Coaches and Scouts Career Description

Summary

Coaches teach amateur or professional athletes the skills they need to succeed at their sport.  Scouts look for new players, evaluating their skills and likelihood for success at the college, amateur, or professional level.

What they do

Coaches typically do the following:

  • Plan, organize, and conduct practice sessions
  • Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of individual athletes and opposing teams
  • Plan strategies and choose team members for each game
  • Provide direction, encouragement, and motivation to prepare athletes for games
  • Call plays and make decisions about strategy and player substitutions during games
  • Plan and direct physical conditioning programs that enable athletes to achieve maximum performance
  • Instruct athletes on proper techniques, game strategies, sportsmanship, and the rules of the sport
  • Keep records of athletes’ and opponents’ performances
  • Identify and recruit potential athletes
  • Arrange for and offer incentives to prospective players

Coaches teach professional and amateur athletes the fundamental skills of individual and team sports. They hold training and practice sessions to improve the athletes’ form, technique, skills, and stamina. Along with refining athletes’ individual skills, coaches are responsible for instilling in their players the importance of good sportsmanship, a competitive spirit, and teamwork.

Many coaches evaluate their opponents to determine game strategies and to establish particular plays to practice. During competition, coaches call specific plays intended to surprise or overpower the opponent, and they may substitute players to achieve optimum team chemistry and success.

Many high school coaches are primarily academic teachers or other school administrators who supplement their income by coaching part time.

Coaches may assign specific drills and correct athletes’ techniques. They may also spend their time working one-on-one with athletes, designing customized training programs for each individual. Coaches may specialize in teaching the skills of an individual sport, such as tennis, golf, or ice skating. Some coaches, such as baseball coaches, may teach individual athletes involved in team sports.

Scouts typically do the following:

  • Read newspapers and other news sources to find athletes to consider
  • Attend games, view videotapes of the athletes’ performances, and study statistics about the athletes to determine their talent and potential
  • Talk to the athlete and the coaches to see if the athlete has what it takes to succeed
  • Report to the coach, manager, or owner of the team for which he or she is scouting
  • Arrange for and offer incentives to prospective players

Scouts evaluate the skills of both amateur and professional athletes. Scouts seek out top athletic candidates for colleges or professional teams and evaluate their likelihood of success at a higher competitive level.

Work Environment

Some scouts work for organizations that deal directly with high school athletes. These scouts collect information on the athlete and help sell his or her talents to potential colleges.

At the college level, scouts typically work for scouting organizations or are self-employed. In either case, they help colleges recruit the best high school athletes.

Scouts who work at the professional level are typically employed by the team or organization directly.

Those people who coach and scout for outdoor sports may be exposed to all weather conditions of the season. In addition, they must travel often to attend sporting events. This is particularly true for those in professional sports.

How to become a Coach and/or Scout

Coaches and scouts typically need a bachelor’s degree. They also must have extensive knowledge of the sport. Coaches typically gain this knowledge through their own experiences playing the sport at some level. Although previous playing experience may be beneficial, it is not required for most scouting jobs.

College and professional coaches usually must have a bachelor’s degree, typically in any subject. However, some coaches may decide to study exercise and sports science, physiology, kinesiology, nutrition and fitness, physical education, or sports medicine.

High schools typically hire teachers or administrators at the school for most coaching jobs. If no suitable teacher is found, schools hire a qualified candidate from outside the school. For more information on education requirements for teachers, see the profile on high school teachers.

Like coaches, scouts must typically have a bachelor’s degree. Some scouts decide to get a degree in business, marketing, sales, or sports management.

College and professional coaching jobs typically require experience playing the sport at some level.

Scouting jobs typically do not require experience playing a sport at the college or professional level, but doing so can be beneficial. Employers look for applicants with a passion for sports and an ability to spot young players who have exceptional athletic ability and skills.

Most state high school athletic associations require coaches to be certified or at least complete mandatory education courses.

Pay

The median annual wage for coaches and scouts was $34,840 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $19,040, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $78,890.

Job Outlook

Employment of coaches and scouts is projected to grow 12 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Rising participation in high school and college sports should increase demand for coaches and scouts.

Similar Job Titles

Baseball Coach, Basketball Coach, Coach, Cross Country Coach, Football Coach, Gymnastics Coach, Soccer Coach, Softball Coach, Track and Field Coach, Volleyball Coach

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More Information

The trade associations listed below represent organizations made up of people (members) who work and promote advancement in the field.  Members are very interested in telling others about their work and about careers in those areas.  As well, trade associations provide opportunities for organizational networking and learning more about the field’s trends and directions.

Magazines and Publications

Video Transcript

No matter what natural talents an athlete brings to a sport, the game can be won or lost by the skill of the coach. Coaches can be patient instructors, demanding bosses, and enthusiastic cheerleaders. Their job is to prepare athletes for competition, and victory. The best coaches also help teams learn from defeat. They may work with young athletes to teach basic skills, then refine and improve the athletes’ form and technique. Or they may manage entire teams, from running practice sessions to planning strategy for a big game. Most coaches also need physical endurance and the willingness to handle difficult outdoor conditions. Off the field, coaches study team statistics and footage of past practices and games, and work with athletes to improve their performance. A head coach may hire assistants to take on some of the budgeting and scheduling tasks. analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of opposing teams to develop game strategies. Coaches work whenever practices and sporting events are scheduled, often at night and on weekends and holidays. Though an athletics-related college degree is usually preferred, education and training requirements vary widely by sport. Coaches often start as assistants. They work their way up by developing good relationships with players, demonstrating expert knowledge of the sport, and helping athletes or teams improve and win. Some coaches become celebrities in their own right. Others may be stars only to the players they've coached, inspiring them long after they've left the field.

Content retrieved from: US Bureau of Labor Statistics-OOH www.bls.gov/ooh,
CareerOneStop www.careeronestop.org, O*Net Online www.onetonline.org