How to Become a Football Coach

How to Become a Football Coach

If you’re passionate about football and have always wanted to be a coach, there are several steps you can take to turn your dream into a reality. One of the first things you’ll need to do is get the necessary qualifications and licenses to work in the field. Many careers in football coaching require a license, which can be obtained by completing certain courses and workshops.

To become a head coach or work in higher-level positions, you may need to obtain a master’s degree in a relevant field. There are specialized programs and courses available that can help you become proficient in the various aspects of football coaching. These programs often focus on topics such as athletic training, kinesiology, and data analysis.

It’s also important to constantly improve your skills and knowledge. Attending workshops and courses on topics like leadership, team management, and strategy can help you stay up-to-date with the latest trends in football coaching. The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to coach your team to success.

Ultimately, becoming a football coach is a journey that requires determination and hard work. It’s not just about winning games, but also about helping your players grow both on and off the field. By following these steps and continuously honing your skills, you can build a rewarding career as a football coach and make a positive impact in the lives of your athletes.

What does it take to become a football coach?

Becoming a football coach requires a combination of education, experience, and interpersonal skills. In this section, we will discuss the key factors that contribute to becoming a successful football coach.

Education and Certification


Coaching experience is crucial for aspiring football coaches. This can be gained by volunteering as a coach at local schools or youth clubs. Working your way up through the coaching ranks and gaining experience at different levels of play, such as high school or college, is highly recommended. Some coaches also choose to work as football scouts to develop a better understanding of the game and player evaluation.

Skills and Qualities

Full-time or Part-time

Choosing between a full-time or part-time coaching career depends on your personal preferences and goals. Full-time positions, such as coaching at the professional or collegiate level, provide a higher salary, more job security, and a stricter schedule. Part-time positions, on the other hand, offer flexibility and may be suitable if you have other commitments or are just starting out in your coaching career.

Career Progression

The career progression of football coaches can vary greatly depending on their experience, qualifications, and connections within the football community. Starting as an assistant coach or an apprentice under an experienced coach can provide valuable learning opportunities and help you progress to higher levels. Networking and building relationships with other coaches, football associations, and sports organizations can also open doors to new coaching opportunities.

Why become a football coach?

Becoming a football coach can be a rewarding and fulfilling career choice for those who are passionate about the sport. It allows you to take your love for football and turn it into a profession, while also having the opportunity to positively impact the lives of players.

One of the most important reasons to become a football coach is the chance to make a difference in the lives of those you work with. As a coach, you have the ability to instill important values and life skills in your players, such as teamwork, discipline, and perseverance. Seeing your players grow and develop both on and off the field can be incredibly rewarding.

For those who have played football before, coaching allows you to stay involved in the game and continue to be connected to the sport you love. While the focus may be different from playing, coaching gives you the opportunity to use your knowledge and experience to guide and mentor the next generation of players.

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In terms of qualifications, there are various routes you can take to become a football coach. While having played the game at a high level can be beneficial, it is not always necessary. The Football Association (FA) offers coaching courses that provide the necessary knowledge and credentials needed to become a coach. These courses cover different aspects of coaching, including understanding the game, developing coaching skills, and working with players of all levels.

When it comes to salary, the average salary of a football coach can vary greatly depending on factors such as league level, team size, and location. In general, the higher the level of competition, the higher the salary. Winning teams and those with quality coaching staff are more likely to attract higher-paying positions. However, it is important to note that coaching at the amateur level is often a volunteer position, with no monetary compensation.

In summary, becoming a football coach can be a fulfilling and rewarding career choice if you are passionate about the sport and enjoy working with players. While there are no specific degree requirements, obtaining the necessary credentials and gaining experience through volunteering can help you progress in your coaching career. The opportunity to positively impact the lives of players and be involved in the game you love makes coaching an attractive career choice.

Pros of Becoming a Football CoachCons of Becoming a Football Coach
  • Opportunity to make a difference in players’ lives
  • Stay involved in the game you love
  • Chance to instill important values and life skills
  • Flexible career progression routes
  • No specific degree requirements
  • Salary can vary greatly
  • Coaching at amateur level often voluntary
  • Competition for higher-level coaching positions

Step 1: Gain Playing Experience

To become a football coach, it is crucial to have playing experience as it gives you a valuable insight into the game. Playing football helps you understand the tactical aspects, the teamwork required, and the overall dynamics of the sport.

It is recommended to focus on playing as much as you can and aim to master different positions on the field. Gain experience in a variety of games, from school teams to higher levels such as college or semi-professional leagues. The more you play, the better understanding you’ll have of the game.

