The Road to Becoming an Elite Sports Coach

Many dream of becoming a top-class coach at the highest level of sport, however doing so will not come easy, with a number of steps having to be taken. Simply collecting coaching badges is no longer enough, so just how can coaches achieve their goals in this area?

A recent study, carried out by UK Coaching, found that experiences away from formal coaching education have helped individuals in reaching an elite environment. A number of common themes were raised by this research also, with participants having been asked individually about their development history. Let’s take a closer look at the different findings in more detail.




  • Many participants believed that they had benefited from finding a mentor, someone in which they had respect for, as well as someone who is an expert in their particular field. Doing so enabled current elite coaches to have someone to aspire towards, as well as another means of learning new skills.


  • With modern-day coaching being made up of so many different aspects, coaches must not be afraid to use people when it comes to learning.



  • However, coaches must be aware that not everything in which they pick up along the way will be gospel, meaning that they must ultimately decide which advice to take forward with them.


Gain Experience


  • It is fair to say that coaches can never have too much experience, with all of the individuals interviewed as part of UK Coaching’s study stating that coaches must have ample experience in order to work at an elite level.


  • Such experience does not necessarily have to come from playing at a high level yourself, with technical and tactical learning also available from amassing a large number of coaching hours.


Don’t Stop Learning


  • Coaches will begin to stagnate the moment they lose motivation for learning new things.


  • The best coaches are constantly looking to improve, believing that their peak is still ahead of them. As a result, they will take it upon themselves to learn, whether it be from finding a mentor or undertaking additional training.


Improving Interpersonal Skills


  • An area that is often overlooked is the development of interpersonal skills, with elite coaching not simply being about standout technical knowledge.


  • Relevant communication, as well as the ability to build and maintain strong relationships, are perhaps the hallmarks of any successful coach, whatever the level.



Upgrade Your CV


  • Whilst some will be able to walk into elite coaching because of the playing careers in which they have behind them, others must work hard in other areas, including developing skills in other areas, whether it be analysis or IT.


  • Elite coaches must have a USP, with those within the industry being able to quickly work out the strengths in which you bring to the table.