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Working As A Head Coach

  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Coaching and Developing Others
  • Training and Teaching Others
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Deal with People

  • Stressful

  • $42,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Head Coach Do

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:

  • Plan, organize, and conduct practice sessions
  • Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of individual athletes and opposing teams
  • Plan strategies and choose team members for each game
  • Provide direction, encouragement, and motivation to prepare athletes for games
  • Call plays and make decisions about strategy and player substitutions during games
  • Plan and direct physical conditioning programs that enable athletes to achieve maximum performance
  • Instruct athletes on proper techniques, game strategies, sportsmanship, and the rules of the sport
  • Keep records of athletes’ and opponents’ performance
  • Identify and recruit potential athletes
  • Arrange for and offer incentives to prospective players

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:

  • Read newspapers and other news sources to find athletes to consider
  • Attend games, view videotapes of the athletes’ performances, and study statistics about the athletes to determine talent and potential
  • Talk to the athlete and the coaches to see if the athlete has what it takes to succeed
  • Report to the coach, manager, or owner of the team for which he or she is scouting
  • Arrange for and offer incentives to prospective players

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.

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How To Become A Head Coach

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.

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Average Yearly Salary
$42,000
Show Salaries
$26,000
Min 10%
$42,000
Median 50%
$42,000
Median 50%
$42,000
Median 50%
$42,000
Median 50%
$42,000
Median 50%
$42,000
Median 50%
$42,000
Median 50%
$67,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Nike
Highest Paying City
New York, NY
Highest Paying State
New York
Avg Experience Level
2.9 years
How much does a Head Coach make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Head Coach in the United States is $42,531 per year or $20 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $26,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $67,000.

The largest raises come from changing jobs.

See what's out there.

Real Head Coach Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Head Coach The Ohio State University Sep 14, 2016 $115,000
Head Coach, Men's Golf University Athletic Association, Inc. Jul 01, 2014 $93,500
Associate Head Coach/Instructor Saint Joseph's University Jul 12, 2015 $92,906
Head Coach The Ross School Sep 09, 2015 $90,000
Head Coach, U.S. Paralympic National Soccer Team U.S. Soccer Federation, Inc. Jan 01, 2014 $90,000
Head Coach, Women's Tennis University of Pittsburgh Jul 16, 2016 $88,867
Head Coach University of Maryland College Park May 17, 2016 $75,013
Head Coach University of Maryland College Park May 17, 2016 $75,013
Head Coach University of Maryland College Park Aug 13, 2015 $75,013
Head Rugby Coach Rugby Nation, LLC Sep 19, 2013 $75,000
Head Coach for Women's Ice Hockey Lindenwood Female College Jul 14, 2014 $75,000
Head Coach University of Maryland College Park Jul 21, 2014 $75,000
Head Coach Men's Soccer University of Rhode Island Jan 20, 2013 $70,000
Head Coach Boston Breakers Academy, LLC Sep 29, 2015 $62,500
Head Coach University of Minnesota Jun 01, 2013 $51,280
Head Coach Bowling Green State University Aug 16, 2016 $51,000
Head Coach-Women's Tennis University of Detroit Mercy Aug 15, 2013 $50,088
Head Coach-Women's Tennis Northern Illinois University Aug 20, 2014 $50,004
Head Coach, Women's Golf Longwood University Aug 25, 2014 $50,000
Head Field Hockey Coach Virginia Commonwealth University Dec 13, 2014 $50,000
Head Men's Hockey Coach Elmira College May 29, 2013 $50,000
Instructor/Associate Head Coach University of Minnesota Aug 01, 2014 $44,723
Head Coach--Men's Soccer Bellevue University Dec 30, 2014 $43,445
Head Coach and Director of Goalkeeping Farmington Sports Arena LLC May 01, 2016 $43,220
Associate Head Coach University at Albany, Suny Jan 26, 2015 $42,801
Associate Head Coach University at Albany May 02, 2014 $42,801
Head Coach--Men's Soccer Bellevue University Dec 30, 2013 $42,595
Head Coach-Boys Program Manager California Sports Center Oct 01, 2013 $42,000
Head Coach-Boys Program Manager California Sports Center Sep 12, 2014 $42,000 -
$45,000

