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What Classes Do People Take in College to Become a Coach?

by Dr. Kelly S. Meier, studioD

Many colleges offer courses to prepare professionals to coach athletic teams. You can take courses individually or work toward a coaching certificate. It is common to find these programs aligned with the high school league regulations in the state of origin. College courses related to coaching provide insight into game management, ethical issues and fundamentals of sports management. Coaching classes are available on site and online. Coaching certificates may lead to higher level positions, increased pay and personal enrichment.

Coaching Fundamentals

A mainstay of coaching education is the overall philosophy of coaching. This includes covering topics about team formations, health and wellness of players, managing conflict and media relations. It is important that coaches understand all aspects of managing an athletic team. Sample courses that cover this include Theory of Coaching, Real Coaching and Team Sports. Most programs are based on education standards from the National Council for Accreditation for Coaching Education and the National Association of Sport and Physical Education. You also will be exposed to specific coaching methods connected to a wide variety of sports.

Sports Medicine

The role of a coach is to be in touch with the needs, abilities and limitations of their players. By understanding potential injuries that may occur in practices or games, coaches can help with prevention and care of athletes. Examples of courses that address sports medicine include Prevention & Care of Athletic Injuries, First Aid and Injury Management and Athletic Injuries. Sports medicine courses provide the basics of care and advice about working with medical staff and athletic trainers. Most courses include Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Automated External Defibrillation certification.

Athletic Administration

Being a coach means being a leader. The organization required to lead a team is complex and includes fiscal management, public relations, legal issues, practice organization and parent communication. Typical courses that cover these topics include: Principals and Problems of Athletic Coaching, Athletic and Coaching Administration and Parent-Athlete-Coach Alliance. You will gain important knowledge that will enable you to multitask and stay organized as a sports administrator.


Understanding values and philosophies connected to athletics is the primary focus of ethics courses. Coaches gain insight into standards of behavior, rights and responsibilities of players and coaches, avoiding conflicts of interest and how power can impact relationships. Problem-solving skills and management of ethical dilemmas also are a main focus.

About the Author

Dr. Kelly S. Meier is a professor and college administrator for a large public institution in Minnesota. She received her undergraduate degree from Western Illinois University and her master's degree and doctorate from Minnesota State University, Mankato. She has published more than 15 books on education, group development and diversity.

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