5 Steps to Becoming a Sports Coach in Your Expertise

A career in coaching can be a valuable opportunity as well as be a great source of income. For a lot of people, though, it may seem like an impossible feat. But with the right steps and resources, anyone can do it!

Coaching is hard work, but it is so rewarding being able to teach others about what you love! The outcome and growth are completely worth it.

Before becoming a color guard coach, I was worried about messing the whole thing up. What if the team isn’t good enough? What if I make a fool of myself? But after putting myself out there, the outcome was just the opposite!

As a coach, I’ve become way more comfortable talking in front of people and way less worried about making mistakes. If the team and yourself are learning, growing AND having fun, then the results will only be positive!

When I finally decided I wanted to coach, I wasn’t even sure where to start, but once I began working at it, I felt more confident in my routine. Now that I’ve been a coach for over three years, I feel compelled to share the steps I took to quickly becoming an assured and qualified teacher in the sport I love.

These steps will help you decide if coaching is right for you and give you insight as to what it takes to be successful in your field. If you think you’re ready to jumpstart your coaching career, then try using these steps as a guide to getting started!

Step 1: Experience

This step is pretty obvious. You need to have experience in what it is you hope to coach. If you want to coach a soccer team, but don’t know a center from a goalie, you might want to consider testing other waters.

Having knowledge in your field will allow your team to grasp the concepts and skills needed to succeed in the sport. Some important things to know going into coaching are the general vocabulary of the sport, how to safely and correctly use the required equipment, safety precautions to avoid injury and knowing the overall timeline of the season.

Tip: Make a quick list of each and every detail needed to begin learning the activity. This will also help you when budgeting for the year and deciding on fees or dues if necessary.

Any experience is better than none, so if you check “yes” in this box, then you are ready for the next step!

Step 2: Reach Out

This step is the most daunting, but also the most vital. Putting yourself out on the table is the absolute best way to find available opportunities. There are several things you can do to find the right people to talk to, but here are a few that I did personally that worked well for me. 

Facebook groups – Facebook is actually a great source for networking, especially locally! If you haven’t already, you should search for groups on Facebook that are geared towards the sport you plan to coach. Any groups that are in your city are key — they will be full of names of respected people to connect with. 

Another search to try would be jobs in your area. You’d be surprised what you might find. I’ve ended up in private groups and weaving my way through multiple people to get in touch with the best possible match!

Direct contact – If you’ve already been doing your research and have found a company, club, school, etc. that you think is the perfect fit, then it’s time to make real moves! Look on their website or social media to find an exact email address or phone number to get in contact with the head of that department and sell yourself!

Tip: Schools have full directories with extensions and emails if you’re looking to coach an after-school extracurricular activity!

Friends – This may sound crazy, but this is a small world! You never know who knows who until you ask!

Once you’ve gotten in touch with someone and have made an agreement, you need to be ready to get to the real work: coaching!

Step 3: Practice

You may have accepted a coaching position, but until you start to teach, you’ll need to perfect your basics. If it’s been a while since you’ve picked up a ball, stick or thingamajig, then you should be grabbing your gear first thing! 

Practice definitely makes you better, if not perfect! You need to practice every day to build your strength and muscle memory. The team members can’t be the only ones preparing for the effort it takes to succeed. You want them to look up to you as someone who looks and feels confident. 

Get your skills to above-par and you’ll be more than ready to put them into play — pun intended!

Step 4: Schedule

You should be feeling pretty good about your knowledge, both mentally and physically at this point. This can give you a clear mind about how you will schedule out your season. While planning your rehearsals, be sure to keep a few things in mind. 

Time limits – How long are practice sessions? How long should you be working on a particular section, How long will it take to teach a specific move, segment, etc? Try to plan accordingly.

Breaks – Be sure to include breaks in your schedule. How long are water breaks? Bathroom breaks? Do they need to change before? Don’t let little breaks take up too much practice time!

Rules – What do you expect from the team? What are the consequences or rewards for certain actions? Be direct. You are the coach after all. 

Use your vets – Do you have experienced students? Can they help assist in some things or break into groups?

Homework – Prepare take-home work. What do they need to do outside of practice? How long do they have to work on it?

Events – What is the routine when getting ready for a game or performance? What do you need to do? What do the teammates need to do? What are the expectations and rules while traveling to and from a location? 

Remember that a schedule is more than just dates and times. You need to organize your overall season to keep the team aware of what to do when they get to practice and when they show up for a game or performance. This keeps everyone on the same page and causes less hassle for you in the long run. 

Step 5: Research

Coaching is a continuous learning experience, but now that you’re in, the only thing you can really do is your best! If you want to set yourself apart from other coaches though, there are some different things you can do to make yourself more known. 

Try new things – You CAN teach an old dog new tricks! If there is something challenging you’ve been wanting to test out, do it! Anything you retain is something you can turn around and teach your students, which makes for more acknowledging your coaching approaches. 

Stay ahead – In this day and age, people will do anything for the views, likes, and shares. Use that to your advantage. Keep an eye on all trends in your sport by watching videos and reading current happenings. Stay up-to-date on local events and join communities to find more resources. 

Taking these 5 steps can truly grow your knowledge, skills, and professionalism in your field. Becoming a coach is completely achievable if you put your mind to it! You have what it takes to do what you love…now, you just need to “kick”-start it! 

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