The qualities of a great sports coach

To be a good sports coach, you need to possess several qualities. Not only do you need to be fit, healthy and have a good knowledge of the sport itself, but you also need be positive, dedicated, prepared to develop your own skills and be more than just a coach.

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A coach must love competition, whilst also being a good loser. A coach must be able to prepare the team before entering the field of play. This means encouraging a bit of healthy competition but, especially for children, not making them feel like winning is the most important part of playing. Great coaches encourage players when they achieve, but don’t make a big deal of it when they don’t.


A good coach will have experience of actually playing the sport at some level. The best coaches in world sport haven’t necessarily been the best players in the world, but they need to understand what the challenges are, from a player’s point of view. However, some of the best coaches ever are those who were involved in the sport to a high level.


The coach will also need to have dedication. This means getting in early and making sure equipment is available and fit for use, and also setting up the training area and ensuring balls are pumped and bibs are laid out. A good coach will have robust knowledge of the latest training drills, and may have to spend their evening watching a hockey, football or rugby drill video, like those at It’s so important to have well planned and varied training sessions, not only to encourage player development and to improve skills and fitness levels, but also to stop the sessions becoming dull and repetitive. It may be in the players’ interest that the coach attends training courses – a great coach will be open to developing their own skills too.

More than a coach

As a coach, you have to be available when a player needs you. Sometimes you may have to take on other roles, such as a mentor or counsellor. Coaches working with children need to understand the basics of positive behaviour management, child safeguarding and even to an extent, child psychology.

As you can see, being a great sports coach takes dedication, knowledge, skills and passion.