What qualifications do I need to become a sports coach?

If there is a sport you love, whether it is gymnastics, rugby, football, or anything else, you’ve probably thought about being more than “just a fan”, or maybe you’ve played casually or professionally and you feel yourself aging out but still want to contribute to the sport.

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You could referee, you could become a commentator, or you could really contribute to the future of the sport and become a coach. What does someone need to do to become a coach, and what requirements exist?

Knowledge of your game

If you want to coach, the first thing you need is a solid foundation of knowledge about your sport.

That doesn’t mean that you need to know all of the top football team kits you can find on https://www.kitking.co.uk/, orthat you need to have encyclopaedic knowledge of the rules or laws. However, you do need to have a reasonable mechanical understanding of what an individual player needs in terms of skills and how a team needs to work together in order to succeed.

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A clean DBS check

For most sports, especially if you are aiming to work with anyone who is younger than 18, you will require a clear DBS, or Disclosure and Barring Service, check. According to the FA, even if you are working with adults, you may be required to undergo a DBS check.

This is similar for sports other than football. England Rugby requires anyone working with youth to undergo a DBS check and for clubs to have a club safeguarding officer ensuring that young people and vulnerable adults are treated properly. Other sports bodies, including England Athletics and British Gymnastics, also require DBS checks.

Formal qualifications and courses

At the highest end, formal qualifications up to and including university degrees or a diploma in sports and exercise science can be required. For most smaller clubs, especially those for which coaching is a volunteer position, there will be much lower requirements.

Most governing bodies provide coaching certifications. The FA provides a number of certification levels, from a one-day youth coaching course to a 120-hour UEFA-level course. For your chosen sport, check with the governing body about the courses they offer and speak to the management of the club you’re looking to coach to determine their requirements.