How to become a Sports Coach in Australia
Sports Coaches are tasked with guiding athletes of all types and skill levels to achieve their full potential while enjoying a positive experience. They facilitate and supervise training sessions, tailoring programs for individual players and specific skills such as enhanced strength or speed, passing, blocking or any other area that they deem in need of improvement. Although their main focus is on improving an athlete’s physical capabilities, the best Sports Coaches are also skilled in helping to improve psychological and emotional wellbeing in order to support and enhance the athlete’s competitive performance. To achieve this, a Sports Coach performs many functions, from trainer and strategist to mentor and confidante.
A good Sports Coach possesses a deep understanding of the competition that their charges train for, whether that is a team sport such as soccer, football, hockey or basketball; or individual events like track and field, swimming, tennis or golf. They monitor and assess their athletes’ performance during training and games, analyse opponents’ strengths and weaknesses to develop counter-strategies and also manage the day to day administration of the team.
If you love sports and want to help train and motivate the next generation of athletes, here are some of the steps you will need to take to become a Sports Coach.
Step 1: Choose your sport.
As a Sports Coach you will need to live and breathe your chosen sport, so make sure you focus on a sport or event that you are passionate about. Start to immerse yourself in the game, watch local matches, professional broadcasts and even recordings of historical competitions. Learn the rules as intimately as possible, watch how different game strategies succeed or fail and how coaches adjust their tactics in response to various situations.
Step 2: Study a relevant degree.
There are a number of study pathways that can lead you to a career as a Sports Coach but it is generally recommended that you complete a degree in sport development, fitness, sport and exercise science or a similar field. These courses can teach you to develop effective training programs, analyse performance and apply psychology techniques to sports coaching. You can also learn some of the basics of anatomy and physiology which will help you to create safer and more beneficial training programs.
Step 3: Volunteer to help local teams.
Sports Coaches work at all levels of sports, from school teams and local clubs all the way up to elite and Olympic competition, so don’t be afraid to start small. Volunteer to help out with your local team and start to work on your coaching skills in the real world. Some clubs may offer traineeships for prospective coaches which can gain you invaluable experience and instruction as well as exposing you and your skills to potential employers.
In order to coach school teams or younger athletes in Australia, you will need to obtain a Working with Children check. This is a state-specific document that is available online, so check the requirements of your state or territory before applying.
Step 4: Register with the appropriate organisation .
Although you can work as a Sports Coach independently, it is recommended that you register and gain accreditation with a recognised sporting institute or body. This will not only increase your desirability in the eyes of potential employers but will also give you access to a network of other professionals and job opportunities. Each organisation holds to its own guidelines and qualification requirements, managed and monitored by the state or national body, so contact the specific sports organisation you wish to join for more information.
What does a Sports Coach do?
A Sports Coach guides and develops the skills and abilities of athletes to help them achieve peak performance levels. They plan team and individual exercise programs, facilitate training sessions, monitor progress and analyse competition performance. Sports Coaches help athletes to improve both their physical and psychological fitness, enhancing their technique and their focus during training and in competition.
Sports Coaches work in every type of competitive event, though they typically focus on one specific format. They work with teams or individuals from school or community level all the way up to professional and elite players. Sports Coaches liaise with other professionals, such as nutritionists and sports scientists, as well as working with club management to select team members and determine which competitions to enter.
- Identifying areas for improvement in teams and individuals.
- Developing tailored training programs for athletes.
- Facilitating and supervising training sessions.
- Providing emotional support and mentorship.
- Analysing competition to create effective strategies.
- Monitoring performance in training and competitions.
- Liaising with management and other sports professionals.
- Managing administrative tasks.
Skills for Success
A Sports Coach needs to be an expert in the game or event they are coaching for. They must be able to analyse an athlete’s performance both on and off the field and identify areas of improvement. Sports Coaches require a comprehensive understanding of anatomy and physiology in order to devise safe, effective and beneficial training programs tailored to each individual.
A Sports Coach needs great teaching and mentoring skills and a firm grasp of sports psychology. They need to be good listeners with lots of patience and understanding. Additionally, Sports Coaches should have skills in diplomacy and negotiation, problem-solving, motivation, organisation and planning.
- Passion and expertise in specific sport or event.
- Excellent communication skills.
- Ability to think strategically and laterally.
- Patience and empathy.
- Great planning and organising abilities.
- Knowledge of anatomy and physiology.
- Understanding of sports psychology.
- Good physical health and fitness.
What do Sports Coaches earn in Australia? In Australia, the average salary of a Sport Coach is around $55,859 per year. This varies greatly depending on a number of factors and is intended as a reference only, from Payscale 03/18