Social Engagement: High
What’s What: If you want to share your love of sports with the next generation, being a youth sports coach may be for you.
Amava Take: Have you still “got game?” Then get out your old cleats, racket, or glove and help kids learn your favorite sport. This is a great way to stay in shape while having a significant impact on children. You can also get to know other coaches and referees. If you are interested in making money, there are also paid opportunities to coach or referee at many organizations. Have fun, and remember, it’s only a game!
From the Front Lines:
What kinds of candidates are you looking for to fill these jobs?
People that like to work with children.
Any tips for first-timers to make it a productive and fulfilling experience?
Get to know the parents. Speak with other coaches to borrow their practice and game plans so you are not starting from scratch. And, make sure you know the league rules. Most have special recommendations for playing time, amount of practice time, even unique in-game rules due to court or time restrictions.
What’s a typical season like?
For most of the coaches, a blast. Our seasons are usually 8-10 games over six weeks and a short post-season for playoffs. Weekly commitment is usually 6-8 hours total — at least two 60-90 minute practices and a few hours on game day plus set up and getting to and from locations.
From the Trenches:
What’s the most satisfying part of the job?
Seeing kids accomplish things that they never thought they could do.
How would you describe the hard parts?
Getting the kids to focus and work together as a team. For certain kids, building their confidence so they would take chances.
What’s the most memorable experience you had coaching?
I have a lot of great memories. When the kids finally beat a team that we lost to five years in a row. It was our final game together before the kids moved on to High School. Seeing one of the girls that had never played basketball before make a 3-point shot at a crucial point in a game. Also, the occasional planning sessions with my fellow coaches over a beer at the local pub. I definitely recommend recruiting at least one other coach to help out.
Special Requirements: Some schools or organizations have vetting procedures that require fingerprinting, background check and/or references. Most require you to attend a training workshop before coaching.
Finding a Position: You can search for youth sports leagues in a particular sport in your area, such as AYSO. They are always looking for volunteer coaches. Many schools also have volunteer coaches, especially at the elementary and middle school levels. Many high schools have both paid and volunteer positions in a range of sports. Call your local school district to see what their needs are. Sometimes volunteer coach positions are also posted on local social networks like NextDoor. The National Youth Sports Coaches Association also has information on training, safety and expectations and lists ways of getting involved. This blog outlines tips for being a great youth coach and an article about what it’s like to be a volunteer coach at the YMCA.