Roles, Responsibilities and Skills

Of A Sports Coach by Jack Higginson



A coach will have the role of being a manager. This is because he/she will prepare all the equipment that is needed for the activity/sport and also having the equipment ready will help him/her to be organised throughout the session. Furthermore, he/she will set up fixtures, this means that he/she will choose games/matches for the teams and therefore he/she will be able to tell the teams when the matches/games are and when they will have to train for those matches. For example; a school manager for the school football team, will make sure that every match has been organised and dated this is because they will need to tell the players what time the match starts and where the match fixture is. Furthermore, the manager will need to make sure that all the transportation has been ordered and arranged for the players to be picked up on time from school and to be picked up from the football game at the end. An example is Alex Ferguson, he will make sure that all the players are informed of what the fixtures are going to be and also, he will make sure that all the players have a good fitness level before the team has a match. Furthermore, there will be appropriate transport for the team and substitutes that have been chosen by Alex Ferguson for the certain match that is going to be played.


Over the years of working with an athlete a personal relationship is built up, as well as providing coaching advice. The coach will also become someone, who they can discuss their problems or share their success with. It is important to keep personal information confidential because if you do not then all respect the athlete had for you as a friend and coach will be lost. This means that the athlete, will not want to attend session with the coach as they have lost trust in him/her due to confidential information being let out. Also, athletes will be able to approach the coach with ease due to the fact that they are very approachable and friendly. Moreover, they will be able to share similar experiences and understand of what athletes are going through. An example of this is a tennis coach; this is because tennis is more of an individual sport. The coach will be able to have a much more one to one relationship with the participant. As a result of this, the coach and the participant will have a much more personal relationship together. Which will enhance performance because the participant will be able to relate ideas and feelings to the coach, allowing the coach to understand the participant better.

Role Model

A coach who serves as a role model in a particular behavior will help the participant to respect the coach a lot more and therefore this will increase the relationship between the coach and the participant. The way the coach conducts his/herself whilst in the presence of your athletes provides an example of how they should behave. Also, coaches always need to be under control and conduct themselves with class and dignity. This means showing respect to opponents and officials. Coaches can’t expect their athletes to display good sportsmanship if they are criticizing officials, snarling at clock operators or throwing water bottles. As a result, the athletes will look up to the coach as he/she is being a positive role model to them, therefore giving the athletes more confidence in him/her and themselves, making them perform much better. An example of this is, the coach will be respected by his participants if the coach treats everyone the same. This will therefore help increase the respect that is given to the coach from the participants and the coach will respect them back.


The coach will be a motivator, this is due to the fact that players occasionally adopt a laid back approach when participating in training (whether its group or individual) and competitions/matches. The coach may be required to increase the effort and intensity of what the players are using already (to a certain level due to ‘optimum arousal levels’ Yerkes and Dodson (1908). The ‘Inverted U theory’ explains that as the performance increases, so does the arousal. However, there is a part on the graph which is the ‘optimum arousal ‘ point, this means that the pupil/performer will be at their maximum arousal. This will result in the pupil’s/performer’s performance decreasing as the arousal decreases as well. Having knowledge of the players and how they are motivated will help the coach to know what motivates them best. Coaches should never use insults, bad language and threats as this will lower the player’s self-esteem. Instead the coach should show the factors players hold highest to themselves e.g. focus concentration and energy. An example is, when a football match is about to happen, the coach should motivate all the players to get them motivated for the game ahead. This will help the players to stay concentrated and try to win the game.


Relevant Qualifications

A good coach will have the relevant qualifications related to that sport. A coach would need to have relevant qualifications this is because these qualifications help the coach to develop players/athletes by teaching the appropriate skills for the sport and give them important knowledge for them to be able to perform well in training sessions and matches/tournaments. Having these qualifications will be able to help them to develop many players throughout and therefore the players/athletes will be able to perform at a higher standard e.g. county standard badminton player. An example of a coach is Andy Flower; he would have the qualifications and experience. The coach will have experience in playing tennis and Lendl will be able to relate to Andy Murray. When Andy is in certain situations e.g. having problems with improving his serve, Lendl will be able to help him perfecting his serve due to Lendl's experience of being a tennis player. As a result, Andy Murray will be able to show that he has improved his serve due to Lendl’s coaching and experience of the game of tennis.

