CAREER DEVELOPMENT / JUN. 09, 2014
version 5, draft 5

How To Become A Sports Trainer

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If you love sport and would enjoy helping people perform at their optimum, a career as a Sports Trainer could be the job for you.

You would be involved in teaching specific sports skills to teams and individuals of all abilities to enable them to achieve their full potential and participate safely in their chosen sport. 

Skills, interests and qualities

A great Sports Trainer has:

  • enthusiasm for their chosen sport/s
  • great communication skills
  • the ability to motivate and inspire confidence
  • good problem solving ability
  • patience, determination and a supportive, sensitive attitude
  • great organisational skills
  • physical fitness and stamina
  • commitment to inclusivity

The work

Your work as a Sports Trainer would vary depending on the type of sport you coach and the participants. A school Sports Trainer would:

  • plan enjoyable, engaging activities and programs in a safe environment
  • provide feedback on performance to help improve technique
  • work with schools and young people to promote sport in the community

If you worked with young people who were involved in competitive sport, you would:

  • work on developing individual players into successful teams
  • design training programs
  • work on developing more advanced skills and techniques
  • support clients at competitions and events
  • keep performance records
  • advise clients on how lifestyle choices can influence their performance

If you coached at national or international level you would:

  • monitor the mental and physical wellbeing of your clients
  • design training programs
  • help your clients to perform to their optimum in competitions
  • mentor other trainers/coaches
  • work with experts in nutrition, physiotherapy and other specialist areas
  • market and promote your services, if you are self-employed

Hours

Sports Trainers often work unsocial hours including evenings and weekends. If you are coaching at a high level, your hours would be long and you may be required to travel to attend competitions.

You could work part-time in a number of different places such as schools, health clubs and sports centers.

Depending on the sport you teach, you may spend much of your time working outside in all weathers.

Income

Part-time rates

From £10 - £20 per hour

Full-time starting salary

£12,000 to £15,000 per annum

With more experience

Up to £20,000 per annum

Head or Senior coach

Up to £30,000

Educational Requirements

To become a Sports Trainer, you must have a relevant coaching qualification recognised by the national governing body (NGB) of your particular sport. Such qualifications can be obtained through your sport’s NGB or as part of a college course which includes coaching.

You could begin your career as an assistant trainer, working voluntarily for a few hours a week or at weekends. Remember that if you going to be working with children; you will need Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance. More information on this can be found at the DBS website.   

A useful qualification you could take as an assistant is the Level 1.  A guide can be found to Level 1 qualifications at the Sports Coach UK website.

Each NGB has its own range of part-time, full-time and distance learning courses.  Further information, including NGB contact details and how to get involved in volunteering, can be found on the Sport England website

You could also study for a higher education qualification such as a foundation degree in sports coaching and development; a degree in coaching, sports studies, physical education or sports science or an HND in sports and exercise science. Some employers will expect you to have one of these additional qualifications.

Another route into a career as a Sports Trainer could be through an Apprenticeship scheme. Information on what’s available in your area can be obtained through your sport’s NGB and on the Apprenticeships website.

Training and development

When you have gained the basic coaching qualifications demanded by your sport’s NGB, you could progress to taking more advanced level qualifications, details of which can be obtained from your NGB. There are also plenty of short courses and workshops for every level run by Sports Coach UK and your NGB.

You will also need to keep up to speed with developments in sports-related areas such as psychology and nutrition, and keep up to date with changes to rules etc within your own sport.

If you wanted to become involved in coaching people in for example community sport, Sports Leaders UK offer suitable qualifications and further information can be found at their website.

Job opportunities

The opportunities for training and coaching jobs vary depending on which sport you are involved in and many are voluntary or part-time and there is fierce competition for full-time jobs. 

As a qualified and experienced trainer, you could progress to becoming a coach development officer where you would train other coaches to develop their own qualifications and skillset. More information is available on the Sports Coach UK website

The following websites all have job vacancies pages and useful general reading:

http://www.leisureweek.com/ 

http://www.leisurejobs.com/

http://www.uksport.gov.uk/jobs/

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