What is a Sports Coach?

A sports coach is a professional who helps people get the most out of their sporting ability. A sports coach could work with anybody of any age group, perhaps as an After School Club Coach or supporting a professional adult athlete.

Sports coaches work with people to achieve their very best. They do this by identifying what areas need to be worked on (and this doesn’t just mean physical fitness and performance but also psychological fitness too) and by implementing dedicated training programmes.

Other aspects of a sports coach role typically may include: balancing criticism with positivity and motivation; adapting to the needs and interests of groups or individuals; providing clear, simple instructions; ensuring that participants train and perform to a high standard of health and safety; using their understanding of fitness, injury, nutrition and sports science to create and maintain a strategy; and, working with other professionals in performance management such as physiotherapists, and nutritionists.

About Us

At Protectivity, our sports coaching insurance is suitable for all types of sports coaching businesses including sole traders, partnerships or limited companies. Our cover includes public liability insurance – protecting you from a claim should someone you are coaching or a member of the public get injured, or their property is damaged – as well as optional covers including employers’ liability insurance and equipment cover.

How to become a sports coach

Becoming a coach is something that many people want to do especially if they have a love or interest in a particular sport.  This doesn’t mean you have to be older or retired from playing a sport – though you may tend to find people that play a sport at a high level do move into coaching after their playing career has ended.

Becoming a sports coach is not a simple task of turning up at your local club and saying you’re a coach.  You will need specific training and qualifications before you can be called a coach, so there might be many different qualifications and courses you need to achieve first.

The type of sport or level of coaching you want to do will influence any non-sporting qualifications and assessments required too, such as safeguarding and first aid.

What qualifications do you need to be a sports coach?

This will depend on the type of sports coach you will be. For generic coaching, a qualification such as HND in sports science or sports coaching may be required.

On top of this you might need additional coaching qualifications from your Sports National Governing Body (NGB).  To find the governing body for a UK sport visit: https://www.uksport.gov.uk/sports

You might then also want to consider other specialist courses depending on your interest.  These can include programme building, injury prevention, nutrition, etc.

What skills does a sports coach need?

On top of physical qualifications, you’ll require other skills to help you be a great coach.  These tend to include inter-personal skills such as motivation, communication, and good listening skills.  Some of these skills can’t be taught but can be improved with dedicated training.

Other skills could include the ability to run a business. It is important to know how to market yourself and your business and to understand the different ways you can deliver coaching and grow your business. Being organised and maintaining a diary is also key if you have lots of different clients and clubs you are working with.


Being a sports coach can be a very rewarding role. It can be an excellent career choice and/or can keep you involved in a sport you have a passion for long after your playing or participation days are over.  

That said, it is not just about playing experience – to get the best out of people you need to understand how to coach.  Hopefully this brief article has given you some food for thought.

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