Sports Coach Career Information
What a Sports Coach does
Your job as a sports coach will not be restricted to teaching youngsters. You will also have to look into areas such as sports management, sports equipment, sports medicine and fitness amongst others.
As a sports coach you could teach novices the basic of the sport or teach a professional player the finer points of the game. You could even specialize in a particular aspect of the game. For instance you could specialize in the art of leg spin bowling in cricket or goal-keeping in football. A sport is no longer just a physical battle. It is also a mental one and you have to look into this aspect as well.
Different coaches have different training methods. As a sports coach you could be strict as a drill sergeant or as loving as a mother. Ultimately, you should be able to bring out the best in your students.
Coaching can be at the individual as well as team level. You have to be prepared for both. You will chart your student's progress graph and determine in which areas he/she needs additional help. As a sports coach you will also hold practice matches amongst your team and with other teams as well.
In tournaments, you will assess the opponents and determine their strengths and weaknesses and accordingly plan your strategy. This may change as the game progresses. So be ready to innovate.
The story does not stop at the end of the game. You will conduct post-game analysis. Whether you win or lose you will need to discuss what went wrong or what needs to be worked on. You have to maintain the focus of your team and look ahead beyond victory or defeat.
Any school is a good starting point. Every school has a Physical Education/ Sports Teacher. The best part is that you get to work with children. Some schools specialise in a particular sport and therefore employ specialist coaches for those particular sports e.g. cricket or football. Job Opportunities:
In colleges and universities the stakes are much higher and you will be under a lot of pressure to deliver results. As a sports coach you could even go on to coach your students for state and national level competitions.
Numerous sports clubs have come up in India. You could be coaching children and even adults who might want to take up the sport as a hobby. If you are the best in your area, top players would line up to be coached by you. You will look after their well being on the field and off the field as well.
As a sports coach you could in addition to this also write sports columns for newspapers, magazines and sports related web sites as well as host TV and radio shows. You could also act as a consultant to sports equipment manufacturers. You might also get positions in state level and national level sports organisations.
Increasingly schools and parents alike are realizing the importance of physical education. Activities like swimming and horse riding are now a part of the school curriculum. Sports are being looked up as a proper career and many parents want their children to be trained by the best.
Sports like hockey and cricket have always had better prospects. But boxing, tennis, badminton, etc. are in the limelight especially because of the good performance of Indian sports person in this field.
A word of caution. You will only be known for your performance in the last game or tournament. This is not an effort-based but a result-based profession. If you produce a world champion then there is no looking back.
Abilities & Traits Required
As a sports coach you have to be a role model. You must not just command their respect, you must earn it. Your students will have the benefit of age over you, yet you must be able to keep up with them. Fitness therefore becomes a very important requirement. You need to be very enthusiastic person and able to inspire and fill people up with energy. A positive mental attitude is a must for coaches.
A very important quality that a coach must have is the ability to infuse self-confidence in a player. In a way as a sports coach you will be a friend, philosopher and guide although not necessarily in that order!
You must enjoy outdoor activities and like to mix around with youngsters. There are numerous coaching courses that you could do.
Your studies will not end there. As a sports coach you will be required to attend professional conferences, clinics and workshops. In some institutes you might have a minimum qualification in terms of age, education and participation in national level tournament but many others don't. So you could still be a coach if you have a passion for sports and a desire to teach and help others.
The basic course is a Bachelor of Physical Education, after which you could also do your Master's. You could specialize in areas such as Bio-mechanics, Exercise Physiology, Sports Psychology, etc. You could even do your Master in Sports Science.
Initially, the money may not be all that great. In schools as a sports coach you could start at Rs 3500 a month. Colleges pay better around Rs 15000-25000. If you are employed as a coach by a company, bank or gymkhana, you will be paid a fixed salary in the range of Rs 25000-35000 a month.
If you are really good and earn a reputation for yourself as a sports coach you, could easily make anything between Rs 35000-40000 every two weeks by holding camps and clinics. Most people however have full-time jobs elsewhere to supplement their part-time coaching.
