Interested in Coaching but don't know where to start?
First thing to know: Anyone can be a coach. It is important to emphasize that some of the best coaches have not been elite athletes themselves, but have developed strengths in key areas such as motivation and communication with athletes, and demonstrating leadership through exemplary behaviors on and off the playing field.
Second thing to know: Coaches are in high demand. There are usually many more athletes and teams wanting to play then available coaches. Your interest in coaching will be warmly welcomed.
Pick a sport! A sport you love, have played, or are interested in, is the best place to start. For parents, a sport your child is currently playing is a great choice as well.
Do I need to know all the technical stuff about the sport?
Absolutely not. All coaches in Canada receive training through the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP). Your sport has a 1-2 day NCCP course that will teach you all the technical skills you need to coach in a given Context (age range, competitive level).
*For most sports, most of the time, you don't need technical sport skills to start. There are some exceptions explained below.
Find a Club! Ok coach, you've got your sport and you're ready go. Next up is locating some athletes. Here is how to find a club:
1. If you are already connected to a club (you've played there, or your child plays there) start with that club
2. If someone you know coaches at a nearby club, that's the second best place to start
3. Third option is a quick google search of nearby clubs for your sport
4. If you're total stuck, contact your Provincial Sport Organization
Now, reach out by phone or email to your club contact, clubs admin, or coaching friend with a message about volunteering as a coach.
Starting as an Assistant Coach to an existing Head Coach is a great way to begin. It usually involves less commitment, provides you with an experienced mentor, and gets you involved right away. Many head coaches will take on an assistant mid-season.
Is every Coach called a Coach?
Not exactly. The sport leadership position of Coach sometimes goes by a different name. Combat sports like Judo often use traditional names. In other sports the Intructor role is most common.
Get some training! Developing as a coach can take on many forms: NCCP training, mentoring, reading, events, and of course coaching experience.
If you're completely new start with the NCCP Coach Initiation module. This short online module will introduce you to the foundational skills in coaching, such as: long-term athlete development, ethics, coaching motivation, and athlete safety and wellness. The Coach Initiation in Sport module will also introduce coaches to the NCCP, a valuable tool for preparing for a coach’s first in-person NCCP workshop.
Getting your NCCP Number
All coach training is Canada is recorded in a national online database called The Locker
To create an account:
1. Go to www.coach.ca
2. Click on the tab called The Locker
3. Click on “Don’t have an account? Create one now!”
Depending on your sport, you may be able to start right away as an assistant coach. Other sports require a few more NCCP courses before starting. Almost all head coaching positions required sport specific NCCP training.
Get Coaching! You have a sport, a club, and some training. Time to get out there and start coaching.
Continue your Development! Welcome to the big wide world of coaching. You've started on your path, had some successes, but know there is so much more to learn. With all the books, events, videos, and courses where should you start?
- For general information on coaching start with the Coaches Association of Ontario
- For Sport Specific information, and to find your NCCP Pathway, locate your Provincial Sport Organization
- For national information on coaching visit the Coaching Association of Canada
- Make sure to check out our awesome Resource page (Coming Soon!)
Sports with Technical Barriers to Entry
Some sports do have a high technical knowledge requirement to be able to coach effectively, such as Equestrian, Sailing, Alpine, etc. For these sports safety knowledge is a big part of becoming a coach. Competitive levels (called Contexts) such as high performance national teams obviously also have a technical barrier to entry for a coach. Experience with these sports as a participant is usually recommended before taking on a coaching role.
NCCP: National Coaching Certification Program
Context: The level of sport taking place, usually a combination of athlete age and competitive level
NCCP Pathway: The pathway of NCCP courses needed to coach at a given Context
The Locker: An online database at www.coach.ca where a coaches training transcript is recorded
PSO: A sports governing Provincial Sport Organization (i.e. Basketball Ontario)
NSO: A sports governing National Sport Organization (i.e. Soccer Canada)
LTAD: Long Term Athlete Development is the underlying framework of the NCCP. LTAD was developed by Sport for Life