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Coaches teach amateur and professional athletes the skills they need to succeed at their sport. Scouts look for new players, evaluating their skills and likelihood for success at the college, amateur, or professional level. Many coaches are also involved in scouting potential athletes.Duties
Coaches typically do the following:
Coaches teach professional and amateur athletes the fundamental skills of individual and team sports. They hold training and practice sessions to improve the athletes' form, technique, skills, and stamina. Along with refining athletes’ individual skills, coaches are also responsible for instilling in their players the importance of good sportsmanship, a competitive spirit, and teamwork.
Many coaches evaluate their opponents to determine game strategies and to establish specific plays to practice. During competition, coaches call specific plays intended to surprise or overpower the opponent, and they may substitute players for optimum team chemistry and success.
Many high school coaches are primarily academic teachers or other school administrators who supplement their income by coaching part time.
Some people who teach the fundamental skills of individual and teams sports may be known as sports instructors rather than coaches. Like coaches, sports instructors hold practice sessions, assign specific drills, and correct athletes' techniques. They may spend their time working one-on-one with athletes, designing customized training programs for each individual. Sports instructors may specialize in teaching athletes the skills of an individual sport, such as tennis, golf, or karate. Some sports instructors, such as pitching instructors in baseball, may teach individual athletes involved in team sports.
However, many sports instructors work with people who simply have an interest in learning a new sport rather than athletes competing in events. For example, a skiing instructor may give individual or group lessons to those interested in learning how to ski.
Scouts typically do the following:
Scouts evaluate the skills of both amateur and professional athletes. Scouts seek out top athletic candidates for colleges or professional teams and evaluate their likelihood of success at a higher competitive level.
Coaches and scouts typically need a bachelor’s degree. They must also have extensive knowledge of the sport. Coaches typically gain this knowledge through their own experiences playing the sport at some level. Although previous playing experience may be beneficial, it is not required for most scouting jobs.Education
College and professional coaches must usually have a bachelor’s degree. This degree can typically be in any subject. However, some coaches may decide to study exercise and sports science, physiology, kinesiology, nutrition and fitness, physical education, and sports medicine.
High schools typically hire teachers or administrators at the school for most coaching jobs. If no suitable teacher is found, schools hire a qualified candidate from outside the school. For more information on education requirements for teachers, see the profile on high school teachers.
Scouts must also typically have a bachelor’s degree. Some scouts decide to get a degree in business, marketing, sales, or sports management.Other Experience
College and professional coaching jobs also typically require experience playing the sport at some level.
Scouting jobs typically do not require experience playing a sport at the college or professional level, but it can be beneficial. Employers look for applicants with a passion for sports and an ability to spot young players who have exceptional athletic ability and skills.Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Most state high school athletic associations require coaches to be certified or at least complete mandatory education courses.
Certification often requires coaches to be a minimum age (at least 18 years old) and be trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid. Some states also require coaches to attend classes related to sports safety and coaching fundamentals prior to becoming certified. For information of specific state coaching requirements, contact the state’s high school athletic association or visit the National Association of State Boards of Education.
Although most public high school coaches need to meet these state requirements in order to become a coach, certification may not be required for coaching and sports instructor jobs in private schools.
Some schools may require coaches to have a teaching license and complete a background check.
Certification requirements for college coaching positions also vary.
Additional certification may be highly desirable or even required in order to become an instructor in scuba diving, tennis, golf, karate, or other individual sports. There are many certifying organizations specific to the various sports, and their requirements vary.
Part-time workers and those in smaller facilities or youth leagues are less likely to need formal education or training and may not need certification.Advancement
To reach the ranks of professional coaches, a candidate usually needs years of coaching experience and a winning record at a college. Some coaches may not have previous coaching experience but are nevertheless hired at the professional level due to their success as an athlete in that sport.
Some college coaches begin their careers as graduate assistants or assistant coaches to gain the knowledge and experience needed to become a head coach. Large schools and colleges that compete at the highest levels require a head coach with substantial experience at another school or as an assistant coach.
Other college coaches may start out as high school coaches before moving up to the collegiate level.
Scouts may begin working as talent spotters in a particular area or region. They typically advance to become supervising scouts responsible for a whole territory or region.Important Qualities
Communication skills. Because coaches instruct, organize, and motivate athletes, they must have excellent communication skills. They must effectively communicate proper techniques, strategies, and rules of the sport so every player on the team understands.
Decisionmaking skills. Coaches must choose the appropriate players to use at a given position at a given time during a game and know the proper time to utilize game-managing tools such as timeouts. Coaches and scouts also must be very selective when recruiting players from lower levels of athletics.
