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Coaches are the sports professionals who lead athletes to victory through their direction both on the field and in preparing for games. While both professional and amateur athletes in all sports rely on their coaches for guidance and training, most paid coaches work for public and private schools at the elementary, secondary and college and university levels.
Coaches develop plans for team practice sessions to help each player better develop their skills as well as helping the team work together. During practice and training sessions, coaches aim to improve athletes’ physical technique, stamina, form and skills as well as teaching them the value of teamwork and good sportsmanship. They devise strategies based on their teams’ skills and the strengths and weaknesses of their opponents. They motivate their players to do their best. During games, coaches call plays, choose strategies to win and decide which athletes will play at a given time.
Often, the most important requirement to become a successful coach is knowledge of the game. Coaches typically have some experience playing the sport themselves, so they understand the game thoroughly and understand what challenges players must overcome. Coaches must also be good leaders and communicators to be able to inspire their teams to improve their performance and reach their goals. Good coaches are resourceful enough to devise effective ways of training athletes and have excellent decision-making skills. They must be able to quickly decide which athletes to play and what strategy to employ to win a game. Coaching a team requires a lot of dedication.
While a formal education might not be the primary consideration of an aspiring coach, it is important for success. Most coaching opportunities require candidates to hold a bachelor’s degree. At the high school level, coaches are typically teachers at the school, so they often hold a degree in education as well as a subject area such as English, history or mathematics. At the college and professional levels, most coaches have a degree in a relevant subject, such as physical education, sports medicine, exercise and sports science, physiology, kinesiology or nutrition and fitness. Many coaches, especially those working with high school student-athletes, have to learn first aid care including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to achieve state certification.
Coaches’ earnings can vary widely depending upon their places of employment. The median salary for coaches and scouts is $28,360, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported. However, coaches at colleges and universities, for example, earn a median salary of $39,960. Not all coaches work full-time in this profession, and they may coach multiple sports throughout the year or coach in addition to doing other work, like teaching in the classroom as well as on the field. Aspiring coaches can look forward to a positive job outlook. The BLS anticipates the number of coaching jobs to grow faster than the number of jobs across all occupations. Within a ten-year period, career opportunities for coaches should increase by 15 percent.
At every level, good coaching is essential to an athlete’s success. Coaches at the elementary school, high school, college and university and professional levels work diligently with athletes to build their physical sports skills, enhance teamwork and inspire greatness. They strategize, motivate and make decisions that help sports teams achieve their goals to the best of their players’ abilities.