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How to Become a Basketball Trainer

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Basketball trainers work with athletes at every level, from novice middle school basketball players to skilled professionals. They work to keep athletes in good shape, and actively strive to prevent injuries with appropriate training. Before you can begin working with players, you'll must become a certified athletic trainer and, if your state requires a license, seek licensure.

Get the Right Education

To train basketball players, you must have a bachelor's or master's degree in athletic training from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. While in school, take electives on basketball-specific training and injuries, and gain hands-on experience by volunteering with your college basketball team or a local intramural league. In these volunteer jobs, you must work under an athletic trainer rather than serving as an athletic trainer yourself. To become certified, you must complete at least two years of clinical training as part of your education.

Become Certified

To begin practicing as a trainer, you must be certified by the National Athletic Trainers' Association. This requires taking and passing a written skills test. Most states require athletic trainers to become licensed, which means that you'll have to complete a license application, provide your skills test scores and pay a licensing fee. You may also be required to attend continuing education courses to maintain your license.

Gain Experience

Gain resume-building experience by apprenticing under an experienced athletic trainer who works with basketball players. Your college professors may be willing to let you apprentice under them, or they may recommend a trainer who would be willing to work with you. Some athletic programs also offer internships. If you can't find an internship or apprenticeship, volunteer with a small league. For example, you might work with troubled children to form a basketball league and serve as their athletic trainer.

Find a Job

To land a job, your resume must show, at minimum, that you are certified and that you have knowledge in basketball-specific training protocols. Most athletic trainers start with small local teams, such as middle or high school basketball teams. You might also work one-on-one with struggling basketball players. From there, work your way up into bigger name teams, including college and professional basketball teams. Doing so demands that you network and build a name for yourself within the basketball community. Attend professional conferences, basketball events, and team meet-and-greets to maximize your exposure.


Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.

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