Interview with a Sports Coach
Adille Sumariwalla , Sports Coach
Recipient of the prestigious Arjuna Award for excellence in Athletics, Adille holds the rare distinction of winning the National Championship for 11 consecutive times in the 100 meters sprint. He also represented India in the 1980 Moscow Olympics. As the Group Vice President of Sai Service, he started The Asian Age Newspaper in Bombay, TV & Entertainment Guide and a television serial for DD 1. He is a Director in the following companies viz. Mid-Day Multimedia Limited, Clear Channel Communications (I) Pvt. Ltd, AIM Associates Private Limited, Mid-Day Outdoor Network Private Limited, SSI Media India Pvt. Ltd. and Bombay Marathon Private Ltd.
How did you get interested in sports? At my school St. Mary's, Mazagaon, a lot of emphasis was laid on sports. There were inter-house sports competitions as well as inter class competitions. In fact St. Mary's was the inter school champions in a variety of sports at that time. Naturally in an environment like this, I participated in all kinds of sports.
How did you know that you were good at athletics? There were some trials being held for the forthcoming inter school athletic meet and I was asked if I wanted to participate in the relay. I didn't think twice about it, gave it a try and ended up beating the inter school champion! So it was more by fluke that I realised that I was good at track and field events.
So when did you seriously think about sports as a career? I never really thought of sports as a profession. I had made up my mind that I would do something else. You must realise that in athletics a sports person's life is till the age of 30. You cannot expect to make enough money to support yourself for the rest of your life. In fact in those days we had to pay in order to participate in competitions! I was always good at studies and so I continued my education along with my training.
How did you feel when you became the national champion? Oh it was a great feeling. But most people don't realise that once you reach the top there is a lot of pressure on you to stay on top. You need to keep on running faster and creating new records. I kept on doing that and in the process became the national champion in the 100 meters 11 times and seven times in the 200 meters.
How did you find out that you won the Arjuna Award? It was very amusing. I had broken my ankle and was sitting at home musing about my future. My television was not working. So I was oblivious to the fact that I had won the award. All of a sudden, a friend called me up and said, "Are bawa, tu Arjuna award jeet gaya!" He had seen it on the news. That's how I found out about it.
How did you turn towards coaching? In 1983, I went to Germany and trained at the Deutsche SportSchule, one of the premier sports training facilities in the world. I trained there with sporting greats such as Carl Lewis, Edwin Moses and Florence Griffith Joyner. I realised there that my training was in fact counterproductive to running sprints. I learnt a lot from there and when I came back I passed on that experience to others. It was from then onwards that I began coaching seriously.
What role does a coach play in the development of an athlete? Well it's a 50-50 relationship. An athlete has the talent and the coach has to harness that potential to the maximum. But a coach does not train you only on the field. A good coach should be living the life of the athlete. He should take care of his physical, mental and personal problems as well.
Can you describe an average day? I come to office at around 8.30. The whole day is spent attending meetings or planning new projects. In the evening however, I hit the track. I have senior athletes training under me. So I supervise their training or let my colleagues handle training programmes such as gym work. I try to polish their skills, try to locate any faults in their techniques, small bits and pieces that go on to add a lot. This usually goes on till around 8.00 p.m.
Why is it that India fails to produce world-class champions? There are a lot of things that go into making a champion. You need proper training by experienced coaches, doctors, physiotherapists, etc. You also need proper equipments. Then you need to look into things such as diet and the mental strength of the athlete. And these do not produce results in short period. Then there are areas such as sports science, sports medicine and Biomechanics. These are very expensive. But India has started doing well. Our record in the Asian games and other regional meets has increased considerably. The future is definitely bright.
What are the misconceptions that people have about coaches? Most people think that all coaches are frauds. They also think that the coach who charges the most is the best. By the time athletes realise this it is too late.
What should be done to improve the quality of sports in this country? We need a lot of corporate support. We need corporations to believe in our sportspersons. The government should build infrastructure. And by that I don't mean huge stadiums. We need things like synthetic tracks, artificial surfaces, special equipments and the best coaches in the world.
Can people make a career out of sports? Yes, these days there is money in this line. But I don't say that sports people have to restrict themselves to just sports to earn their bread and butter. A sportsperson is a very intelligent creature. They are used to making split second decisions, which make the difference between winning and losing. They are good at strategising and quick decision making. I think if there are special programmes for sportsmen then their potential can be tapped by corporate in their management arms.
What is your advice to youngsters? To be a sportsman you need a combination of talent, hard work, dedication, etc. These are just the ingredients. You will have to come up with the winning formula. But remember it's not practice that makes perfect, it is perfect practice that makes you perfect.