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How to Become a Football Coach

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How to Become a Football Coach

Do you dream of a career on the sidelines when you watch football games? Coaching can be an excellent career choice if you have an extensive knowledge of the game, good communication skills, and the ability to lead and motivate young athletes. If you plan to become a football coach, you may benefit by following a few of these tips.

Further Your Education

You’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree to coach football at a college or university. A degree may also be necessary if you want to coach a high school team, as it’s not unusual for coaches to also work as teachers.

Majoring in education, business, exercise physiology, sports management, athletic training or a related field can help prepare you to instruct and coach young players. If you’re an aspiring college coach, you may find it helpful to pursue a master’s degrees at a university with a strong football team. If you obtain a position as graduate assistant for the football team, you’ll receive on the job training and also attract the attention of the coaches who make hiring decisions for the team.

Volunteer Your Services

Although getting paid to coach football may be your ultimate goal, volunteering can help you gain the experience you need to be considered for coaching positions. Teams at all levels need volunteers. Whether you help the local youth football team improve blocking or serve as unpaid intern for a professional team, you’ll accumulate skills you can add to your resume.

Find a Niche as a Football Coach

In addition to honing your general coaching skills, look for ways you can add value and raise your profile. You might volunteer to :

-- Run the conditioning program

-- Create a program to enhance visual skills used in football

-- Recommend safety improvements

-- Review and analyze game films

-- Assist with the team’s social media or fundraising needs

Look for a Mentor or Two

Connections are just as important in football as they are in business. A good mentor can provide advice that makes you a more attractive coaching candidate, and can and pass along inside information about anticipated job openings. Your mentor doesn’t necessarily need to be the head coach of a team. Assistant coaches and management staff can provide valuable insights and offer advice that will help you stand out when you’re looking for a coaching job.

Become friendly with the office staff, too. The head football coach’s administrative assistant may be willing to share information about staffing needs and job openings, if you develop a cordial relationship with him.

Get Certified

Football coaching certification may make you a more attractive candidate for coaching positions. USA Football offers certification options for youth, middle school, high school, rookie tackle and flag football. Among the topics covered are shoulder tackling, blocking, concussions, coaching foundations, heat illness prevention and equipment fitting.

Consider More Than Salary

Evaluate the skills you’ll gain from a football coaching position in addition to the salary. A job that doesn’t pay all that well initially may give you more responsibility, and ultimately more experience, than a higher paying position. If you want to coach at the college or university level, you’ll need to demonstrate that you’ve had jobs with increasing levels of responsibility.

You may see key differences in the high school football coach salary by state, particularly in states where high school football is by far the most popular sport. Salaries can also vary significantly, whether you apply for a coaching position at a small, Division 3 school or a huge, Division 3 powerhouse.