Professional Conduct

A good coach should have a professional conduct at all times whether it in a match or in training. For example, in football there is a campaign called Respect FC. Everyone who is involved in the game in some way is aware of poor behaviour and knows that, which is either towards referees, players or fellow fans. This is why they started this campaign to change people’s attitudes and make them realize that verbal and physical abuse is not acceptable in the game of football. A good coach would behave in a professional manner all the time that he/she is with the players, fans, referee on and off the pitch/court whether the team wins or loses. The coach wouldn't give an abuse to any of the players for doing something wrong e.g. a bad pass in football. Also, there wouldn't be any abuse to the referee for giving wrong decisions as this would not give the coach a good impression from the eyes of the players and the fans. Having these kinds of campaigns will help to make many sports much better due to the behaviour of fans and players being more obedient the referees, umpire, linesman’s decisions. Furthermore, this will help players in any sport this is because they will be able to be more confident with themselves as there won’t be a coach shouting/giving verbal/physical abuse for doing something wrong. An example is Andy Murray's coach (Ivan Lendl); Ivan Lendl would be very persistent when performing a serve for example. This is because if Andy Murray does something wrong with his serve e.g. feet positioning, arm positioning, ball positioning etc. Ivan wouldn't give Andy any abuse and instead would show how to perform the specific technique and therefore this would give Andy a view of what he has to do.


A good coach will need to have insurance when leading a club or a group of participants. Specialist sports insurance can provide protection should a player/teammate be injured. For example if a player gets injured due to a vicious tackle by another player in football, the coach will have insurance, to make sure that they are not legally responsible. A coach will also need transportation insurance; it is recommended that coaches do not use their personal vehicles for transporting athletes to venues. However, if coaches do use their own vehicles then they should ensure they are properly licensed and insured.

Protection from abuse

A good coach will have to protect players from any kind of abuse that could happen on or off the football pitch for example. One example is, soccer coach would need to spot any signs of abuse among his/her players/performers. It is vital, that the coach is able to recognize the signs of abuse and know what to do if he/she suspects anything. The coach will have a responsibility not to abuse the players in his/her care by bullying or criticising them in front of their peers. The coach must also make sure that he/she does not expose the players to extremes of weather, leaving the player unsupervised, tell them to ‘get on with it’!, when they have been injured or train them in an over intense or in a way inappropriate to their age.


Time Management

As a coach you need to be good at managing yours and the player’s time. This also may include organisation, like where the players need to be at a certain time. Time management of a session, can vary depending on the amount of intensity. The coach needs to know when enough is enough; this is because he/she will know when all the players need to be taken off the pitch for example when a player is exhausted. Also the time it could take to get to an away match leaving enough time to have a perfect warm up so they are ready for the game. Having good management will mean that he/she will be able plan his/her session for the players and have a certain amount of time to lead the session. Furthermore, the coach will need to be able divide his/her time to be able to see her/his family, find time to do his/her job and also to be able to find time to coach. This is because being able to divide her/his time productively, will help him/her to be less stressed and therefore he/she will be more confident and will be able to organise time that may be needed for other things. For example, if the coach has bad time management, the coach will take longer than expected to organise all the equipment needed for the training session/match. Therefore, the players may be annoyed with the coach as he/she isn't an organised person due to their bad time management.


This plays a main part in any sport because it’s the way the coach and players get points across to each other. A coach should have good communication skills which involve talking clearly to others, also listening to the things players have to say. This could be both on and off the pitch; for example if the coach wants to tell a player something during a session he will need to explain what he wants him to do clearly so he understands his role. Whereas off the pitch it could be about a player’s personal life and the coach will need to listen, to take in what he’s saying. The coach will also have to give a team talk, so he will have to be confident and get across to the players what he wants from them to do.


A good coach should be well organised this is because he/she will have to do this both on and off the field of play. On the football pitch for example he/she will need to set out sessions for the team to help them improve. This will also include planning sessions before hand to make sure that it runs correctly. Also off the football pitch for example he/she will need to ensure the players are safe at all times this is because the coach will need to ensure that he has insurance for the protection of players that are participating in the sport in the football session/match. Furthermore, the equipment will need to be organised and ready to use, this is because training sessions need to be organised before the players get there. This is due to the fact that; the coach will be able to change from drill to drill within a matter of minutes, because of the equipment being set out before the training session. The coach will be also be able to organise the space required for the training session/match for example, therefore there will be no problems e.g. other people trying to use the space that is needed for the coaches training session/match. An example of this is, a badminton coach, he/she will make sure that all courts are free this is because all the equipment will be needed to be set up and ready to be used by the players.