Sports Coaching

Learn to be a better sports coach - amateur or professional.

Course CodeVRE109
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

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Learn to be a Sporting Coach

Being a sports coach will mean working not only with athletes or teams, but with other specialist individuals involved such as psychologists, manager, trainers and so on. It is important therefore that a sports coach has both some understanding of these areas and the roles that such individuals perform, as well as being able to integrate their services within a supporting “team”.

Beyond any athlete or a team of athletes, there is a coaching and support network which looks after them. To be successful in their roles and to ensure the successful development of the athlete or team, the supporting individuals need to be able to complement and dovetail into each other’s services in order to provide solid support. 

This course helps you to understand what it is to be a sports coach and how to better approach and undertake the many and varied tasks that a sports coach must undertake.

Lesson Structure

There are 11 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Sports Coaching
    • What Do We Mean by Sports Coaching?
    • Focus on Sports Coach
    • Sports Coaching Skills and Roles
  2. Professional Standards and Communication in Sports Coaching
    • Ethics in sports coaching
    • Example Code of Ethics
    • Confidentiality
    • Professional Standards in Sports Coaching
    • Good communication with athletes and other sporting professionals
  3. The Coach-Athlete Relationship
    • The relationship between the coach and athlete
    • The 3 + 1Cs Model
    • Other Relationship Models
    • A Two-Way Road
    • Coaching Skills
  4. Training Roles of the Coach and Athlete
    • The Three Stages of Athlete Learning
    • Types of coaching ROLES
    • Autocratic Coaching – teacher and dictator
    • Democratic Coaching – involving
    • Laissez-faire
    • Holistic Coaching – the global approach
    • Which Style is For You?
    • Blended Coaching – the dynamic approach
  5. Motivation
    • What is Motivation?
    • Needs Hierarchy
    • Intrinsic & Extrinsic Motivation
    • Incentives and Rewards
    • Fear as a Motivator
    • How to Motivate Sports People
    • Motivating Through Purpose
    • Offering Autonomy and Support
    • Using Visualisations
    • Case Study
  6. Coaching Individuals
    • Sports that are played by individuals
    • Coaching Skills with the Individual
    • Social Facilitation & the Individual
    • Case studies of coaching working with individuals
  7. Coaching Teams
    • Sports that are played by teams
    • Building Teams
    • Team Dynamics
    • Creating Team Leaders
    • Motivating Teams
    • Social Facilitation & Teams
    • Coaching skills with the team
    • Case studies of sports people in team sports
    • Case Studies of Coaching Working with Team
  8. The Athletic Identity
    • What is the athletic identity?
    • Social Identity Theory
    • Importance of the Athletic Identity
    • Problems with Athletic Identity
    • How a Sports Coach Can Help
    • The Stages of Grieving
    • How does this relate to the sports person?
  9. Children and Parents in Sport
    • Ethical Issues Working with Children
    • How coaching children differs to coaching adults
    • Sports that involve children
    • Coaching Style
    • Psychological issues when children are involved in sport
    • Encouraging Children to Take Up Sports
  10. Amateur Vs Elite Vs Professional Sports Coaching
    • Amateur vs. Professional
    • Case Study
    • Money
  11. Maintaining Your Motivation as a Coach
    • A Recap on Motivation
    • Positive Thinking
    • Staying Focused
    • Staying Engaged
    • How to Deal with Disappointment
    • Maintaining Your Personal Development and Training in Coaching
    • Avoiding Stress and Burnout

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • To explain the role of the sports coach.
    • To explain professional standards and codes of ethics applicable to sports coaching.
    • To explain and define what constitutes the coach-athlete relationship.
    • To explain the roles adopted each by the coach and the athlete.
    • Explain mechanisms which underlie motivation in sport and apply them to motivational strategies.
    • Understand how to work with individual athletes, and methods of coaching them to be successful.
    • To understand team dynamics and methods of coaching teams to be successful.
    • To explain the athletic identity and its significance in sports coaching.
    • To explain important elements of sports coaching for children.
    • To consider the differences between amateur, elite and professional sports coaching.
    • To explain different ways a sports coach can maintain motivation in their role.



The job of a sports coach is to encourage participation in sports and to help improve the performance of individual athletes and teams. They may work with children and the disabled, as well as professional and amateur athletes. Some coaches work part-time or as volunteers, some are self-employed, whereas others are full time employees of sports clubs. Coaches not only have relationships with the athletes themselves, but often other family members, administrators of sports teams or clubs, other related professionals like sports psychologists, nutritionists and doctors, and in some cases fans and fan clubs. 

Sports coaching can therefore be a very demanding position which takes a lot of effort on the part of the coach to help their clients succeed and remain focused, whilst also dealing with the needs and requests of others. 

Whereas in its formative years sports coaching was very much focused on success and failure of athletes or teams, as a profession it has evolved to give more emphasis to relationships with athletes and their development. So, coaching is concerned with more than performance. Development extends to development of athletes as all-round people and of teams as groups with a common purpose.   

Sports coaches have to be knowledgeable about their area of coaching but they don’t necessarily have to have excelled in their preferred sport to make an excellent coach.  In fact, most coaches probably did not reach the top of their field as an athlete, and only very few of those that did go on to make successful coaches. 

Coaches develop training programs with athletes. They have to be able to help athletes develop new skills and to monitor and evaluate their progress. They also make projections about performance and set goals. To get athletes on board, a coach has to nurture a positive learning environment. This means finding effective ways to help athletes absorb information as well as creating activities which generate improvements in results. A range of techniques can be used to achieve this. 

Coaches, like many other professionals, offer a service which is designed to benefit a client. The onus is on the coach to continually strive to improve their skills and techniques in order to offer as good a service as they can to their clients.    

Coaches are professionals and need to be aware of, and work to maintain, certain standards in consideration of those they are responsible to, such as:

  • The athletes they are coaching.
  • The company, leisure centre, or school they are working for.
  • Staff or colleagues at their place of employment or the venue they are working for.
  • The sport(s) they represent.

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Karen Lee

Nutritional Scientist, Dietician, Teacher and Author. BSc. Hons. (Biological Sciences), Postgraduate Diploma Nutrition and Dietetics. Registered dietitian in the UK, with over 15 years working in the NHS. Karen has undertaken a number of research projec
Lyn Quirk

M.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy Over 30 years as Health Club Manager, Fitness Professional, Teacher, Coach and Business manager in health, fitness and leisure industries. As business owner and former department head fo
Jade Sciascia

Biologist, Business Coordinator, Government Environmental Dept, Secondary School teacher (Biology); Recruitment Consultant, Senior Supervisor in Youth Welfare, Horse Riding Instructor (part-completed) and Boarding Kennel Manager. Jade has a B.Sc.Biol, Di
Kieran McCartney

MA Dist.Ed, MSc Sport Sciences, BA, Dip Mgt
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