Sports coach

Sport and leisure
Care

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would help people to reach their full sporting potential and take part safely in their chosen sport.

Your work would depend on who you are coaching, and the type of sport you are coaching. You could coach anyone, from beginners to international professionals.

If you were working with schools and community groups you would:

  • 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

Working with young people involved in competitive sport, you would:

  • Design training programmes
  • Work on developing more advanced techniques
  • Develop teamwork skills
  • Give support at events and competitions
  • Keep performance records
  • Give advice on how lifestyle choices can affect performance

When coaching at national or international level you would:

  • Design innovative training programmes
  • Check on the physical and mental condition of the people you coach
  • Help people do their very best in competitions
  • Work with experts such as sports scientists, nutritionists, physiotherapists and programme managers
  • Mentor other coaches
  • Market and promote your coaching services, if you are self-employed

Working conditions

Hours

Coaches often work in the evenings and at weekends, especially during competitions. If you are coaching at a high level, you would usually work long hours. There are lots of opportunities for coaches to work part-time.

Environment

You could work in a variety of places, including schools, health centres, private health clubs and sports clubs. For some sports you would spend a lot of your time outside in all weather conditions.

Travel

Competitions can take place all over the UK and sometimes abroad, which could mean that you spend some time away from home.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

People behind the job

Meet real people who’ve done this job – hear their stories and the path they took to get there.

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Persuading people
  • Being physically fit
  • Finding solutions to problems
  • Planning and organising

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

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Click here to view / add your skills

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

There are many routes into this career. Coaching qualifications are more important than academic qualifications.

You could get coaching qualifications and experience through: 

  • Scottish Vocational Qualifications
  • UKCC accredited qualifications
  • A Modern Apprenticeship in Active Leisure, Learning and Wellbeing (SCQF Level 7)
  • An HNC/HND (SCQF Level 7/8)
  • A degree (SCQF Level 9/10)

Your coaching qualification would need to be recognised by the governing body for your sport.

Some sport and fitness courses ask for no formal qualifications. However, most will ask for National 4/5 qualifications. Some courses also require a fitness test. 

Courses at HNC/HND or degree level require Highers. You'll need at least three Highers at B for entry to a degree. 

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Physical education
  • Science subjects, in particular, biology

You will also need

You'll need to be physically fit and have practical experience and skill in your chosen sport. You'll also need experience motivating others to improve their performance and play at their best. You could start gaining experience by assisting another coach. 

You'll need to know the rules of the national governing body of your chosen sport.

Most roles will require membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme run by Disclosure Scotland

Many coaching jobs require you to have a First Aid certificate.

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that show fitness and sporting skills such as Sports Leaders UK Award or Skills for Work Sports & Recreation (SCQF level 4/5).