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What do coaches do?

Coaches help people learn how to play a sport. They start by teaching them the basics. They show them the proper form and technique. Coaches have practice sessions to do drills and improve the athlete's skills and stamina. They also manage the team during competition. They help motivate players to do their best.

Coaches also devise strategies to give their teams the best chance of winning. Coaches may evaluate or "scout" the opposing team prior to the competition.

Coaches may also select and store equipment and other supplies. Some coaches are full-time workers. Others just do it part time, like many high school teachers who also coach a school team.

Coaches get a lot of satisfaction from seeing kids succeed in their sport.

Coaches often work irregular work hours. Coaches often work Saturdays, Sundays, evenings, and holidays. Full-time coaches usually work more than 40 hours a week for several months during the sports season.

Coaches who work with outdoor sports have to deal with different types of weather. Coaches often travel to sporting events by bus or airplane.

How do you get ready to become a coach?

Education and training requirements for coaches vary greatly by the level and type of sport. Some people start by coaching young kids on recreation teams. Then they might become high school coaches. To become a professional coach, it takes many years of coaching experience and a winning record in high school or college sports.

High school coaches who are mainly teachers must have a college degree. Those who are not teachers must meet State requirements for certification in order to become a coach. Coaches need to take courses in exercise, sports science, and physical education.

Coaches must be able to talk to others clearly. They also must be leaders.

How much does a coach get paid?

The middle half of coaches and scouts earned between $17,890 and $42,250. The lowest-paid 10 percent earned less than $13,370. The highest-paid 10 percent earned more than $60,230.

How many jobs are there?

In 2002, there were about 130,000 coaches and scouts. They worked at schools, sports associations, health clubs, and other places.

What about the future?

More sports and fitness activities means we will need more of these workers. The number of jobs is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations between 2002 and 2012. People who are certified to teach academic subjects, like history or science, in addition to physical education should have the best chances for high school coaching jobs. There is a lot of competition for coaching jobs at the college and professional levels.

Are there other jobs like this?

  • Dietitians and nutritionists
  • Physical therapists
  • Recreation and fitness workers
  • Recreational therapists
  • Teachers
Where can you find more information?

More information about athletes, coaches, umpires, and related workers can be found in the Careers Database.

Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook -- U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics

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