003 · Home Sports Coach

Becoming a home sports coach means helping your clients achieve their fitness goals without them having to leave the comfort of their own home. This idea requires very solid skills in sports coaching and nutrition, but can potentially be very rewarding. In this article, I’ll explain the qualifications needed to practice this exciting profession, how to choose a specialization and why it’s important, how to find clients, as well as lots of other useful information, and end with a series of practical tips for getting started and succeeding in your business.

Introduction

If you’re addicted to the dopamine shots that’s injected into your hypothalamus every time you complete a long series of pumps, as well as the very characteristic sweat scents of sports halls, this means that you already have one of the qualities required to become a sport coach. Of course, there are others, and this is certainly not the most important. Sports coaching requires some solid and specific knowledge, so before you get carried away, let’s take a look at the different points to consider.

Well, suffering from a chronic allergy to any physical effort other than climbing the steps of the stairs leading to my apartment (yes, I exaggerate a little) and knowing nothing about this vast subject, I have asked my friend Manu, who has years of practice in sports coaching and has a good command of the subject, to help me answer the various questions that anyone could consider starting this path.

Warning

The first thing to know is that this profession is regulated in many countries, so check first. But even if it’s not the case with you, it is imperative that you become aware that being entrusted with someone’s body is a very big responsibility. If you are a bad writer, for example, at worst you will not sell books, but if you are a poor coach, it is much more serious because your bad advice can cause your customers serious injury or deterioration of their health! Do not consider this factor lightly. By trusting you, your customers expect more from you than simply helping them firm their gluteal muscles or erase the bulges that appeared in their lap belts.

Required Knowledge

They revolve essentially on two inseparable and complementary axes:

  • Functioning of the human body: This seems to be obviously the basis. Knowing how to identify the different muscles, joints, and bones of the body (Anatomy), to learn how the organs and the nervous system function (Biology), or to understand the mechanical properties of the body (biomechanics) are some of the main knowledge required. This knowledge will be valuable to you to optimise the exercises in order to reach the objectives desired by your customers, to choose which muscles to solicit to obtain such results, and especially to avoid such risks of wounds, to understand the articular or muscular pains, and to act appropriately when you will be faced with it, etc.
  • Nutrition: Diet is inseparable from physical exercise. As our body draws its energy primarily from everything that enters our oral cavity (food and drink), it is easy to understand how to be able to provide sound nutritional advice to its customers is crucial. Your recommendations will have to adapt on a case-by-case basis, taking into account different parameters such as age, sex, height, weight, any allergies or intolerances of your customers but also the objective pursued.
Coach fitness Training together is often more motivating. Some of your clients will only call on you because they lack motivation. Image: Pexels

Can one train oneself as an autodidact?

It’s difficult and even risky. First of all, for the obvious reasons that are mentioned above, but also because nothing replaces the structured teaching of a teacher and the condensed essential knowledge that it brings you.

On the other hand, it is essential to go to the gym yourself, so if you have not already, start there. You will be able to familiarise yourself with this environment, practise the different types of exercises, interact with other members, ask advice and ask your questions to coaches, etc. In addition, this experience will be invaluable later on when you start working with your first clients.

Manu: “I myself started self-taught and thought I knew a lot about it, but later on when I started training, I saw how serious I was in certain areas, crucial. The other danger of learning by oneself is that one is confronted with all kinds of information (on the Web, on TV, and sometimes even in books) concerning for example the different types of diets, dietary supplements, different types of exercises, how to perform them, etc., and that these are sometimes contradictory. How then to differentiate what is true from what is not when our knowledge on the subject is not strong enough?

What qualifications are required to become a sports coach?

The qualifications required to become a sports coach are not the same everywhere. Each country has its own specific requirements and certifications.

USA

In the United States, becoming a certified coach depends on the specific sport and coaching level. Several organizations offer certifications for fitness coaches. The most recognized include the NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine), ACE (American Council on Exercise), and ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine). These certifications cover a broad range of topics and are essential for anyone wishing to work in the sport/fitness industry.

UK

In the UK, there’s no mandatory certification for coaching, but for credibility and working independently, a qualification from UK Coaching is highly recommended. They offer a tiered system:

  • Level 1: Designed to assist qualified coaches, ideal for beginners.
  • Level 2: Enables leading your own sessions and developing coaching practice.
  • Level 3: Targets high-performance/professional coaching.

These qualifications focus on practical skills and knowledge for effective coaching. Additionally, popular certifications from CIMSPA (Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity) and courses offered by YMCAfit can further enhance a coach’s credentials and ensure a high standard of coaching.