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Top Skills for A Head Coach

  1. Prospective Student-Athletes
  2. Girls
  3. Soccer
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Plan and execute official visits for high-priority prospective student-athletes and athletics donors.
  • Prepared players for athletic scholarship opportunities for collegiate competition through developing physical/mental skills for girls 15-18yrs.
  • United States Soccer Federation Nationally Certified and Licensed Coach and Referee.
  • Supported and assisted with player development by positively demonstrating team drills and team building activities.
  • Supervised Marquette Gymnasium, including practice time for varsity teams, supervising student security workers, and organizing laundry facilities

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Top 10 Best States for Head Coaches

  1. Michigan
  2. New Mexico
  3. Maine
  4. Arizona
  5. New Jersey
  6. New York
  7. Indiana
  8. Texas
  9. Arkansas
  10. California
  • (163 jobs)
  • (42 jobs)
  • (16 jobs)
  • (169 jobs)
  • (165 jobs)
  • (192 jobs)
  • (128 jobs)
  • (311 jobs)
  • (11 jobs)
  • (1,289 jobs)

Head Coach Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 21,897 Head Coach resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Head Coach Resume

View Resume Examples

Head Coach Demographics

Gender

Male

63.6%

Female

32.3%

Unknown

4.1%
Ethnicity

White

64.0%

Hispanic or Latino

15.0%

Black or African American

10.8%

Asian

6.8%

Unknown

3.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

56.7%

French

11.0%

Portuguese

5.4%

German

5.4%

Russian

3.3%

Italian

3.1%

Chinese

2.7%

Mandarin

2.4%

Arabic

1.6%

Japanese

1.5%

Czech

1.0%

Dutch

0.9%

Greek

0.9%

Polish

0.9%

Korean

0.7%

Bosnian

0.6%

Thai

0.6%

Vietnamese

0.4%

Cantonese

0.4%

Hebrew

0.4%
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Head Coach Education

Schools

Ohio State University

6.1%

Pennsylvania State University

6.0%

Arizona State University

5.9%

California University of Pennsylvania

5.2%

Southern New Hampshire University

5.2%

Indiana University Bloomington

5.2%

Grand Canyon University

5.2%

Michigan State University

5.1%

West Virginia University

5.1%

Springfield College

5.0%

State University of New York College at Cortland

4.8%

Florida State University

4.8%

Virginia Commonwealth University

4.7%

Grand Valley State University

4.7%

University of Colorado at Boulder

4.6%

University of Kentucky

4.6%

Texas State University

4.6%

University of Maryland - College Park

4.4%

Liberty University

4.4%

Montclair State University

4.4%
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Majors

Kinesiology

19.0%

Business

15.5%

Health Education

8.1%

Psychology

7.8%

Education

5.9%

Communication

5.1%

Elementary Education

4.2%

Criminal Justice

4.0%

History

3.3%

Management

2.9%

Political Science

2.9%

Marketing

2.7%

English

2.7%

Biology

2.7%

Liberal Arts

2.6%

Sociology

2.6%

Educational Leadership

2.1%

Finance

2.0%

General Studies

1.9%

Accounting

1.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

63.5%

Masters

17.9%

Associate

7.0%

High School Diploma

6.9%

Certificate

2.5%

Doctorate

1.2%

Diploma

0.8%

License

0.2%
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What Is It Like To Work As A Head Coach

3.0

Booby Miles

April 28, 2019 on Zippia

What was your job title?

Head Coach.. Show More

What do you like the most about working as Head Coach?

Working with individual players in one on one lessons. That's when I get a real chance to find out what knowledge the athlete is bringing to practice, who taught him that, and how and why it may work or not be the best technique available. I am about as nuanced a coach as you could get. The game of football is one of mental fortitude, discipline, and preparation. Raw athleticism, circus catches and big hits or helmet to helmet collisions... Show More

What do you NOT like?

I don't like parents getting involved or attempting to persuade coaching decisions such as play playing time and depth chart seeding. What I would allow for is any of my concerned parents (at any potential public school) who wouldn't ordinarily come watch practice and see the way the coaching staff interacts with your student athlete as we will go through a proper tackling methods clinic for LB/defensive backs, different types of blocking for the offensive and even the multiple defensive pash rush techniques that are now able to be implemented by a modern football coach... Show More

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