More and more people are using a fitness coach to get in shape, lose weight or just to exercise. With this new trend, new career opportunities have emerged. The sports coach is not only a person who loves the sport, it is a specialist who accompanies an individual or a team in order to help him improve his well-being, his development and to achieve his sports objectives. It is not enough to be a sportsman to become a coach.

How can one become a sports coach? Here are some tips to help you along this path.

1. Have a good training

To become a sports coach, several courses exist. First of all, there is the STAPS (Sciences and Techniques of Physical and Sports Activities) university courses, which take place in 3 years minimum after the baccalaureate. There are four degrees:

  • The license “education and motor skills”, which allows to become a teacher of physical education and sports.
  • The license “sports training and performance driving” to become a coach club. It is rather directed towards the high level.
  • The “adapted physical activity” license for the supervision of people with reduced mobility, such as people with disabilities, the elderly or in the rehabilitation phase.
  • Master’s degree in EPPNM (Training, Physical, Nutritional and Mental Training) or APA specialty (Adapted Physical Activities)

Then we find the Ministry of Sports training which is more specific and therefore shorter (2 years) and which are given in private organizations or in CREPS (Regional Center for Popular Education and Sport). The qualifications to become a coach are the BPJEPS (Professional Certificate of Youth, Popular Education and Sport) formerly known as State Patent. The most suitable for this job is called BPJEPS AG2F (Gymnastic Activity of the Form and Strength). This diploma which includes a large practical part does not require to have the bac, however there are several conditions to obtain it:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Hold a first aid diploma (AFPS or PSC1)
  • Pass the entrance tests for training
  • Pass the tests specific to each training organization

2. Choosing the right place of work

A sports coach can work in different organizations. He can practice in a company, a sports club, a fitness center or home. His job will be different depending on where he practices.

In a sports club or a fitness center, a coach can give group lessons (cardio, fitness, bodybuilding …) or take care of the individual accompaniment of the members. In the second case, he prepares a personalized training according to the objectives and abilities of the person he coaches.

At home, the coach must bring the necessary equipment to his clients (floor mats, weights …). He must take the time to define with them their objectives in order to propose a tailor-made program. Then he sets regular appointments so that the proposed exercises are carried out regularly and the results arrive more quickly.

The coaching in company consists of offering a personalized coaching in small group or collective lessons. These interventions help to fight against stress, create social bonds and relax the atmosphere. It also allows employees to engage in physical activity without having to travel. A business coach may also be involved in running sports days or business seminars to promote cohesion within the group.

3. Listening to customers

Being a sports coach is not just about physical activity. Indeed, there is a large mental part to take into account. The sports coach must be an “educator”; he must listen to his clients, understand their needs and help them to realize them. Also, it is necessary that it is attentive to the will of its last ones and to know the remotiver in case of necessity. For this he must be dynamic and find the right words to restore their confidence or desire. In addition, he must remain calm and be patient so that his clients are calm and they are not rushed or discouraged. Thus, the essential qualities of a sports coach are listening, charisma, dynamism and patience.

If the coach coaches at home, it must also have business concepts to successfully keep customers from one year to another and to build a loyal clientele. It must therefore promote its sports programs and ensure that they meet the demand for a chance to retain its current customers.

4. Take care of yourself

Coaching others is good, but you also have to think about training yourself! Indeed, it is important that a coach remains dynamic to be able to train his clients as well as possible. He must always maintain a physical activity and not consider that training others is already used for physical exercise. As he coaches several individuals, he is sometimes considered a model to follow. It is therefore important that he also practices regularly and that he sets a good example. Moreover, if he is satisfied with the activities he carries out with his clients, some of them could be led to develop the same level of sport as him! It is therefore imperative that the coach continue his own training to maintain his credibility.

A coach must also maintain a healthy lifestyle. His schedules are sometimes out of step with the employees of companies because they offer their services during the free hours of their clients. They must therefore maintain a suitable pace of life and think of eating and sleeping enough to hold a day.

5. Think about the future

A sports coach can not generally practice his job all his life. Indeed, it is a very hard job, which requires a lot of energy. The physical abilities of a coach will decrease with time and it will be more and more difficult for him to play sports as often. He must therefore think about a reconversion not to find himself suddenly without a job if he can no longer provide his courses.

Depending on his background, a coach may later become a trainer of future coaches, fitness manager, assistant director or director of a fitness center or club. He will be able to continue working in the field of sport without continuing to do so much physical exercise.

Image Courtesy: linkdataservices.com

About The Author

Zita Zimande is a sports news journalist from the University of Johannesburg. Besides being a sports fanatic, she loves to cook during her spare time.

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