Sports coach

Sports coaches teach sports skills to individuals and teams of all sporting abilities.

Annual Salary

£14,000 to £35,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours


Future employment

There will be 3% more Sports coach jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

Your work will vary depending on:

  • who you’re coaching
  • the type of sport you’re coaching

If you’re working with schools and community groups, you’ll:

  • plan fun, engaging coaching activities, sessions and programmes in a safe environment
  • give feedback on performance and help to improve technique
  • work with young people, schools, community groups and sports organisations to promote the sport

If you’re working with young people involved in competitive sport, you’ll:

  • design basic training programmes
  • work on developing more advanced techniques and tactics
  • support performers at events and competitions

If coaching at national or international level you’ll:

  • design challenging and varied training programmes
  • monitor the physical condition and mental attitude of the people you coach
  • work with experts in sport like sports scientists, nutritionists, physiotherapists and programme managers
  • mentor other coaches

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • volunteering


You can take a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in:

  • sports coaching and development
  • sports and exercise science
  • sports studies
  • physical education

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree


You can do a qualification at college like a Level 3 Diploma in Coaching. Many courses are specific to a particular sport, for example coaching tennis or basketball.

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for a level 3 course


You can start by doing an advanced apprenticeship in sports coaching.

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), usually including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship


If you're working in sport already, for example in a leisure centre, as a sports teacher or with a sports club, you can take a professional coaching qualification recognised by the national governing body for your sport.

Volunteering and experience

You could get experience as an assistant sports coach by volunteering for a few hours a week with a club or amateur team. This is a common way to start a coaching career.

Further Information

Coaching awards are often more important than academic qualifications. But for professional coaching, some employers will expect you to have a relevant academic qualification.

You can find out more about coaching and opportunities from UK Coaching

£14,000 to £35,000

Starter salary: £14,000 to £22,000

Experienced salary: £30,000

Part-time rates vary depending on how many people are being coached and at what level. The hourly rate can range from £10 to £20.

These figures are a guide.


You’ll often work in the evenings and at weekends, especially during competitions. You’ll usually work long hours if coaching at a high level.

Competitions take place all over the UK and abroad, so you’ll spend time away from home.

You’ll work in a variety of places, like schools, health centres, private health clubs and sports clubs.

You’ll spend a lot of time outside in all weather conditions.

With qualifications and experience, you could become a coach development officer, helping other coaches develop their skills and qualifications.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • leadership skills
  • the ability to teach pupils how to do something
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to monitor your own performance and that of your colleagues
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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