Dedication. Coaches must attend daily practices and assist their team and individual athletes in improving their skills and physical conditioning. Coaches must be dedicated to their sport, as it often takes years to become successful.
Interpersonal skills. Being able to relate to athletes helps coaches and scouts foster positive relationships with their current players and recruit potential players.
Leadership skills. Coaches must demonstrate good leadership skills to get the most out of athletes. They also must be able to motivate, develop, and direct young athletes.
Resourcefulness. Coaches must find a strategy and develop a game plan that yields the best chances for winning. Coaches often need to create original plays or formations that provide a competitive advantage and confuse opponents.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Coach
Top Careers After Coach
Hispanic or Latino11.3%
Black or African American0.6%
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University of Phoenix16.1%
Grand Canyon University6.9%
Michigan State University5.4%
Arizona State University5.4%
Florida State University5.3%
Southern New Hampshire University4.8%
West Virginia University4.4%
University of Central Florida4.2%
Texas State University3.9%
University of Alabama3.9%
Virginia Commonwealth University3.8%
Pennsylvania State University3.8%
Texas A&M University3.7%
University of Arizona3.7%
Ball State University3.6%
University of Colorado at Boulder3.3%
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Technical Coach||Solutionsiq||Redmond, WA||Apr 20, 2015||$129,000|
|Lean Coach||IBM India Private Limited||San Jose, CA||Jan 09, 2016||$112,554 -
|Implementation Coach||McKinsey & Company, Inc. United States||Palo Alto, CA||Aug 15, 2016||$112,427|
|Implementation Coach||McKinsey & Company, Inc. United States||Denver, CO||Aug 15, 2016||$112,385|
|Implementation Coach||McKinsey & Company, Inc. United States||Los Angeles, CA||Aug 04, 2015||$106,646|
|Implementation Coach||McKinsey & Company, Inc. United States||Los Angeles, CA||Aug 15, 2015||$106,646|
|Innovation Implementation Coach||Stanford Health Care||Palo Alto, CA||Jul 18, 2016||$97,739 -
|Lean Coach||IBM India Private Limited||Piscataway, NJ||Jun 08, 2016||$94,124|
|Lean Coach||IBM India Private Limited||Piscataway, NJ||Apr 08, 2016||$94,124|
|Lean Coach||IBM India Private Limited||Piscataway, NJ||Jul 22, 2016||$94,124|
|Lean Coach||IBM India Private Limited||Dublin, OH||Dec 28, 2015||$93,288|
|Lean Coach||IBM India Private Limited||Atlanta, GA||Dec 28, 2015||$93,288|
|Healthcare Transformation Coach||New Jersey Innovation Institute||Newark, NJ||Mar 10, 2016||$75,000|
|Healthcare Transformation Coach||New Jersey Innovation Institute||Newark, NJ||Nov 21, 2016||$75,000|
|Sports Coach||Lionheart Fitness Kids, LLC||South San Francisco, CA||May 20, 2015||$73,045|
|Sports Coach||Lionheart Fitness Kids, LLC||South San Francisco, CA||May 07, 2015||$73,045|
|Administrator-Math Coach||Pearsall Independent School District||Pearsall, TX||Nov 05, 2016||$71,580|
|Administrator Math Coach||Pearsall Independent School District||Pearsall, TX||Sep 30, 2016||$65,200 -
|Coach||Massive Coaching LLC||Palm City, FL||Oct 01, 2016||$64,384|
|Coach||California Institute of Technology||Pasadena, CA||Jan 07, 2015||$62,500|
|Taekwondo Coach||Master Yoo's World Class Tae Kwon Do, Inc.||Noblesville, IN||Jul 12, 2015||$44,990|
|Coach||Premier Uk Soccer||Mebane, NC||Jan 27, 2016||$44,119|
|Coach||Premier Uk Soccer||NC||Jan 27, 2015||$42,324|
|Rookie Coach||Rangers Baseball LLC||Surprise, AZ||Sep 13, 2016||$42,000|
|Coach/Director||Excite Soccer Programs||Arlington, VA||Aug 28, 2015||$40,000 -
|Coach/Director||Excite Soccer Programs||Arlington, VA||Sep 16, 2015||$40,000 -
|Coach||Randoloph School of Gymnastics Inc.||Randolph, NJ||May 21, 2015||$39,553|
|Rowing Coach||Water Sports Center Inc.||Norwalk, CT||Jan 15, 2016||$39,500|
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