Dreaming of Making Basketball Your 9 to 5? How to Become a Professional Coach
People with coaching careers can help athletes at multiple levels. You can instruct athletes of any age, from youth basketball all the way through college and to the NBA. Incomes do not always correlate with the time you spend on the job, and you may have to work hard to land the opportunity you really want. With the right knowledge and passion, you can make a professional basketball career your dream come true.
What You Can Expect
Professional basketball coaches average an annual salary of close to four million dollars. Compare this to about an average of $40,000 to $100,000 per year for all but top-tier college coaches. Coaching responsibilities cover a wide range of duties not limited to recruiting, tracking statistics, scheduling, budgeting, and public relations. Moreover, college and high school coaches must do everything they can to ensure the academic success of their athletes. To manage all of these duties and more, expect to work at least 60 to 70 hours a week. Much of this time involves analyzing videos of your players and opponents alike and coach meetings to prepare plans for the players. Sometimes you will need to provide post-practice one-on-one training for players. This is on days when there is not even a game.
Get Basketball Experience
If you aspire to become a basketball coach, gaining experience is of paramount importance. Do you notice how many coaches are previous basketball players? Having basketball ability and knowledge provides a solid foundation for educating up and coming players. You must also possess a thorough knowledge of all rules and regulations that pertain to the game. You can absorb knowledge by watching basketball games at all levels either live or via video or television. You can also watch coaching and training videos to help you. You can take on a mentor and read books also. Finally, you can greatly speed up your basketball education by attending basketball clinics and participating in camps.
Get a Relevant Degree
Although a college education is not technically required to be a basketball coach, a Bachelor's degree is strongly recommended at the high school level and above. First, high school requirements have individual variations and some do require at least a Bachelor's degree to prove physical education competency. Second, a degree gives you more options. If schools hire coaches who double as teachers, you would need a Bachelor's in the respective subject. Adding concentrations of physical education and/or coaching to your primary degree is very beneficial for a career as a basketball coach. There are certification programs available in both athletic coaching and sports administration with potential degrees in athletic training and sports management. Many of these degrees can be completed online, making this step easier than ever. Any degree that prepares you for any required licenses is also a sound investment.
Become a Coaching Assistant
Becoming a coaching assistant is an effective way to gain knowledge and experience of basketball and to learn different coaching styles. It may be your best means to climb up in the basketball coaching ladder. Head coaching jobs go to those people with vast experience in training athletes. Some states require certification or licensing to coach in any capacity in a public school. Degree requirements are similar to those of head coaches: a Bachelor' in sports science or similar field. Becoming an assistant coach also usually requires that you have actually played the game. As far as people skills, you need to be outgoing and communicative as well as motivational.
Work Your Way Up
Most head coaches begin their careers as assistant coaches at the junior high and high school levels. Since these are part-time positions, look for head coaching appointments at this level so you can attract the attention of colleges. In college, you may have to start out as a basketball manager or video coordinator. A great source of contacts for future higher-level jobs is through national basketball clinics and camps. Once you become lucky enough to land a head coaching job with a university, the hustle begins for an assistant coaching position in the NBA. However, your chances could be better as a winning head coach of a college than the multitude of NBA assistants standing by. Moving up in basketball coaching is largely dependent on luck, contacts, personality and leadership abilities, and winning record. You must have patience and perseverance because NBA coaching positions are extremely limited.Like anything else worthwhile, a successful career as a basketball coach only comes with hard work and acknowledgment of the challenges. Acquiring the relevant education and working your way up the ranks is important to realizing your dream of becoming a full-time professional basketball coach.
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