Coaches play a central role in the community that goes beyond merely producing better athletes. On the youth level, they help to mold character by teaching self-discipline, confidence, respect, and teamwork. On the professional level, they help to create the kind of athletes who can become role models. If you love sports and want to inspire others, coaching may be the right profession for you, but how can you overcome the competition to build your coaching career? Here are four key things that will give you an advantage in securing a good coaching position.

1. Obtain a Quality Education

There are several degrees that can prove useful for a coaching career, including P.E. with a concentration in coaching, exercise physiology, sports psychology, kinesiology and even business. Some colleges offer an online master’s degree in coaching, making it more convenient. Furthermore, a graduate education will give you a leg up on the competition, so consider pursuing a master’s degree program that is centered around the National Association for Sport and Physical Education’s “8 Domains of Coaching.”

2. Volunteer

Unpaid work requires time and dedication, but it often pays dividends in experience and connections. Many junior high, high schools, and community leagues rely on volunteer coaches to operate. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 9.3% of all volunteers in 2015 worked as coaches or referees. As a volunteer, you’ll hone your skills while meeting coaches and athletic directors who can help you advance your career in the future.

3. If You Want to Coach a High School Sport, Become a Teacher

Many high schools draw from their own teachers to fill coaching positions because they cannot afford full-time coaches. Teaching will not only help you to supplement your income, but it will give you a foot in the door when it comes to coaching. Those seeking to become head high school football coaches will find teaching to be one of the most reliable methods of working their way into the position. A B.A. in physical education (or education and a subject of interest) coupled with a master’s in coaching will set you up to make the transition from teaching to coaching.

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4. Work as an Assistant Coach

Coaching is a profession in which people commonly work their way up to the top by paying their dues at the bottom. Be willing to start off as an assistant coach. You will not only gain experience, but also a reputation and the attention of those with the power to make decisions about future open coaching positions.

Follow these steps, and you’ll be well on your way to a successful career in coaching.

Anica is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here. Anica writes for Ohio University, which offers an online master’s degree in coaching for those who would love a career in teaching and coaching. 

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