Sports Coaching Courses: How To Get Started

March 23, 2023

Sports coaching can be an incredibly rewarding activity to get involved with: not just in terms of the emotional rewards of helping people improve, but also financially if you decide to pursue it as a career.

A good coach is valued by the players they train, whatever the sport, and will always be sought-after by clubs and sporting organisations. What’s more, many coaches also decide to branch out on their own and set up specialist sports coaching businesses.

But even if you feel you have the know-how and coaching skills in your chosen sport, it’s still vital to back up your expertise with recognised qualifications. This blog explores why they’re so important, and picks out some of the best sports coaching courses in the UK to take.

Why are sports coaching courses so important?

In the simplest terms, if you want to be a sports coach at any serious level, then it’s highly likely that you will be required to achieve a certain standard of qualification, recognised by the relevant governing body for that sport.

Using football as an example, Level 1 coaching qualifications help introduce core coaching concepts, ideal for those who want to train junior teams. Levels 2 and 3 (the latter being the UEFA ‘B’ licence go into more detail around tactics and training techniques, and are a good target level for coaching adult teams. Beyond that, the highest levels – UEFA ‘A’ and UEFA ‘Pro’ – are designed for those who want to coach in the professional game.

How to find the right sports coaching courses for you

Checking out their coaching pathways for your chosen sport should be your first port of call. Work out the kind of coaching you’d like to offer, and you’ll be able to identify the qualification level that you’ll need to work towards.

However, if you aren’t looking at specialising in a single sport – for example, because you want to work in a junior sports club – then there are many multi-skills courses you can take at Level 1 and Level 2. Similarly, there are a variety of apprenticeships available for those wanting to coach sports with schools.

Recommended level 1 and Level 2 sports coaching courses

There are plenty of sports coaching courses out there, and you’re bound to find one that’s right for your needs, whether you want to start a business, gain employment or work as a volunteer. Here are some that we recommend:

Level 1 Award for Activators

If you want to get involved with educational or extra-curricular sporting activities, then this course is an excellent place to start. You’ll learn how to bring people together across different sports and activities so that you have the skills to get involved in organised activity, whether in schools, further education or community programmes. This course is open to people aged 14 and over, making it ideal for aspiring coaches who want to take early steps towards a career or regular volunteering.

Level 4 Sports Coach Apprenticeship

This advanced qualification is aimed primarily at sports coaches who want to run PE lessons or other school sports activities as a career option: both GCSE-level and A-Level qualifications will be required to access the course. As well as online learning, you’ll also get the opportunity to put your skills into practice and demonstrate the vital skills and behaviours required. The combination of practical and theoretical learning will set you up well for a career in school sports.

Postgraduate qualifications

If you’re working towards a degree (or you already have one) then there is a wide range of postgraduate specialisms and Masters degrees that you can work towards, at universities all over the country. This can help you improve skills and expertise in a specific area that you’re targeting as a career option. Postgrad courses available include (and are not necessarily limited to): Strength and Conditioning, Sport and Exercise Psychology, International Sport Coaching, Professional Practice in Sports Coaching, and Personal Development in Sport.

Get sports coaching insurance with Protectivity

Once you get the qualifications you need to start sports coaching, you’ll be responsible for the safety and wellbeing of the people you train. You’ll also need to protect your own fitness, as any accident or injury may leave you unable to work for a period of time. If something unforeseen happens to you or a customer, you may end up substantially out of pocket financially, which is why good insurance cover is so important.

For more than 25 years, Protectivity has provided sports coaching and instructor cover to people just like you. For just a few pounds a month, you can be insured for public liability, professional indemnity, participant injury cover, equipment cover and personal accident insurance. So whichever sport you want to coach, you can progress your career and help your customers achieve their goals with confidence and peace of mind. Learn more about our coaching business insurance policy options.