Sports Instructors use their expertise in a specific athletic discipline to impart knowledge and demonstrate the basic principles, fundamentals, and techniques of the sport(s) they teach. They work mostly in community centers and recreational facilities. Sports Instructors may teach both team sports and individual sports to both children and teenagers in small scholar leagues or adults.
In cases where the discipline they teach requires special equipment (e.g. skiing, scuba diving, or tennis), Sports Instructors must also be able to properly handle and maintain said equipment. This is particularly true for equitation and other equestrian activities coaches, in which case they are also required to know how to treat horses in a proper and humane manner.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Sport Instructors are required to complete.
- Explaining and teaching the basic principles, fundamentals, rules, safety procedures and the technical language of a sport:
- Demonstrating the proper use of equipment; and
- providing examples of techniques performed in a competition.
- Providing training and proper instruction on the sport:
- Providing encouragement, motivation, and preparation;
- planning and organizing training sessions;
- conducting physical conditioning sessions to maximize performance;
- sharing tips to improve performance (e.g. ways to move hands, feet, or body);
- evaluating students and athletes’ performance;
- assessing and dealing with injuries; and
- monitoring the proper use of equipment.
- Planning and developing strategies:
- Analyzing the opposing team’s performance so as to find ways to counter their strengths and to take advantage of their weaknesses;
- explaining said strategies to athletes; and
- adjusting coaching techniques to better fit athletes and students.
- Inspecting the proper functioning and maintenance of equipment:
- Checking equipment for any malfunction;
- repairing equipment when possible; and
- acquiring new equipment when necessary.
- Organizing and planning competitions and other activities:
- Making transportation arrangements when necessary;
- requesting parents’ permission to travel; and
- arranging other sport related activities (e.g. fundraisers, clinics, and tryouts).
- Recruiting new and promising athletes and promoting their services.
- Inspecting equipment to ensure proper functioning.
- Planning and conducting teaching and training sessions.
- Explaining the rules, principles, and safety procedures of the sport.
- Explaining and demonstrating techniques and strategies, as well as the use of specialized equipment.
- Tending to injured athletes and requesting medical assistance when necessary.
- Organizing friendly competitions with other teams.
- Scouting for new players.
- Making travel arrangements.
The average Sports Instructor salary in USA is $42,345 per year or $22 per hour. This is around 1.5 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $30,000 while most experienced workers make up to $59,000. These results are based on 71 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Excellent physical condition and stamina:
- Being able to play or practice the sport they specialize in;
- being capable of enduring training sessions; and
- possessing extensive knowledge and skills in the sport they specialize in.
- Strong observational and awareness skills:
- Being capable of monitoring the activities of several players at the same time;
- analyzing the performance of each player and adapting programs as needed;
- looking out for possible hazards or safety violations; and
- noticing emergencies as soon as they happen.
- Good interpersonal and communication skills:
- Being capable of conveying instructions to users and explaining safety procedures, proper use of equipment, performance tips, strategies, and rules in a clear and calm manner; and
- being able to explain emergencies and injuries to medical personnel in a clear and concise manner when needed.
- Excellent teamwork and leadership skills:
- Being able to work as part of a team, assisting members when necessary;
- coordinating team activities and providing guidance and advice;
- identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each player; and
- relaying instructions and responsibilities to players.
- Good stress and decision-making skills:
- Being capable of readjusting gaming strategies in a pinch;
- assessing emergencies according to procedure; and
- requesting medical assistance for serious injuries.
- High levels of reliability, honesty, and integrity.
Sports Instructors can have a wide variety of job opportunities depending on the discipline they practice. Some sports can only be played on certain seasons; therefore, employers only carry out recruitment processes at certain times of the year.
Most employers require applicants to have completed their secondary school education and be at least 16 years old. They will also require Sports Instructors to have a diploma from an organization accredited by The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), recognizing them as experts in the sport they practice and capable of teaching and coaching. Most Sports Instructor positions require a minimum of one (1) to two (2) years of work experience in the sport they specialize in.
However, if working in middle schools or high schools, Sports Instructors are known as Physical Education Teachers. Therefore, in this case, they will require a bachelor's degree, a clean criminal record, and a teaching certification.
Additional certificates are usually preferred, including, but not limited to, the following:
- A valid driver's license and transportation;
- a first aid certification; and
- a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification.
Other Sports Instructors make use of their demonstrated and extensive years of experience in the discipline they practice. Nevertheless, due to security procedures, some disciplines require special certifications or constant training in order to be practiced regardless if it is to teach others or just for leisure, such as Scuba Diving or Sky Diving. In these cases, aspirants can be certified at The Professional Ski Instructors of America and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI) and the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), respectively.
Many Sports Instructors work throughout the entire year, although some are employed on a seasonal basis, when the sport they specialize in relies on the weather conditions. Ski Instructors are mostly hired during the winter, whereas Scuba Diving Instructors work mostly during the summer due to the warmer climate.