Canada

There are two main paths for becoming a certified coach in Canada:

  • National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP): This government-backed program provides standardized certifications for various sports and experience levels. It focuses on safety, planning, and core coaching skills through courses and exams.
  • Certifications from organizations like CanFitPro, CSEP, or NFLA: These qualifications are recognized across the country and are vital for a career in fitness coaching. They may involve different focuses like personal training, exercise instruction, or fitness leadership.

Choosing the right path depends on your goals. If you want to focus on a specific sport and develop core coaching competencies, the NCCP is a strong foundation. But if you aim for a broader fitness coaching career or want recognized qualifications from the industry, the second option is the best choice.

Australia

In Australia, becoming a fitness coach requires nationally recognised qualifications from Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). These qualifications, typically Certificate III and IV in Fitness, equip you with the essential knowledge and skills to work as a personal trainer or group fitness instructor. You’ll learn everything needed to design safe and effective workout plans for individual clients.

While not mandatory, industry certifications from organisations like the Australian Institute of Fitness (AIF) or Fitness Australia can further enhance your resume. These certifications delve deeper into specific areas of fitness like strength and conditioning or pre/postnatal exercise. Consider pursuing them after gaining experience with the nationally recognised qualifications.

India

In India, certifications from organizations such as the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), American Council on Exercise (ACE), and the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) are popular. Additionally, the International Institute of Sports Management (IISM), and the K11 School of Fitness Sciences offers specialized diplomas that are well-regarded within the country.

How to find a training?

If you want to take a face-to-face course, this will obviously depend on the country you live in, but also on the level of knowledge you want to achieve, the budget and time you can devote to it, etc. In short, there are a lot of parameters, so the best thing to do is to carry out a localized Google search, choosing the right keywords.

Otherwise, in addition to the various links I’ve provided in the previous chapter, here’s a list of the main sports federations in the world. You’ll find other useful information on their websites.

  • FISAF (Federation of International Sports, Aerobics and Fitness)
  • ASFA (American Sports and Fitness Association)
  • IFBB (International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness)
  • WFF (World Fitness Federation)

Online training

Yes, it’s perfectly possible to train online to become a sports coach. A number of recognized institutions offer distance learning courses, which also include certification. Here are just a few examples:

Finally, there are online training platforms offering a variety of courses ranging from the basics of anatomy to advanced coaching techniques. Most of these courses are taught by professionals in the field, allowing you to follow a course at your own pace, according to your schedule and personal constraints.

What are the required Qualities?

  • Being passionate about sports and practising regularly: Here is another point that seems to be crystal clear, but it still seemed useful to mention it. Who would like to hire a coach whose silhouette is more reminiscent of a pumpkin than an hourglass? Well, you do not have to be a muscle beast either, but try to set an example because your body is a showcase for what you sell.
  • Being attentive: Listening is an essential quality, so if you do not have it, then develop it. This is essential if you want to understand the needs of your customers and help them make real progress.
  • To be pedagogical: Know how to teach and to be able to adapt this teaching according to each individual.
  • Be patient and be diplomatic: You will be confronted sometimes with difficult customers, even irascible. Keeping control of yourself and being able to adapt to their changing moods will be of great value to you.
  • Love social contact: If you do not like people, think of becoming a lighthouse keeper.
  • Evolve: Knowledge and techniques are constantly evolving in this area, and the good practices of yesterday can suddenly become proscribed. Keep your mind critical, stay curious, keep up-to-date on everything new, and above all, do not be afraid to question yourself.
  • Other qualities: I give you here in bulk the other qualities inherent to this job: to have the enthusiasm and the dynamism necessary to succeed in motivating the troops, the rigor, the honesty (do not promise anything that is not feasible) and a good dose of self-confidence.
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Choosing a Specialization in Sports Coaching

You may already know that there are several specializations in sports coaching, each with its own specifics and requirements. I strongly recommend choosing one, or even several. This way, you can stand out and offer services tailored to the diverse needs of your clients. Additionally, becoming an expert in a specific field will enhance your credibility with your clients and attract new ones.

The first step in choosing your specialization is to think about what excites you. Do you particularly love weight training? Or maybe nutrition is your passion? Consider what truly interests you and what you excel at.

Next, examine the needs of your local market. If you live in an area where yoga is particularly popular, why not specialize in this discipline? A small market study can work wonders to understand local trends and adjust your offering accordingly.

But be aware that, even here, training plays a crucial role. Each specialization requires specific skills and knowledge. Make sure to follow recognized training programs that will provide you with the necessary foundation to excel in your chosen field.

Finally, don’t limit yourself to just one specialization, as diversifying your skills can open more doors for you. For example, if you specialize in rehabilitation and also offer nutrition advice, it will make your professional profile much more attractive.

Here are some examples of popular specializations:

  • Weight training and muscle strengthening
  • Cardio-training
  • Rehabilitation and recovery
  • Yoga and Pilates
  • Functional training focused on natural body movements
  • Endurance sports (marathon, triathlon, etc.)
  • Fitness for seniors
  • Physical and mental preparation for specific sports (football, basketball, etc.)
  • Sports nutrition

How to find your first customers?

