The Disadvantages of Being a Coach

by Ron White

If you enjoy teaching and sports, coaching can be a rewarding career path. In the United States, school districts, colleges and universities and amateur and pro sports teams pay coaches to teach and inspire athletes and to lead teams to victory. For all of the perks that come with coaching, though, this career also has its share of drawbacks. Therefore, you must consider some of the disadvantages before taking the plunge into a coaching career.

Dealing with Parents

From the youth level through college, parents inject themselves into the sports lives of their children. They often support coaches, but they sometimes undermine coaches. Parents may speak negatively about coaches in front of their children, other players and the media, and this can lead to athletes who show disrespect toward coaches. The athletes may even come to view their coaches in the same way their parents view them. Parents also approach coaches directly to complain about how their children are being treated.

Discipline Problems

Athletes receive significant praise from family, friends and sports fans. This often gives them egos that can clash with coaches who determine athletes' roles who must discipline players for poor performance or for rules violations. Teams play their best when players show respect for coaches, fellow players, referees and opponents, and when players practice good self-discipline. Therefore, coaches must play a role similar to that of a parent. They must discipline athletes who fail to meet their obligations and show selfishness, disrespect or apathy. Coaches in school programs also must check on athletes’ academic performance. At the professional level, coaches also deal with disciplinary problems from high-paid athletes. These athletes often make their displeasure public by sharing their grievances with the media.

Long Work Weeks and Travel

Coaches tend to work more than 40 hours a week. At the youth and high school levels, many coaches work separate full-time jobs and spend afternoons, evenings and weekends at practices and games. Coaching often forces them to spend time away from their families. High school basketball teams often play holiday tournaments, including on Christmas Day. Coaches also frequently travel. High school coaches may play two to three games a week away from home. College and pro teams sometimes travel out-of-state for games, so coaches must stay in hotels, eat on the road and endure long bus rides and airline flights.

Job Security Concerns

Coaches face constant evaluation. The success of their athletes and teams can determine their longevity in a job. A single poor season can lead to a coach being terminated. Athletes’ parents and sports fans put significant pressure on management to fire coaches when their teams fail to meet expectations. Coaches who lose their jobs due to a team’s poor performance may face difficulty in finding new coaching jobs, and the opportunities they do receive tend to put them in difficult situations. They may have to settle for jobs coaching sports programs in turmoil and those that have had little success.

About the Author

Based in Central Florida, Ron White has worked as professional journalist since 2001. He specializes in sports and business. White started his career as a sportswriter and later worked as associate editor for Maintenance Sales News and as the assistant editor for "The Observer," a daily newspaper based in New Smyrna Beach, Fla. White has written more than 2,000 news and sports stories for newspapers and websites. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images