In addition to playing, it is also advisable to take courses or workshops related to football. The NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) and other sports associations often offer helpful workshops and coaching programs to aspiring coaches. These programs provide valuable insights into coaching tactics and strategies.

When you’re on the field, make a conscious effort to observe your coaches and their actions. Take note of how they motivate the team, communicate strategies, and manage in-game situations. Learning from experienced coaches can be incredibly beneficial in your journey to becoming a football coach.

Lastly, seek feedback from your coaches and teammates. Understand what you need to improve on and work on those areas diligently. Showing a willingness to learn and grow as a player will demonstrate to potential employers and coaching staff that you are serious about pursuing a coaching career.

Overall, gaining playing experience is an essential first step towards becoming a football coach. It provides you with a solid foundation in the game of football and allows you to develop the necessary skills and understanding needed to coach effectively.

Start playing football

To become a football coach, it is essential to have a strong foundation in the sport. The best way to start is by playing football yourself. By immersing yourself in the game, you’ll gain knowledge and experience that will be invaluable in your coaching career.

There are a variety of routes you can take to get involved in playing football. You can join a local team, whether it’s a school team, a club team, or even an amateur league. The more time you spend playing, the more you’ll learn about the game and its intricacies.

While playing the game, take the opportunity to observe and learn from your coaches. Pay attention to their strategies, tactics, and how they motivate the team. Take note of the coaching styles that resonate with you and the ones that you believe could be more effective.

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Aside from playing, it’s also important to study the game. Watch football games, both live and recorded, to gain a deeper understanding of different playing styles and strategies. Analyze the data, keep track of statistics, and study winning teams to identify patterns and trends.

Things to consider when playing football:
– Join a local team or league
– Pursue a degree in a sports-related field
– Take advantage of coaching courses and apprenticeship programs
– Learn from your coaches’ strategies and styles
– Study the game through watching and analyzing football games

Becoming proficient as a player will help you gain credibility and respect from your future team as a coach. It will also provide you with valuable insights into the game and enhance your ability to communicate effectively with your players.

Remember, there is no set path to becoming a football coach. Some coaches have played at the professional level, while others have focused on coaching from an early age. What is important is that you immerse yourself in the football environment and continuously seek to improve your knowledge and skills as a coach.

Join a local football team

Joining a local football team is an essential step in becoming a football coach. It provides you with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience, learn the nuances of the game, and develop your coaching skills.

When joining a local football team, you should focus on getting as much practical experience as possible. This means getting involved in practices and matches, observing the coach’s tactics and strategies, and understanding how the team functions as a whole.

Gaining experience at different levels

It is recommended to gain experience at different levels of the game, from amateur to university or college teams. This will give you a well-rounded understanding of different playing styles and strategies.

Joining a variety of teams also allows you to network with other coaches and players, which can be beneficial for your future career in coaching.

Getting your coaching credentials

To become a football coach, you will need to earn the necessary coaching credentials. This typically includes completing coaching coursework, gaining coaching experience, and passing a coaching license exam.

Some recommended certifications and licenses include those offered by the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) and the National Football Coaches Association (NFCA).

Understanding the game from a tactical perspective

A football coach needs to have a strong understanding of the game from a tactical perspective. This includes knowledge of offensive and defensive strategies, player positioning, and game management.

To develop your tactical understanding of the game, you can attend workshops, take coaching courses, and study game footage. Analyzing matches and studying the tactics used by successful teams can also help improve your coaching skills.

Gain knowledge in sports science and kinesiology

Having a good grasp of sports science and kinesiology can greatly benefit your coaching career. Understanding how the body moves, the impact of nutrition on performance, and proper conditioning techniques can help you develop effective training programs for your team.

You can study sports science and kinesiology at the university level, or take courses or workshops that focus on these topics. Having this knowledge can give you an edge over other coaches and make you more proficient in your coaching methods.

Work as an assistant coach or apprentice

Working as an assistant coach or apprentice under an experienced coach can provide valuable learning opportunities. This allows you to shadow a head coach, learn from their expertise, and gain hands-on experience in managing a team.

An apprenticeship or assistant coaching role also gives you the chance to receive feedback and guidance from a more experienced professional. This can help you improve your coaching skills and enhance your chances of getting hired as a head coach in the future.

Steps to becoming a football coach:
1. Join a local football team
2. Gain experience at different levels
3. Get your coaching credentials
4. Understand the game from a tactical perspective
5. Gain knowledge in sports science and kinesiology
6. Work as an assistant coach or apprentice

Step 2: Earn coaching qualifications

Coaching Courses

One of the best ways to become a football coach is to enroll in coaching courses and gain valuable knowledge and skills in the field. There are coaching courses available at different levels, from introductory courses to advanced specializations. These courses cover a range of topics such as tactical understanding, teamwork, motivation, and game strategies. Some courses may also include practical sessions where you can apply what you have learned in real-life coaching situations.

