How to Become an Athletic Coach

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Athletics are an essential part of education and the entertainment industry. Highly trained professionals are required to provide instruction and support to a variety of athletes in many different types of sports. This is the job of athletic coaches.


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What does an athletic coach do?

Athletic coaches provide instruction to athletes about the fundamental skills of a variety of team and individual sports. They coordinate practices and work with athletes to prepare them for competitions. They provide the necessary physical training and they establish goals for athletes to reach their highest potential. They help athletes improve their skills and they encourage teamwork and good sportsmanship. Athletic coaches determine strategies and plays for games and competitions. They are also responsible for choosing, storing, issuing, and keeping track of athletic materials and equipment.

What kind of training does an athletic coach need?

Athletic coaches typically need at least a bachelor degree, but many employers prefer athletic coachers with a master degree and sufficient athletic experience. Prospective athletic coaches typically complete courses in kinesiology, exercise and sports science, anatomy and physiology, physical education, nutrition, and sports medicine. Many aspiring athletic coaches complete internships to gain practical experience. Athletic coaches that are employed by public schools typically need to meet state certification requirements. Many athletic coaches also obtain certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Some states and sports require athletic coaches to become licensed. Athletic coaches often complete continuing education and additional training throughout their careers to keep their skills up to date and stay abreast with advancements in the field.

What are the prospects for a career as an athletic coach?

Employment of athletic coaches is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 23% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The growing population and increase in a variety organized sports teams will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be good especially for athletic coaches with advanced training and extensive experience. There will be strong competition for professional athletic coaching jobs. Some job openings will arise from the need to replace athletic coaches that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do athletic coaches make?

As of January 2010, athletic coachers with less than 1 year experience earn average annual salaries between $21,000 and $40,000. Those with 1 to 4 years experience earn average annual salaries between $23,977 and $40,160 (2).

A career as an athletic coach is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong passion for athletic activities and providing instruction and support to a variety of athletes. Athletic coaches must have a thorough understanding of the rules and procedures of their sport. Self-confidence, patience, flexibility, great problem solving skills, and good leadership skills are essential characteristics. Athletic coaches must be able to work under stress and pressure and make quick and effective decisions. They must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and ability to motivate many different athletes.

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