Education for Being a Baseball or a Football Coach

Little League Coach

Most Little League coaches, either football or baseball, are volunteers and usually have experience in the sport that they’re coaching. Depending on the age of the children being taught, it’s a good idea to learn how to teach to a particular age group. Teaching 5-year-olds to hit a baseball is a lot different than coaching 14-year-old kids the proper way to catch a flyball. College classes can assist you in developing age-appropriate skills for coaching, as well as providing a foundation for developing practice methods, development drills and organization and leadership skills. Tapes and CDs also are good sources for practice drills, teaching fundamentals and reviewing game-situation strategies. Educating yourself is especially important if you’re going to be coaching a sport in which you have little or no direct experience. If you’ve never played football, conducting a practice for 50 kids can be daunting. Licensing or certification often is required (as well as background checks).

High School Coach

Most public schools in the United States require coaches to also be teachers. Guidelines vary, but it’s fairly standard to have to be a teacher within the school district that you coach, if not at the school where you coach. Exceptions certainly are common, especially for assistant coaches, unpaid positions and internships or student positions. To teach at the high school level, you’ll need at least an undergraduate degree, usually an education degree. Again, requirements vary. Some school districts allow for professionals, such as accountants, to teach courses provided they’ve received proper teacher training or certification. At many private and parochial schools, and even some public schools, coaching is considered a profession in itself and no accompanying teaching position is required. A college degree and experience as a player are almost always prerequisites, and coaching experience on some level is usually desired. Licensing, enrolling in coaching associations and networking are also important aspects of the profession.

Professional Coach

Most professional football coaches are college graduates. Some major- and minor-league baseball coaches have college degrees. Minor league teams draw their managers and coaches mostly from the pool of ex-players, both from the major- and minor-league levels. There are exceptions. St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, for instance, earned a BA in industrial management from the University of South Florida. The future Hall of Famer went on to earn law degree from Florida State University, attending classes during offseasons of an undistinguished playing career. Because most NFL coaches are drawn from the ranks of ex-players—and because virtually all NFL players at least attended college—many pro coaches have college degrees. Some of the greatest coaches in NFL history earned college degrees, including the Green Bay Packers’ legendary Vince Lombardi (Fordham University, magna cum laude) and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick (Wesleyan University).

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