Coaching for those interested in coaching

This article explains how I became a sports coach. It talks about the benefits and challenges of being a sports coach, and it gives you tips about how to become a specialist sports coach.

My name is Jimmi Sandham, I am the lead coach of Cardiff University’s boxing team. We train over 150 boxers each year. We cater for all abilities and aspirations, from those who like to have fun and keep fit to dedicated national champions.

I got into boxing at a young age, about 12 years old. I trained several times per week for many years, and competed in over 30 boxing matches. During my teens, I never considered coaching the sport.

While I was studying Philosophy and English Literature at Cardiff University, I competed for the university boxing team. I volunteered my time to coach the less experienced boxers. The year after, the boxing club offered me the chance to coach every session. As time went on, I became the lead coach of the boxing club.


To become a good coach, it is important to be willing to learn at every step of the way

Coaching is extremely rewarding. No matter the sport, you get to watch people develop skills and mind-sets that are transferable to almost every aspect of their lives. A dedicated sports person has discipline, willingness to learn, and the ability to communicate with their coaches and teammates. Sports also help develop physical and mental wellbeing. As a sports coach you will have a considerable impact on your student’s lives.

To become a good coach, you don’t necessarily need to be good at the sport in question. It helps to know the sport well, and you can learn about the sport from a theoretical perspective. Some of the best coaches were never great sportspeople. Great sports people don’t always make great coaches.

If you like a sport and you’d like to get into coaching it as a career, a great place to start would be to volunteer your time at a local club so you can learn how experienced coaches work. You can then get the requisite qualifications from the relevant national governing body. For example, I earned my boxing coaching qualifications from the Welsh Boxing association.

I don’t have a degree in anything sporting related, but they are out there. If you already know that coaching is your career choice I would recommend anything from nutrition to strength and conditioning to sports management and everything in between will add value to your CV. Alternatively, there are 13 sports related apprenticeships out there that will also expose you to the world of coaching and so much more.

To become a good coach, it is important to be willing to learn at every step of the way. A coach never knows everything, and tries to improve their knowledge of the sport and coaching techniques every single day. Gaining experience by coaching regularly is important. Reading about techniques and methods is important. Learning from other sports coaches is also important. The better you become as a coach, and the more experienced you become, more doors will open. Coaches at the top levels of amateur and professional sports are paid exceptionally well.

So, there you have it, a quick guide to becoming a sports coach. If the reward of helping people develop and being paid well for it isn’t exciting enough, sports coaching probably isn’t for you. Read on for more information.

One challenge in being a sports coach is that there are limited paid opportunities. As it’s very rewarding, many grassroots coaches volunteer their time for free. Not all coaches manage to make a living from it. However, there are ways to earn income aside from coaching sports, for example, you could become a qualified personal trainer and help people stay fit and healthy.

Another challenge arises in that the hours are often variable and not usually between 9-5 working hours. The work is often seasonal too. Many sports teams train and perform early in the morning, at night, and on weekends. This means you won’t be working the standard 9-5, mon-fri hours. You’ll need good time management skills, and it means sacrificing some of your social life at times.  

Despite the challenges, coaching makes me extremely happy, and I’d recommend it to everyone. For me, it certainly beats sitting at a desk all day.