4 Steps To Become a Football Coach (With Definition and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published August 11, 2021

A career as a football coach can be rewarding for those who have an interest in sports and helping others. This career path often involves sports-specific training, skills and education. If you want to become a football coach, it's important to understand the qualifications, experiences and skills required to successfully obtain an available role. In this article, we describe what a football coach is, as well as their job duties, annual salary, essential skills, how to become one and tips for pursuing a job as a football coach.

What is a football coach?

A football coach is a specialist in the game of football who leads, trains and supports teams and their players at professional, collegiate and amateur levels. They instruct and manage players, intending to help them win football games. Your duties as a football coach may vary depending on the level of football coaching you're pursuing or the type of football coach you aim to become.

Related: 15 Highest Paying Jobs in Sports

What does a football coach do?

A football coach is responsible for teaching athletes the basic fundamentals of football through practice sessions, physical training and feedback to improve an athlete's skills and performance on the field. Other common duties for a football coach include:

  • Performing first aid when required

  • Communicating all rules and regulations to players

  • Providing motivation during games

  • Creating gameplay strategies

  • Managing team records

  • Scheduling team meetings

  • Providing individualized coaching sessions

What are some skills that are helpful for a football coach to have?

There's a variety of skills a person may possess to effectively pursue a career as a football coach, so it's important to identify qualifications and skills you can develop before applying for these types of roles. Football coaches often possess most or all of the following skills:

  • Leadership

  • Team building

  • Decision-making

  • Problem-solving

  • Organization

  • Confidence

  • Empathy

  • Communication

  • Attention to detail

  • Passion for sports

What is the work environment like for a football coach?

A football coach's work environment may vary depending on the level of football they're coaching. They often collaborate with assistant coaches and referees throughout a game. Some coaches may travel often to a variety of locations for football games. These coaches typically work on nights and weekends to oversee practices and games. They may also experience various weather in their work environment due to outside training, games and practices.

How to become a football coach

Here are four steps you can follow to become a football coach:

1. Earn a degree

A degree can help you advance in your career as a professional in sports, but it's not always mandatory for a football coach to earn a degree. However, having a degree can demonstrate to hiring managers that you're passionate and possess additional knowledge in related fields that may help you become a successful football coach. A bachelor's degree program in such fields as exercise science can offer you experience and knowledge by introducing you to coursework in the following areas:

  • Coaching dynamics

  • Health science

  • Sports psychology

  • Nutrition

  • Sports marketing

  • Sports sociology

  • Athletic injuries

2. Develop your skills

While pursuing a career as a football coach, it's important to develop essential skills that allow you to be successful, including communication, leadership and team-building skills, as well as extensive knowledge of football and its rules and regulations. A great way to develop these skills is to have personally played the game of football, preferably at a high level. If you don't have that experience, however, consider joining a local football league to gain experience playing the game or attend football games with an intention to study them to extend your knowledge.

3. Obtain first aid and CPR certifications

A first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation certificate often is a requirement for football coach positions. You can obtain these certifications by attending first aid and CPR training courses. These tend to last a few days or weeks depending on the program from which you decide to obtain the certification. Most programs require you to be at least 18 years old to attain certification. Some football coach candidates may also take courses in sports safety if a specific role requires it.

4. Gain experience

Coaching experience is valuable to possess while applying for a football coach role since it can help you gain knowledge about the processes of coaching a team. Hiring managers often prefer a candidate with coaching experience both on and off the field. Try to consider different kinds of coaching roles while beginning your career, including pursuing volunteer coaching roles or physical education roles at local schools, for example. Work experience can provide you with an opportunity to use and develop your skills by identifying areas in which you can improve and developing strategies to succeed in the role.

Related: 10 Tips for Gaining Experience To Advance Your Career

Salary and job outlook of football coaches

A football coach's salary can vary due to several factors, including the level of coaching, location, employer and more. However, a football coach earns an average annual salary of $41,669 per year. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the employment of sports coaches may grow 12% from 2019 to 2029, which is well above the average growth rate for all occupations.

Tips for becoming a football coach

Here are some helpful tips to consider while pursuing a career as a football coach:

Tailor your resume for a football coaching position

An effective football coach resume usually includes the relevant experience, knowledge and sports skills you possess. To tailor your resume for a football coaching position, it's important to emphasize your passion for sports and football in your objective statement. You can also highlight your most relevant skills to coaching, such as team building, communication and leadership. A resume that's specific to a role, such as one that repeats keywords listed in the job description, can help an employer identify your potential for success.

Related: How To Write a Football Coach Resume

Volunteer

A volunteer experience can be a great addition to a resume and can also help you understand more about football and how to coach a team. Volunteer coaching opportunities can allow you to test coaching and game strategies, as well as training techniques. Consider researching local coaching volunteer opportunities and submit applications to the opportunities that align with your career goals. This can ensure you receive volunteer experience relevant to being a football coach and promote growth in your career.

Related: What are the Benefits of Volunteering? Top Reasons to Volunteer

Network

There are many opportunities to network with other sports professionals to help you advance in your career. Attending networking events, conferences and training seminars can help you foster professional connections with others in the sports industry. Networking connections may result in reference letters on your behalf to help you pursue a job as a football coach. While networking, consider talking to individuals with management positions, such as athletic directors and administrators, because of their influence in the hiring processes for coaching roles.

Please note that none of the certifications mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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