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UK Coaching Team
Organising and Planning Self-care and development

How to Get into Coaching

If you are considering embarking on a volunteering role as a coach or contemplating a full-time career in coaching, here is some essential advice to help you take that all-important first step

The often-asked question, “How do I get into coaching?” has a straightforward answer. If you have a passion to help, support and develop people, just have a go!

There are thousands of established grass-roots community clubs that are crying out for volunteer support in coaching and administration, even if all you can give is a maximum of one hour a week.

The personal rewards are immeasurable. Coaching is a hugely rewarding journey of self-discovery, on which you will be helping to incite positive and meaningful change in the lives of others.

Our fundamental belief at UK Coaching is that #GreatCoaching changes lives because it is about people supporting people to be better tomorrow than they are today.

By joining the coaching family – and there are around three million active coaches in the UK, engaging over nine million adults and seven million children and young people – you will become an integral part of the team helping to build happier and healthier performers and communities.

One of the easiest ways of finding a local club is to use a club finder and then make contact. There are more than 7,000 registered amateur sports clubs in the UK, and you can find their contact details here.

Look out for clubs that have the industry standard kite mark of Clubmark and Chartered status, as they will have processes and systems in place to enable you to thrive and develop as a coach.

Safety first

You do not need any formal qualifications, just energy and passion. However, you will be asked to take a safeguarding course and apply for an enhanced DBS certificate which the club will be able to help you with. This is an essential part of the process of becoming a coach as it protects the athletes as well as critically protecting you. 

Attending a safeguarding course will equip you with the knowledge and confidence to deliver safe and enjoyable experiences of sport and physical activity. 

If you would feel more comfortable initially approaching a club with a safeguarding course in your pocket, then book onto our Safeguarding & Protecting Children Online Classroom or our Safeguarding & Protecting Children face-to-face workshop.

Safeguarding Online Classroom









Safeguarding Face-to-Face Workshop









Further safeguarding resources:

Safeguarding and Protecting Children – Frequently Asked Questions

How to Act to Safeguard Adults at Risk of Abuse

Code of Practice for Sports Coaches

National Governing Bodies

The entry point to coaching is becoming involved at an assistant level, and to have responsibility for the delivery of coaching activities under the direct supervision of a more qualified coach.

As you get more involved with a club you may wish to take a Level 1 and then a Level 2 and Level 3 qualification. These are accessible to anyone and normally first accessed through the National Governing Body (NGB) website. 

These qualifications will give you a far greater understanding of technical, tactical, and physiological aspects associated with your sport, and learn skills that will help you develop your competence and identify areas of improvement. Another great benefit of these courses is the opportunity to encounter and meet like-minded people who themselves are starting their coaching journey in your chosen sport.

Running alongside these individual qualifications is a new initiative within the sports industry linking the qualifications and your practical delivery to a set of agreed Professional Standards. Similar to a BTEC qualification, it is a reward for the practical application of your theoretical knowledge. 

If you would like more information on these standards, you can find them here.

National governing bodies of sport in the United Kingdom: 

National governing bodies in England – click here to find your sport via the Active Yorkshire Coast A-Z of National Governing Bodies. You should contact the NGB directly for more information on becoming a coach.

A-Z of Scottish governing bodies.

Federation of Irish Sport: National governing bodies.

National governing bodies in Wales.

'Join In UK' offer a free Volunteer Opportunity Finder to help match people with local volunteerting opportunities.

Insurance matters

Being a coach carries that small but nagging risk of injury befalling a customer, client, athlete, participant or indeed yourself. You will do your best to minimise this risk, but it is also a comfort to know you are well covered should the worst-case scenario materialise. 

It is imperative, if you are starting a career in coaching, that you carry adequate comprehensive Insurance cover with the following categories included:

  • Public liability insurance – this cover includes liability arising from any advice you may provide and liability for products that you use or sell (e.g. someone alleges your coaching method has caused them an injury and sues you for compensation).
  • Professional indemnity insurance – this cover includes liability for financial loss arising from your advice or instruction, including breach of copyright or intellectual property rights (e.g. someone alleges you’ve copied their copyrighted online training programme and sues you for compensation).
  • Personal accident cover – this includes protection in case you were to get injured in any way whilst coaching and includes death and loss of eye(s) or limbs benefit, and temporary disablement. 
  • Online and virtual training cover – More than ever coaches are operating in the virtual space. Ensure you are covered to work with clients remotely, including hosting live workouts or uploading pre-recorded instructional videos.

Coaching Insurance

Examine your specialist insurance options for coaches, fitness professionals, tutors and mentors.

Find out more

Next steps

We hope you have found the advice and signposting in this article a useful starting point.

UK Coaching is here for you every step of the way on your coaching journey. 

And to further whet your appetite, below we have selected some of our most popular free resources that we think will inspire you to get into coaching. They emphasise the wide-ranging benefits of choosing a career in coaching, and examine the qualities you need to be a great coach.

Coaches Wear Many Hats

We explore the many roles and responsibilities of the modern coach.

Read it Now

Women into Coaching

Our digital guide features stories from empowering female role models and advice on how to get into coaching and develop your career.


Recommended Guidance...

for coaches on the Standards for Deployment that you need to be aware of and ensure that you meet.

Learn More

Practical Considerations...

of what’s expected of coaches in different coaching environments, and how to ensure that you’re able to flourish in your environment.

Learn More

Join the Club


Be part of our club that supports coaches of all levels, sports and activities and helps you develop your skills, make great savings, connect with coaches and much more!

Related Learning

  • How to: Plan, Coach, Reflect

  • Safeguarding and Protecting Children and Young People Renewal

  • Duty to Care Toolkit and Digital Badge


Related Resources

  • Top 10 Qualities You Need to be a Coach

  • Skills and Qualities of a Coach

  • Coaching Behaviours


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UK Coaching Team