Fields of Study

#CareerWhy Coaching


Definition and Nature of Field

Coaching involves the teaching and training of one individual or one team in preparation for athletic competition. Usually involved in coaching one specific sport, the coach assumes many different roles.

The coach acts as a teacher when he/she is involved in the teaching of sport skills and tactical performance (game decision making) as well as the teaching of cardiovascular, muscular strength, and flexibility training that is needed for an athlete to perform at an optimal level. This may include but not exclusive to factors such as sport nutrition, hydration, performance physiology, and selection and care of proper equipment The coach acts as a psychologist when he/she is involved in mentoring athletes about competitive stress, motivation, goal setting, time management skills, and psychological preparation.

Depending on the work situation, a person who chooses to coach may also be involved in administrative duties such as budget management, ordering of equipment, scheduling, and risk management. The coach might also assume the roles of an entrepreneur. He/she may be involved in the recruitment and scouting of athletes, publicity, fund raising, and advocacy work. With all roles, a coach must enjoy working and communicating with people. In addition, a coach's work is evaluated in many different ways. In some situations, a coach's effectiveness is evaluated based on a number of factors including athlete satisfaction, athlete progress, and team cohesiveness. In other situations, a coach's work is evaluated strictly on the number of wins their athlete or team acquires.


Education requirements vary depending on the sport and work environment. For employment, the most important factors are years of coaching experience and current knowledge in a particular sport. Most coaches who work at the high school level must have a bachelor's degree however the bachelor's degree does not have to be in the area of sport. In most states, it is preferred that coaches also have a teaching license. Coaches at the high school level may be required to obtain a CPR/First Aid certificate as well as a coaching certificate in order to be employed. Recently, schools of higher education are offering academic programs in the area of coaching. This allows a student to gain quality education and preparation in the field of coaching.

Individuals who are interested in the field of coaching should pursue many coaching opportunities prior to and during their college career. It is important that an aspiring coach acquires an understanding of the sport, an understanding of particular age group interested in coaching, and the nature of the profession itself. Outside of the school environment, youth recreational leagues and church leagues are usually welcome to involve interested leaders. At the middle, high school, and college level, there are opportunities for interested individuals to assist with numerous jobs such as scoring, equipment issuing, and even scouting of competitors. To acquire knowledge of the sport itself, a student should involve themselves in playing the sport and attending sport clinics and workshops.

The field of coaching at the high school level is not lucrative enough to be a primary job. Therefore, it is important to have another supplementary income. Entry into a particular school district's athletic program often occurs as a result of obtaining a teaching job in the district. After some experience, an interested leader may be asked to coach at a higher level. To secure a position at the college level, it is difficult to do without experience. Directly out of undergraduate school, a viable route is to obtain a coaching assistantship at a college or university where the interested student may obtain a master's degree and assist alongside a college coach.

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