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Sports coach or instructor

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Summary of occupation

Sports coaches develop the ability, technique and performance of professional or amateur sports people. They teach either individuals or teams how to improve the skills that they need to succeed in their chosen sport, and instruct on the specifics of technique and strategy.

They supervise and facilitate training sessions, plan individual programs for each player, liaise with sports science support staff, oversee competitions or games, analyse their team or individual client's performance, and work with managers to select team members for particular matches or competitions. They may work for sporting clubs and recreation centres instructing the public, or they may work for specific professional teams with high-level athletes.

ANZSCO description: Coaches, trains and instructs participants in  other sports by analysing their performances and developing their  abilities. Registration or licensing may be required.
Alternative names:
Specialisations: Basketball Coach, Cricket Coach, Football Coach, Sports Trainer, Windsurfing Instructor
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

Sports coaches need:

  • a passion for their chosen sport
  • good fitness and overall health
  • strategic and lateral thinking skills
  • good communication and interpersonal skills
  • the ability to be flexible and innovative
  • discipline and dedication
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Working conditions

Sports coaches may work on a professional basis for state or national sporting teams or organisations, or they may work on an honorary and unpaid basis. They usually specialise in a particular sport and must therefore be particularly familiar with its rules and history. They can work either indoors or outdoors depending on the sport they specialise in. They may be required to work weekends, and to attend sporting events which may often also fall on weekends. They may be required to travel interstate or internationally to coach their team.

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Salary details

On average, sports coaches or instructors can expect to earn between $868 and $1 328 per week ($45 275 and $69 226 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a sports coach or instructor develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Sports coaches will need to be familiar with the equipment that is used in the sport in which they coach, and may also need to be familiar with sports monitoring technologies, fitness equipment, and other tools used by sports people in their training.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

You can work as a sports coach or instructor without any formal qualifications. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in sport development, sports or exercise science, or a related field. You may improve your employment prospects if you have experience and/or qualifications in a particular sport.

The Certificate IV in Sport Development is offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

You can also complete a degree majoring in sports science or exercise and sports science.

Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

Each sporting organisation has its own coaching qualification framework managed by the state and/or national governing body. Contact the sporting organisation you are interested in for more information.

To work with children in Western Australia, you must obtain a Working with Children Check issued by the Working with Children Screening Unit of the Department of Community Services.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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Related links

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Sports coach Video Sports coach Occupation

Sports coaches offer instruction, expertise, training and motivation to individuals and teams to improve their sports performance.

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