CareerChoice:Sports Coaching

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The language of sports is universal. No matter where you are from, if you have a basic understanding of any game, the adrenaline rush and excitement it brings as soon as you become engrossed in it, is basically the same. It doesn’t matter whether you are actually participating in the game or among the crowds of other sports enthusiast doing the “wave” or even just inside the comforts of your home being your usual couch potato self.

In India, sports fanaticism is likewise as common as with the rest of the world. Anyone who has been to an Indian cricket match will be left in no doubt that the nation is passionate about sports. Other popular sports in India include soccer, field hockey, lawn tennis and chess. Although hockey is the official sport of India, cricket has become much more popular.

In common with much of Asia, India receives major European sporting events via satellite television although with less people gathered around televisions. Watching sport live in India is an incredibly social event.

It is not surprising therefore that more and more people in India are becoming interested in launching a career in sports. Academics from some of India's prominent universities say there are opportunities galore in the field. Universities and other educational institutions have also realized the importance of sports and physical education as a viable career option as well.

Among the possible career options in sports are: as Physical Education Instructors, as Coaches, as an Umpire or Referee, as professional players or as a Sports Journalist.

A career in coaching is fast becoming popular. There are coaches for each game and athletic event. Generally, the main job of a coach is to select potential players, give them instructions about the rules of the games, plan the precision of their movements, demonstrate techniques of the play, observe players in action and offer helpful criticism and corrective methods. They are also expected to accompany players during tournaments and provide the necessary guidance as well as boost up their player’s morale.

Nature of Job

Coaching comes when the coach has to analyze and develop training programs to help develop the athlete. This analysis process relies heavily on the coach's experience and knowledge of the sport and the athlete concerned. By understanding the science, which is the foundation of training, a well designed training program can be developed that will help an athlete reach their full potential.

The coaching philosophy must be precise and explained thoroughly to clarify many aspects of the coach's delivery and presents a consistent and positive message to the athletes being coached. One of the strongest benefits arising from a consistent and sincere approach to coaching is trust. A strong bond between coach and athlete leads to higher levels of commitment and athletic performance. With that in mind it is the wise coach that takes the time to think through and formalize his or her personal coaching philosophy

A coach must be able to encourage his players to learn, to believe in what he's teaching them and to help the players always stay optimistic. There should never be an assumption that any of the new athletes can understand or perform what he is trying to teach them.

To start with, an evaluation should be done in order to determine the potential player's physical and mental abilities. Subsequently, the coach should then try and raise the athlete's ability by skill work and techniques on the field and using classroom work off of the field. The trust that will be developing between the coach and athlete during this time will encourage the player to believe in the coach's teachings. In the same manner, it is important that players know that their coach has their best interest in mind.

Similarly, a coach must know the rudimentary of Sports Psychology. The increased stress of competitions can cause athletes to react both physically and mentally in such a way that it can negatively affect their performance. For this reason, the coach should be able to know the techniques that athletes can use in the competitive situation to maintain control and optimize their performance.

The objective should always be to create an environment in which all players, including the least gifted athlete to the most gifted athlete, develop a mindset that they are all an important part of the team.

The coach should also consider individual differences, particularly in the manner and rate each athlete learns. Some players will learn by memorizing the material written on the board. Others will learn orally and still others can only learn by hands on experience. It is up to the coach to show these presentations and drills to the team and decide what avenue of teaching is best for each player. The coach should then be able to make improvements in his athlete's abilities by coaching and showing them where they can advance and improve their skills.

It is also very crucial that the coach keep his players on a positive mode, even after an error was made. One good technique is to sandwich a negative comment or correction between two positive statements. Usually a player knows when he has made an error, so it's up to the coach to focus on the positive to help the player get over the negative. This will help keep the athlete from beating himself up about his error.


An effective coach is required to always be enthusiastic and physically fit. Hence he should adhere to continuous physical training and maintain a positive attitude in general.

He should likewise be absolutely committed to the profession and the game and not just stay because of the remuneration or prestige that he will be getting.

Other equally important credentials that a coach must have are:

  • Several years of experience and training
  • Patience, perseverance and a sporting spirit
  • Communication and business skills
  • Psychomotor and physical conditioning
  • Understanding of how the mind and body works
  • Good organizational skills

Professional Courses

To start a career in coaching, one must be equipped with the right educational and training background. Nowadays, there are several institutions in India that offers such courses/degree.

For those wanting to undergo a formal education in sports, the Laxmibai National College of Physical Education at Gwalior and Thiruvanthapuram and the Indira Gandhi Institute of Physical Education and Sports Sciences, University of Delhi, conduct Bachelor’s and Master’s degree courses in physical education, sports medicine and research in sports. Other institutes that impart sports education include: Panjab University, Chandigarh, Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, Bangalore University, University of Calcutta, University of Delhi and Benares Hindu University.

Osmania University, also offers physical education courses in both under-graduate and post-graduate levels. There are also Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar and Lakshmibai National Institute of Physical Education (LNIPE), Gwalior.

Some of the institutions that specifically offer a Diploma in Coaching are:

  • Netaji Subhash National Institute of Sports, Montibagh, Patiala Punjab
  • National Sports East Centre, Salt Lake City, Sector-III, Calcutta, West Bengal
  • National Sports West Centre, Sports Complex. Sector-15, Gandhinagar, Gujarat

For a more comprehensive listing of related courses offered in Indian Universities, those who are interested may further look into online listings of Sports and Physical Fitness Institutes in India:

   * Andhra Pradesh (1)
   * Arunachal Pradesh (1)
   * Chadigarh (3)
   * Colleges in Delhi (4)
   * Colleges in Gujarat (4)
   * Colleges in Haryana (2)
   * Colleges in Karnataka (7)
   * Colleges in Kerala (2)
   * Colleges in Madhya Pradesh (15)
   * Colleges in Maharashtra (20)
   * Colleges in North Bengal (1)
   * Colleges in Orissa (3)
   * Colleges in Punjab (8)
   * Colleges in Tamil Nadu (7)
   * Colleges in Thiruvananthapuram (1)
   * Colleges in Uttar Pradesh (4)
   * Colleges in West Bengal (5)

Career Growth and Prospects

Trained coaches are in demand at all the training centers set up by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and by state and central sports bodies. Coaches can also find openings in sports clubs, schools and colleges and as in-house coaches for corporate sports teams.

Tourism is a booming industry globally. And there are a lot of resorts and hotels investing in adventure sports to attract tourists. So a degree in adventure sports will always come handy for a job in this sector.


How to find a job

A listing of employment opportunities are always available online. This is the easiest and so far the most accessible way to find an employment as an Athletic Coach. Others may apply directly to schools Fitness and Sports Clubs/Organizations and other similar institutions.

There are likewise various employment opportunities abroad. An aspiring Sports Coach may also improve his standing and chances to get a better job if he would start out as a volunteer Coach, particularly if he doesn’t have any previous work experiences yet.

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