Football coach

A football coach


Football coaches train amateur or professional football teams of either youths or adults. Football coaches develop and execute training plans and improve or maintain their players physical condition, football technique and tactical abilities. They prepare their team for competitions and choose the line-up and tactics for a game. During a game coaches may give instructions from the sidelines and are in charge of substituting players. 

Football coaches typically do the following duties:

  • Develop and implement game strategies that optimize team performance
  • Lead team practices and training sessions to help players develop their skills
  • Observe and evaluate player performance, providing feedback and guidance for improvement
  • Plan and organize team activities, such as travel and team events
  • Communicate effectively with team members, coaching staff, and management
  • Ensure that the team is following all safety and health guidelines
  • Keep up-to-date with the latest developments and techniques in football coaching and training

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to football coach:

football trainer
football team manager
association football coach
football instructor
football team coach
football team trainer
football manager
football team instructor

Working conditions

Football coaches work in a fast-paced and physically demanding environment. They often work long hours, including evenings and weekends, to accommodate practices and games. They may work outdoors in various weather conditions, depending on the season and location of the team.

Minimum qualifications

To become a football coach, a bachelor’s degree in sports coaching, physical education, or a related field is often required. Coaches may also need to obtain coaching certifications from organizations. Prior experience as a football player or coach at the high school or college level is typically necessary to obtain a coaching position.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Football coach is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Football coach career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to football coach.

boxing instructor
snowboard instructor
ice-skating coach
golf instructor
swimming teacher

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of football coach. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of football coach with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

physical education vocational teacher
physical education teacher secondary school
adult literacy teacher
corporate trainer
business coach

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of football coach.

  • Football: The rules and different styles of the game, techniques of football and defensive and attacking tactics such as ball possession, counter-attacking, pressing and counter-pressing.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of football coach.

  • Develop a coaching style: Develop a style for coaching individuals or groups that ensures all participants are at ease, and are able to acquire the necessary skills and competences provided in the coaching in a positive and productive manner.
  • Adapt teaching to student’s capabilities: Identify the learning struggles and successes of students. Select teaching and learning strategies that support students’ individual learning needs and goals.
  • Apply teaching strategies: Employ various approaches, learning styles, and channels to instruct students, such as communicating content in terms they can understand, organising talking points for clarity, and repeating arguments when necessary. Use a wide range of teaching devices and methodologies appropriate to the class content, the learners’ level, goals, and priorities.
  • Plan sports instruction programme: Provide participants with an appropriate programme of activities to support progression to the required level of expertise in the specified time taking into account relevant scientific and sport-specific knowledge.
  • Organise training: Make the necessary preparations to conduct a training session. Provide equipment, supplies and exercise materials. Ensure the training runs smoothly.
  • Execute sports training programme: Supervise a sports training programme for individuals or groups by following the training plan, giving instructions on how to execute exercises, providing feedback on the performance on a technical and tactical level.
  • Coach during a sports competition: Support individuals or groups during a sports competition, advise them on how to improve their performance and support them as much as possible increasing their chances to perform successfully in the competition. This includes conducting substitutions in team sports.
  • Adapt teaching to target group: Instruct students in the most fitting manner in regards to the teaching context or the age group, such as a formal versus an informal teaching context, and teaching peers as opposed to children.
  • Demonstrate when teaching: Present to others examples of your experience, skills, and competences that are appropriate to specific learning content to help students in their learning.
  • Give constructive feedback: Provide founded feedback through both criticism and praise in a respectful, clear, and consistent manner. Highlight achievements as well as mistakes and set up methods of formative assessment to evaluate work.
  • Instruct in sport: Provide appropriate technical and tactical instruction related to the given sport using varied and sound pedagogical approaches to meet the needs of the participants and achieve the desired objectives. This requires skills such as communication, explanation, demonstration, modelling, feedback, questioning and correction.
  • Exercise sports: Exercise or practice under the direction of sports and athletic trainers or professional coaches to develop skills, improve physical condition, or prepare for competitions.
  • Motivate in sports: Positively foster athletes and participants’ intrinsic desire to carry out the required tasks to fulfill their goals and to push themselves beyond their current levels of skill and understanding.
  • Select tactics for a football match: Determine how an individual or a group will approach a competition tactically, choose the tactics such as playing a possession based game, focusing on counter attack as well as choosing the line up.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of football coach. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Sport and exercise medicine: Prevention and treatment of injuries or conditions resulted from a physical activity or sport.
  • Sports nutrition: Nutritional information such as vitamins and energy pills related to a specific sporting activity.
  • Sports ethics: The ethical considerations in sport activities, policy and management that ensure fair play and sportsmanship in all recreational and competitive sports.
  • Teamwork principles: The cooperation between people characterised by a unified commitment to achieving a given goal, participating equally, maintaining open communication, facilitating effective usage of ideas etc.
  • Features of sporting equipment: Types of sporting, fitness and recreational equipment and sporting supplies and their characteristics.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of football coach. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Identify talent in sport: Identify talents and involve them in a particular sport.
  • Observe student’s progress: Follow up on students’ learning progress and assess their achievements and needs.
  • Manage student relationships: Manage the relations between students and between student and teacher. Act as a just authority and create an environment of trust and stability.
  • Apply latest sport science findings: Identify and apply the latest findings of sport science in the area.
  • Develop sports programmes: Develop plans and policies for the inclusion of sporting activities and organisations in a community, and for the development of sporting activities for specific target groups.
  • Inflate sport balls: Place the ball in a steel mould and fill it with air fitting the needle of the pump through the small air hole until the desired pressure is reached.
  • Adjust sporting equipment: Alter sporting equipment, e.g. racquet stringing, ski waxing, etc.

ISCO group and title

3422 – Sports coaches, instructors and officials

  1. Football coach – ESCO
  2. Football Coach Job Description – Betterteam
  3. What’s the Job Description of a Head Football Coach? –
  4. Featured image: Photo by Jeffrey F Lin on Unsplash
Last updated on April 24, 2023

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