How to Become a Strength and Conditioning Coach

Do you want to inspire others to achieve their best performance? Have you reached your own goals and would like to help others achieve theirs? If so, becoming a strength and conditioning coach might be of interest to you.

Coaches have a huge impact on the success of an athlete. Researchers found that coaches account for a 20%-30% variation in team outcome.

Strength and conditioning coaches help athletes at high school, college, and professional levels. Their job is to help them become the best athletes they can be. But who is coaching the coach?

Are you interested in starting your coaching career? Read on for our guide on how to become a strength and conditioning coach.

What Is a Strength and Conditioning Coach?

A strength and conditioning coach has various jobs within their role. A coach helps others to improve their fitness, performance, and skill. Strength and conditioning coaches work with professional athletes and teams for this reason.

Strength and conditioning coaches are usually athletes themselves. They have had first-hand experiences of performing within competitive sports. They are there to not only provide sport-specific training programs but to keep them healthy.

What Does a Strength and Conditioning Coach Do?

A strength and conditioning coach must be able to display several personality traits and abilities. To have a successful relationship with their client they must be a leader and a listener. As a coach, you must prescribe movements and exercises to suit your client’s needs.

Coaching

As a coach, your first job is to improve your client’s athletic performance. This can include working on their speed, strength, and power. It depends on what sport they are training for.

You will take into consideration what goals your client wishes to achieve. You can create a systematic program to meet their targets with this information.

Coaches can work with individuals or teams to improve their performance. This will usually include assessing their performance before and after your program and supervising their workouts. The type of program you place them on will depend on whether they are training during the off-season.

Coaches should have excellent knowledge and educational background in their field.

Reducing the Risk of Injury

Another important part of a strength and conditioning coach’s job is to reduce athletic injuries. Coaches will often design their programs around parts of the body that are prone to injuries within the athlete’s sport. To do this, coaches must know the correct exercises and techniques to prevent athletes from getting injured during training.

The coach will also monitor the athlete’s health throughout training and provide nutritional advice if they have the relevant qualifications. Many coaches will refer athletes to a registered dietician to make sure they are receiving the best nutrition counseling.

Demonstrating the correct use of equipment can also reduce the risk of injury. Teaching proper lifting techniques and supervising clients while they use equipment will enable the coach to determine whether the athlete needs help in this area.

Qualities Will You Need to Become a Coach

Strength and conditioning coaches must display many fundamental skills to be successful. You can learn most of these qualities through the correct training.

Communication

To build a rapport with each athlete you work with, excellent communication skills are essential. Being able to communicate both in writing and verbally is an integral part of succeeding as a coach. You will not only be working with athletes but other professionals in the field of sport such as other coaches, sports therapists, and the media.

You will demonstrate these skills by dealing with conflict within teams, listening, and forming strong relationships with athletes. By showing your clients you are a good communicator, you will gain a better understanding of what their goals are and how to help them achieve them.

Leadership

As a coach, you must be able to organize a team of athletes and guide them to achieve their goals. Training programs can be hard work. Getting athletes to train as hard as they should requires expert motivational and leadership skills.

Organizational Skills

Strength and conditioning coaches must have excellent organizational skills. You may be working with more than one athlete at a time, so you must be able to keep track of each client’s progress. Coaches must have the ability to collect and analyze data to help solve an athlete’s or team’s problem.

Coaches should provide accurate and reliable information to athletes. This will help them to progress within their sport.

Steps to Become a Strength and Conditioning Coach

As you can imagine, becoming a strength and conditioning coach is not something you can achieve overnight. The athletes you work with expect you to know their sport better than they do. A combination of education and experience will help you on the path to a successful strength and conditioning coaching career.

Education

Most organizations require their strength and conditioning coaches to have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as sports science. Completing your bachelor’s degree is the first step you should take on your path to becoming a strength and conditioning coach. Although it is not essential to obtain a degree, you may find clients do not come as easily without one.

By completing a bachelor’s degree you can demonstrate that you have studied coaching, nutrition, and exercise science in detail and have gained the knowledge required to coach athletes. Popular subjects for bachelor’s degrees include physical education, physiology, and exercise science.

Many organizations will also list a master’s degree as one of the required credentials for a coaching position. Completing a master’s degree will not only further your education as a coach but also demonstrate your professional competence.

Certification

Gaining an accredited certification such as a certificate in stretching will help to show potential clients and employers your abilities as a coach. Athletes expect stretching exercises as part of their session with you.

Other certifications such as strength and conditioning coach certificates and sports medicine qualifications will help you stand out from other applicants when applying for positions as a coach.

Experience

Professional teams and athletes may want you to have experience playing their chosen sport as well as experience coaching. Hands-on experience is vital if you want to work for major teams and professional athletes. Coaches who want to become head coaches in the future will need to gain several years of professional experience.

Many coaches will gain experience by working as an assistant sports coach before progressing as a fully qualified coach. Internships may also be available in your area. This can give you an opportunity to meet and make connections with other professionals and coaches before you apply for a full-time role.

You can apply for an internship while you study. Internships are a great way to get references for a graduate program or to gain employment. Check out local gyms and fitness centers for internship opportunities.

What is the Salary of a Strength and Conditioning Coach?

The average salary for a strength and conditioning coach is $41,000, according to Payscale. This can vary depending on whether a coach works in a gym, high school, or for a professional sports team. The more experienced you become, the higher your salary will climb.

Salary can also vary depending on your level of education and location. Coaches who work for high-profile teams can make six-figure salaries.

Employment Opportunities

Strength and conditioning coaching is a very competitive field. The success of your application for a position will depend on your experience level and how qualified you are as a coach. Demonstrating that you have the qualities of a good coach to a potential employer is essential if you want your application to stand out from the rest.

Make sure that when you apply for a position you follow the instructions given to you. This is your first opportunity to show your ability to follow instructions. Double-check that your resume is up to date.

Your qualifications should also match the role you are applying for.

If you reach the interview process, ensure that you are dressed well and act in a professional manner. This will show your potential employer how you conduct yourself as a coach. An interview is a perfect opportunity to showcase your communication skills and prove you are the ideal candidate.

Take the First Steps to Become a Strength and Conditioning Coach

Start your journey towards a career as a strength and conditioning coach today. Do you already have a bachelor’s degree or do you need to start studying? If you want to help athletes improve their performance, then this could be the perfect career for you.

Did you find this article helpful? For more information on coaching, read more on our blog!

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