholic who is leading the Indiana basketball team to an incredible run for the high school championship game. The coach is forced to attend multiple problems which put the team’s position in danger. How the alcoholic coach makes it happen is there for you to find out.
Any given sunday
When two star players of a football team get injured in the same game. A young and inexperienced player is called in to replace him. The underappreciated new quarterback Willie Beaman who has been ridden by bad luck is out to proof himself on the field. His greater than expected performance forces the coach Tony D’amato to re-evaluate his tactics and values.
The coach receives more pressure to win because the team’s deceased owner is replaced by his daughter which is out to prove her place as owner. She is focused on the marketing and business side of football which causes the necessary conflict between her and the coach.
The way back (2020)
A very recent movie which has been getting some positive reactions. I haven’t seen the movie myself yet but I put it in this list because of its recent release.
The story is about Jack Cunningham (played by Ben Affleck), a formed basketball phenom who walked away from the game due the pressure of his father. His athletic days are long gone but not forgotten as the highschool he used to play for asks him to become the new head coach of their struggling basketball team. After acceptance, the coach and team face certain challenges but eventually discover new greatness throughout the season.
If you are a basketball head like me, the NBA provided some classic games to watch on youtube for during the corona lockdown. Check the following poster which includes the top 5 most watched NBA games.
Yes, going abroad can help you become a great sports coach. Having an experience with different cultures and sports in another country helps on multiple levels. I have talked to a bunch of sports coaches who work abroad and they all indicated the following:
You can become a better communicator, as you will need to adapt to another’s culture way of conversing.
You will gain new insight into tactics which you might not have used in your hometown.
Players might play tougher in another country and this influences the way the game is played. Your patience will be tested will be tested accordingly.
Going abroad also brings a lot of personal benefits
So if you consider working abroad, make sure attain more knowledge about the steps you have to take. For example, you might need an TEFL certificate.
Which stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language and is recognized worldwide. This certificate shows what kind of sufficiency you have in English.
How to get it
So how do you attain this certificate? There are multiple websites that offer courses for getting a TEFL certificate. Usually, the minimum amount of time you will have to invest in attaining the TEFL certificate is around 100 hours. That seems like a lot of time to invest right? If you are certain in finding a job that involves teaching children English in a non-native speaking country, this investment will be worth your while!
Be aware that there are websites that offer courses for low prices. Although it might be convenient, the quality of these courses are usually insufficient. Doing it right will help you in the long run!
Some useful links:
In order to be allowed to work or travel to another country, you will need a visa. Often your foreign employer will assist in this process, but if they don’t, make sure to check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are planning to travel to.
You have reached the end of part 3. The next part will be about the sports industry and how it is developing. Great to know in what kind of world you might be working in right? Check it out.
The world wide sports industry
This part consists of more current and dry knowledge. Just a heads up!
Let’s start with some numbers. According to Statista, In 2018, the global sports market was valued at around 471 billion U.S. dollars. In contrast, the market was valued at 324 billion U.S. dollars in 2011.
The largest market is North America. They are contributing to 30.5% of the global market. Those damn americans sure do like sports don’t they? The global recreation market reached a value of 1,435.4 billion US in 2018 and is expected to grow to 1,809.8 billion US in 2022. Source.
The growth is a result of globalization. New emerging markets and urbanization are the factors helping this growth. But whereas climate change and shortage of sports professionals negatively impacted the growth, increasing sports sponsorship, the rise of Esports, increase of internet access and compatible devices are making sure this negative impact is being countered.
Another pretty cool thing which is rising, is the usage of Virtual Reality. The sports entertainment industry uses VR to create events which submerses fans in their experience. A good example is the company NextVR, they are working with NBA Digital to create VR experiences in which users can see live NBA games.
As you can see, technology is taking over in the sports and entertainment industry. Although it is primarily focused on marketing and increasing revenue, better user experiences and engagement is making it more fun for the fans.
Professional teams are using machine learning experts more often for optimizing the marketing, ticket sales and fan engagement. Next to that, this knowledge is also being used for draft selection, player evaluation and game-day decision making. Because big teams are investing more into sports analytics, technology companies such a Adobe have seen this as an opportunity to step in. They created an AI-powered insights tool to help NFL fans with building their fantasy football teams.
Want to read about how China is making executing on their plans to become football world champion in 2050 and how technology can be used for injury prevention? Make sure to read the full blog.
The sports industry is ever developing. Even during the corona it has remained to be a relevant industry. Companies and trainers have sought out new ways to provide sports to the people who want it. In the following you will read about how corona has affected the sports industry and how it even may have caused a constant change to it.
The effects of corona on the sports industry
Read our full blog about this topic here.
Everyone involved in sports has been affected by corona. Let’s take a look at some of the people involved.
There are no excuses
The coronavirus has athletes making a hurry to upgrade their home gym. A lot of olympic level athletes are now improvising on the go to make sure they stay in top shape. One example is from an article of ABC news. 16 year old Paralympic swimmer Col Pearse had to fall back on the muddy dam in the backyard of his family farm.
“It’s always been a bit of a joke about swimming in the dam and once they said all pools in Victoria are closed Mum looked at me and said, ‘Yep, we’re getting it done tomorrow’,” Pearse said.’’ – ABC
Pearse indicates that although it’s not the most pleasurable thing, when you love your sport you’ll make anything happen to get back doing it. They installed some DIY swimming ropes using orange juice bottles. I’d call that quite the dedication.
Get to read more about how Olympic athletes are adjusting here.
Community is key
Gym owners also have been duped by the corona virus. Global News wrote an article about this. Closing down was unavoidable so a lot of owners have turned their heads to social media. The in Toronto based Fuel Training Club, has three location that are now closed at the moment. They started offering online classes where customers pay a upfront fee of 15 dollars to enter the class. A measurement that helps financially. The owner, Greg Hetherinton, indicated that this solution isn’t one for the long term.
“We still have three rents we need to pay for three locations,” Hetherington said, “and at the current number of people participating at the current cost per class, it just wouldn’t be feasible to be operating as a business.” (source)
Similarly, another Canadian based fitness center Elle Fitness and Social put their hopes on a GoFundMe page for their business. Through instagram live they are providing one hour classes in which the viewers can donate money. The owner Michelle Epstein said: “We have no idea what the future holds, we’re really are in a holding pattern right now taking it month by month depending on the kindness of our community and clients to help get us through this.” (Source)
These gym owners have been staying afloat by using social media and the kindness of the community. It shows that in these times it is important to help the ones in a tight situation. Want to read more about these gym owners? Check out the original article here.
Keep the kids running
So what are PE teachers supposed to be doing now? Well now you might’ve guessed that they are uploading their classes online and that’s definilty the case. One PE teachers is getting a lot of attention because of effort to do good without asking money. His name is Joe Wick, aka The Body Coach. He turned to Youtube to host PE sessions for the kids who aren’t in school. He is doing it for free but because of the traction he gained during this time, revenue from ads on youtube have been making sure that there is some cash flowing in. Check out his channel here. It is a great effort which provides children with some physical activity without asking any money!
Corona has impacted so many of us. As you read in the pieces above, athletes will find ways to keep on training and community strive to help each other out. It’s interesting how a crisis like corona brings upon a positive reaction. I hope this positivity remains for the foreseeable future.
This is the end of part 4, which also means you have finished the guide! Congratulations and thank you for reading. I hope this was insightful and that it will inspire you to make your next choice easier.
Make sure to leave a comment for suggestions and if you want to share this blog, feel free to do so!
Cheers – Max de Klerk