PROFESSION

Community Sports Coach


Rich Siveter

Name:
Rich Siveter

Degree:
BA Hons Sports Management

Employer:
Rugby Football Union

  • Typical Day
  • Advantages
  • Qualifications
  • Resources

A day in the life of a...
Community Sports Coach

Job Description
A community sports coach is a qualified professional coach who provides high quality sports coaching and physical activity for young people.

These coaches work with local authorities, sports governing bodies, schools, sports clubs and leisure centres.

Aims of a community sports coach are to increase participation, support talent and provide an opportunity for young people to enjoy playing sport.

A day in a life of a community sports coach
I look at my planner to see where I am coaching, what sessions I’m delivering and then revise my session plans so I know exactly what I am coaching. You have to be flexible and amend what you had originally planned to deliver depending on what the teacher wants you to deliver or circumstances beyond your control such as the weather.

I then travel off to my sessions, register at the schools reception and get taken to the PE department where I meet and greet with the class teacher who gives me some information about the class. 

I usually deliver a session for about an hour but often it depends on lesson time available. The sessions are fun, active and high paced with the overall aim of the children enjoying it and learning something about rugby.

I have to use a whole variety of skills during the session which include explaining and demonstrating games and practices, observing and analysing skills to provide feedback for improving the player’s abilities and a constant overview of safety and enjoyment levels of the class.

The sessions are wrapped up with a re-cap of what has been taught and then collecting in the equipment. I then have to log my data reports and record how many children have been coached and break that data down into various groupings for reporting procedures.

The number and types of sessions you deliver are very varied and because Rugby is a seasonal sport there are times that you are very busy and times when your days are filled with other activities such as camps during school holidays.

You can spend quite a lot of time planning and doing admin duties such as phoning and booking schools as part of an overall strategic plan. Festivals are a major part of our work programme because you want the participants to actually play the game as well as be coached so you may end up running a whole festival for a group of schools in your area. 

As with any job you constantly need to make sure you have the most up to date and suitable skills to perform your role and we are often sent on Continuous Professional Development courses. Not only do we deliver actual coaching sessions but we often deliver coach education sessions to coaches in the evening and weekends so they can improve and develop their schools and clubs. One day is very rarely the same as the next. 

3 great things about being a Community Sports Coach

 

1. The satisfaction you get from providing an activity that participants love, enjoy and learn something from
   
2. The opportunity to influence somebody’s life with sport in the hope it has a positive impact and continues to do so throughout their lives
   
3. The constant change and challenges you face that is not replicated in the normal 9 to 5 lifestyle
   
3 not so great things about being a community sports coach
   
1. There is a lot of planning involved with the projects you deliver and it doesn’t always get used so you feel sometimes work is wasted, but it is also a positive as that creates the challenge in your job
   
2. Unfortunately the salary is not fantastic, but you enter into this career path more for job satisfaction than financial gain
   
3. To be honest I am struggling to find a third thing that is not so great, it is a very enjoyable and satisfying job!

 

Qualifications recommended you gain

My advice on qualifications would be to gain experience in coaching before qualifying. Try your hand at volunteering at school or your local club to help assist the current coaches. Try to learn and understand some of the roles of what being a coach involves and whether you enjoy it or not. 

Once you have some experience this will either enthuse you to find out more or help you understand whether it is the right path for you. If it is right for you then I would recommend doing a beginner coaching course that gives you a gentle insight into what you need to do to become a qualified coach. Courses in rugby include Community Leaders Awards, TAG Rugby or Rugby Ready. I would then go back to broadening your experiences and volunteering as a coach but taking on a little more responsibility and using the skills you have learnt. 

Getting a coach mentor at this point is very useful as they will watch you and give you helpful feedback on how to improve. Make sure your mentor is honest with you and is of a higher level of experience than you, so choosing a friend may hinder your feedback. Try and keep a diary of things that went well and things that didn’t go so well and keep referring back to it as you might find consistencies with problems or find out what your strengths are. That way you can begin to self analyse more and look to improve areas of weakness and build on strengths.

I would then begin to gain qualifications such as your level 1 from the recognised National Governing Body of your chosen sport. This will give you the necessary skills to be a competent assistant coach and even lead coach in some instances, remember though you still need to go away and gain even more experience in coaching and practise what you have learnt. 
 
Other qualifications at this point are a must for coaching such as first aid certificates, working with and safe guarding children certificates and a CRB check. These will make sure you are safe and competent in your working environment and often they will be linked to your chosen level 1 course.

As your experiences grow you may wish to ask for work experience placements with current community coaches to get a real feel for the job. Often you will find the community coach job adverts require you to be a level 2 coach or working towards level 2 so if you feel you are ready to embark on your level 2 then begin to apply, but remember there is a big step up in coaching competences from level 1 to level 2 so make sure you have gained enough experience and knowledge of your chosen sport between courses. It is usually recommended that you leave about 2 years between level 1 and 2 so you have been able to apply your learning before progressing to level 2 but NGB’s do vary and can be influenced by your previous experiences. 
 
Once you are a competent level 2 coach and have a solid base of experiences I would suggest you research job pages to find positions that are available and gain valuable interview experience by applying.

Coaching badges or certificates do not necessarily mean you are a good coach. It is about understanding the role and being able to apply your knowledge at the right times and not rushing to collect as many badges/certificates as you can. 
 
3 opportunities and experiences you recommend people gain?
   
1. Volunteer to be a coaching assistant at your local sports club
   
2. Gain work experience placements
   
3. Try coaching different sports and ages to test your coaching ability and not just have knowledge of one sport.

Salary range?
£15,000 - £18,000
 
Useful Websites
www.cswsport.org.uk
www.youthsporttrust.org
www.culture.gov.uk/index.aspx
www.dcsf.gov.uk
www.ukschoolgames.com
www.everychildmatters.gov.uk
www.qca.org.uk/default.aspx
www.teachernet.gov.uk
www.sportengland.org
www.sportscoachuk.org
www.sportsleaders.org
 

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