How Can I Become a Basketball Coach?

Research what it takes to become a basketball coach. Learn about the duties of this job, the education requirements and salary range to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Athletic Coaching degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Basketball Coach?

Basketball coaches instruct and demonstrate game techniques to athletes, evaluate players and prepare them for competition, as well as recruit new players. Basketball coaches may work with boys or girls of various ages and abilities. They oversee practices where they may teach and perfect basic basketball skills, like dribbling and shooting, as well as prepare plays and strategies for games. Basketball coaches study opposing teams to find their strengths and weaknesses to develop plays to overcome or take advantage of them. They monitor each player's progress and performance, and provide encouragement and motivation when needed. They are responsible for calling the shots during a game. The following chart provides an overview of the basic details for this career.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Exercise and sports science; physiology; nutrition and fitness; physical education
Certification Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) may be required
Key Responsibilities Teach athletes basketball skills; evaluate and critique players; monitor athletes' health and fitness; recruit potential players
Job Growth (2014-24) 6% (for all coaches and scouts)*
Average Salary (2015) $40,050 (for all coaches and scouts)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Do as a Basketball Coach?

You can coach youth, high school, college or professional teams. Your job may be part-time or full-time, and you may be paid or volunteer to coach. With youth and high school teams, your focus is on teaching players the fundamentals of the game and improving basic skills. Players at the college or professional level require your guidance to help them to win games, by developing team strategies and working on skill development with individual players. At all levels, you'll work with players to condition their bodies for the demand of the sport and encourage players to work together, building team spirit.

As a coach and team manager, you'll work to create a winning team by scouting out new players, monitoring the competition, creating strategies and choosing the right equipment. During a game, you call plays, choose players to be on the court, manage problems with the team and offer encouragement to players. After games, you may playback recordings to show players where mistakes were made so they can be prevented in the future.

What Training Do I Need?

Typically, one of the main requirements to be a basketball coach is having a personal knowledge of the game. You need to be able to teach others how to play, devise strategies to win and understand the fundamentals of the game. You'll likely begin your career as an assistant coach, learning coaching basics under the guidance of a head coach.

Most basketball coaches have at least a bachelor's degree in an area related to sports or coaching. Coaching education, sports management and physical education degree programs may offer courses that cover sports management, marketing, motivational psychology, sports ethics, legal responsibilities, coaching tactics and nutrition.

Additional requirements may include certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), meeting age restrictions, passing a background check and drug testing. Requirements for college and professional coaches may be more stringent than those for coaches at lower levels, such as youth and high school leagues.

What Are My Job Prospects?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth for coaches and scouts was expected to increase 6 percent between 2014-2024 ( The BLS prediction was partly based on the expansion of school sports programs and introduction of more professional teams.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

High school teachers, athletic trainers and dieticians and nutritionists are all related positions that require at least a bachelor's degree. High school teachers typically educate students in the 9th to 12th grades in different subjects. They prepare their students for life after graduation. Athletic trainers work with athletes to prevent, but also treat, injuries and various illnesses. Dieticians and nutritionists help clients manage diseases or work toward a healthier lifestyle through eating the right foods in the right amounts.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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