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College Degrees

For those who want to further their coaching education, earning a college degree can be a beneficial step. Many colleges and universities offer programs in coaching, sports science, kinesiology, or other related fields. These degrees provide a more in-depth understanding of coaching principles and may help you stand out when seeking coaching positions.

Graduate Degrees

If you’re looking to take your coaching career to the next level, pursuing a master’s degree in coaching or a related field could be a great option. A graduate degree can provide even more specialized knowledge and skills in areas such as sports psychology, leadership, and athlete development. Some graduate programs also offer opportunities for research and internships, allowing you to gain valuable experience in the field.

Apprenticeship and Work Experience

While gaining theoretical knowledge is important, gaining practical experience is equally crucial to becoming a proficient coach. Look for opportunities to work as an assistant coach or participate in apprenticeships with established teams or athletic organizations. This will allow you to learn from experienced coaches, observe their coaching techniques, and gain hands-on experience in coaching teams of different levels.

Football Associations and Coaching Credentials

Joining a football association can also be beneficial for gaining coaching credentials and staying connected with the coaching community. Different football associations offer coaching licenses and certifications at various levels, which can help validate your skills and expertise. These credentials may be required or preferred for coaching positions on certain teams or in certain leagues.

Overall, becoming a football coach requires a combination of education, practical experience, and credentials. By completing coaching courses, earning relevant degrees, gaining practical experience, and obtaining coaching credentials, you can position yourself as a qualified and knowledgeable coach ready to take on the challenges of coaching football at different levels.

Enroll in coaching courses

If you’re serious about becoming a football coach, one of the first steps you’ll need to take is to enroll in coaching courses. These courses will provide you with the necessary knowledge and skills to become a successful coach.

There are a variety of coaching courses available, each with their own requirements and specializations. Some courses are more focused on the technical side of coaching, while others may focus on leadership and team management skills. It’s important to research and find a course that aligns with your interests and goals.

There are several ways to enroll in coaching courses. You can look for workshops and seminars offered by coaching associations or sports organizations. These workshops often cover a wide range of topics and can provide you with valuable insights and hands-on training.

If you’re still in school, you may also be able to take coaching courses as part of your curriculum. Some universities offer programs in sports management or kinesiology that include coaching courses. These programs can provide a more in-depth education in the field and may require a higher level of commitment.

Another option is to enroll in online coaching courses. These courses offer flexibility and can be completed at your own pace. Online courses also provide access to a wealth of information and resources that can help you become a better coach.

In addition to formal coaching courses, it’s also important to gain practical experience. Volunteering to coach a local youth team or assisting a more experienced coach can provide valuable hands-on experience in a real-life coaching environment.

Furthermore, higher level certifications and credentials may be needed to progress in your coaching career. Organizations such as the NFL or NCAA may have specific requirements and qualifications for coaching at higher levels. It’s important to research and know the specific requirements for the level you aspire to coach at.

Ultimately, becoming a football coach requires dedication, hard work, and a passion for the sport. By enrolling in coaching courses, gaining practical experience, and staying up-to-date with the latest trends and techniques in the field, you can work towards becoming a successful and effective football coach.


Do I need a Master’s degree in kinesiology to become a football coach?

No, a Master’s degree in kinesiology is not a requirement to become a football coach. While having a Master’s degree in kinesiology can provide you with a deeper understanding of sports science and performance, it is not essential for a coaching career. Practical experience, coaching education, and relevant certifications are often more important in the field of coaching.

Can I become a football coach without previous playing experience?

While previous playing experience can be beneficial for becoming a football coach, it is not an absolute requirement. Coaching is a different skill set that focuses on strategy, communication, and leadership. However, having a strong understanding of the game and its nuances can be advantageous when coaching players. If you don’t have previous playing experience, it is important to compensate by gaining a deep understanding of the sport through studying, attending coaching education programs, and gaining practical experience through coaching at lower levels.

Dave Pennells

By Dave Pennells

Dave Pennells, MS, has contributed his expertise as a career consultant and training specialist across various fields for over 15 years. At City University of Seattle, he offers personal career counseling and conducts workshops focused on practical job search techniques, resume creation, and interview skills. With a Master of Science in Counseling, Pennells specializes in career consulting, conducting career assessments, guiding career transitions, and providing outplacement services. Her professional experience spans multiple sectors, including banking, retail, airlines, non-profit organizations, and the aerospace industry. Additionally, since 2001, he has been actively involved with the Career Development Association of Australia.