How To Become High School Coach
Becoming a high school coach is a fulfilling and rewarding experience that can also be challenging. Although becoming a high school coach is not for everyone, if you are willing to put in the time and effort, there are plenty of opportunities available. Before you begin your journey to become a high school coach, it is important to understand what will be expected of you as well as what steps you should take towards becoming one.
In this article, we will go over all of the steps necessary in order to become a high school coach. We will discuss what it takes to get hired as a coach as well as tips on how you can stand out from other candidates during the interview process. We have also included information on how much coaches earn each year so that you can see if coaching is right for you financially speaking before taking any further action towards your goal of becoming a coach!
How To Become High School Coach
Coaching high school sports can be a rewarding career that appeals to individuals who enjoy mentoring and guiding student-athletes. Sports enthusiasts and former athletes might become high school coaches to share their knowledge and passion with the next generation of athletes. If you decide you want to be a high school coach, you can take steps to learn the industry and get experience before applying for jobs. In this article, we discuss how to become a high school coach and what you can expect from the job.
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What is a high school coach?
A high school coach organizes and trains a team of student-athletes in a particular sport. Sometimes the coach is a teacher with the school who agrees to work extra hours during sports seasons, including nights, weekends and holidays. They might coach one sport or several sports throughout the school year depending on their position.
What does a coach at a high school do?
A high school coach should know the rules and regulations of any sport they want to teach. They decide which students make the team by holding tryouts and training athletes during the preseason. The coach assigns students certain positions based on their skills. They organize game strategies and design practice drills. When the season starts, the high school coach attends every game, guides their team through matchups and identifies areas to improve.
A high school coach’s additional responsibilities might include:
- Being supportive and patient with students
- Having strong leadership skills
- Communicating effectively with students, parents and school staff
- Making any changes needed during games
Related: How To Become a Coach
How to become a coach at a high school
If you want to become a high school coach, you should learn the sport, consider becoming a teacher and gain experience through volunteer and entry-level jobs. Here are steps you can follow to be a coach at a high school:
1. Learn the sport
A high school coach should understand the rules and regulations of any sport they want to teach. The best way to learn about a sport is by playing and studying the game. You also want to know the rules before playing and teaching the sport, so read articles and instructional guides.
2. Educate yourself
If you want to become a high school coach, consider how much education you need. While it is possible to become a high school coach with only your high school diploma or GED, most individuals in this position have a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Standard fields of study include:
- Sports science
- Physical education
Related: 45 Sport Science Degree Jobs
3. Volunteer as an assistant coach
Volunteering as an unpaid assistant might increase your chances of becoming a high school coach. Volunteer hours prove you are passionate about coaching and help you stand out from other job candidates. You can also volunteer with special teams or players in specific positions to gain expertise in a particular area of the game.
4. Become a teacher first
Schools that do not have the funds to hire a full-time professional coach might ask academic teachers to take the position. To become a teacher, you need a college degree and a teaching credential. Working as an educator is one of the most reliable ways to get hired as a high school coach.
Related: How To Become a Teacher
5. Earn your certification
As a coach, you can get certified through the National Federation of State High School Associations by taking a series of general and sport-specific courses that teach leadership, coaching skills, sports law, administration and health and safety topics. You can choose from three certification types: Accredited Interscholastic Coach, Certified Interscholastic Coach or Heads Up Football High School Coach Certification. Each one increases your skills and knowledge and shows your dedication to the profession.
You might also consider joining the National High School Coaches Association, which offers access to useful coaching resources and industry events. Other credentials most high school coaches need are a driver’s license to transport athletes between games and CPR and first aid certification.
Related: How To Decide Whether Professional Certificates Are Worth It for Your Career
6. Apply for jobs
When you’re ready to apply for work, create an impressive resume that gives you an advantage over other candidates. Include in your resume:
- An individual headshot
- One or two action or game photos
- Coaching experience or athletic highlights
- Sport-specific skills
- Coaching certifications and memberships
Also, prepare a session plan to give the employer insight into your typical practice or coaching style.
7. Pass a background check
To become a high school coach, you might need to pass a background check by potential employers. A background assessment might include a criminal record check and require you to pass a urine drug screening test. Some high schools also check your references and any credentials you include on your application.
8. Be prepared to take a lower-level position
If your goal is to become a high school coach, gaining experience can help you achieve it. Consider first taking a lower-level coaching position, such as at a middle school or local recreational league, to get experience before applying to work at a high school level.
Salary and job outlook
According to Indeed Salaries, the average base salary for a high school coach is $29,076, and the average base salary for a high school teacher who might also coach is $48,114. Salaries vary, however, by school, district and region, as well as coaching experience and record of success. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates employment in the coaching field to rise by 12% between 2019 and 2029.
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Skills for a high school coach
High school coaches need certain hard and soft skills to get job interviews and offers and be successful in the workplace. These include:
- CPR and first aid: High school coaches who have CPR and first aid certifications are in high demand so they can properly care for injured or sick athletes. Some states require coaches to have these certifications to get hired.
- Mentoring: A coach at a high school does more than teach students to play sports. They mentor and guide student-athletes in many areas, including academics and interpersonal skills. A coach should be able to motivate their team to reach its full potential and serve as a role model for good sportsmanship and behavior.
- Leadership: Include any leadership experience you have when applying to be a high school coach to show your ability to oversee a large group of individuals.
- Composure: High school coaches should react well under pressure during games and stay calm when working with teenagers who might have different opinions than they do.
- Communication skills: Clear and effective communication is an essential part of being a high school coach. The coach explains rules, mentors students and instructs players what to do in their positions.