Once all this knowledge is acquired, you can finally embark on this new adventure. But how to find your first customers? Without experience or reference, it seems difficult. You have to start by showing what you are worth as a coach, so start by offering your first lessons for free. Take a tour of the gyms, create a network of passionate friends like you, activate word of mouth, post ads, make short videos you share on social networks, participate in discussions about forums, approach friendly athletes in green areas or the beach, and in short, make your promo wherever possible and seems relevant.

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Home?

Absolutely, yes. There has always been a clientele for sports coaching at home, and this trend is not going to stop. The reasons why some people prefer (or do not have the choice of) to use a coach at home rather than going to the gym are many: Children at home and no one to keep them, time is too tight to move, the desire to play sports at home but not alone, the lack of gym nearby, agoraphobia, a handicap, a convalescence with exit ban, etc., and I imagine there are still plenty of others.

A sports coach and her client stretch on the beach If you’re lucky enough to live near the sea, or in a beautiful natural setting, and the climate lends itself to it, don’t hesitate to invite your customers for outdoor sports sessions.

Common Mistakes to Avoid as a Sports Coach

Even the best coaches can make mistakes. But, as I mentioned at the beginning of the article, some of these mistakes can have dramatic consequences for your clients. Avoiding them can make all the difference between being a competent sports coach and a true expert. Here are some common mistakes to avoid to ensure a positive experience for your clients (and to keep them alive 😋).

  • 1Ignoring the individual needs of clients: Each client is unique, they have their own goals, limitations, and fitness levels. It’s important not to apply a one-size-fits-all approach to all your clients. Take the time to understand their specific needs, assess their current physical condition, and create personalized training programs. It’s best to start with a good conversation where you can mutually ask all the questions you want.

  • 2Neglecting technique and posture: Technique and posture are essential to avoid injuries and maximize results. Correcting poor posture and teaching proper techniques should be a priority. Make sure your clients fully understand what you’re asking them to do, and guide them to correctly execute each exercise.

  • 3Overtraining clients: Overtraining can cause injuries and burnout. So, as a coach, it’s your responsibility to plan balanced training sessions that include adequate rest and recovery periods. Listen to the signals your clients send about their fatigue levels and adjust their program accordingly.

  • 4Lack of communication and feedback: Communication is absolutely crucial in any client-coach relationship. Not providing regular feedback can leave your clients uncertain about their progress. Encourage open and honest dialogue, ask about their feelings, and adjust your methods based on their feedback.

  • 5Not staying updated on the latest trends and research: The field of sports coaching is constantly evolving, and not staying informed about the latest research, trends, and innovations can make you lose your relevance. Engage in continuous education and never stop learning about various topics. Participate in workshops and read specialized publications (books, studies, blog articles, etc.) to stay up to date.

  • 6Underestimating the importance of nutrition: Nutrition plays a significant role in achieving sports goals. Neglecting this aspect can slow down your clients’ progress. Even if you’re not a certified nutritionist, having a basic knowledge of nutritional principles and being able to give sound advice will be essential throughout your coaching career.

  • 7Not setting realistic and measurable goals: Without this, you risk quickly demotivating your clients. Make sure the goals you set with them are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely (SMART). This will help your clients stay motivated and track their progress.

  • 8Failing to evolve with the client: Your clients’ needs and abilities will evolve over time. It’s important to regularly adjust their training programs to reflect these changes. This might include introducing new exercises, increasing intensity, or revising goals. Hence the importance, once again, of good communication, but also regularly evaluating the progress made by your clients.

Which material to use?

No need to have a large gym filled with heavy equipment and stuffed with electronics to be able to train effectively at home.

Of course, it is easier to work on gear or accessories, but we can very well equip properly for a very reasonable budget. Here is a small list of the minimum necessary equipment:

  • A reclining bench
  • Two shorts alter with some weights to be able to vary the loads
  • A bar with two candles and the weight series that go with
  • Elastic/straps to fit on the door
  • A sports mat

Manu: “People sometimes ignore it, but just by using body weight and gravity, we can do all sorts of exercises and effectively solicit our different muscles. We can take as an example the cases of the pumps: Did you know that there are more than 22 variants!?

Fitness accessories You don’t need sophisticated, expensive equipment to train. A few weights, a rubber band and a ball are all you need in most cases. Image: PxHere

Tips and Tricks

Here is a list of useful tips to help you successfully implement your fitness coaching business. These tips will give you concrete ideas to optimize your practice and satisfy your clients.

  • Develop a professional online presence: Having a professional website and active social media accounts can greatly increase your visibility. Use platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to share client testimonials, fitness tips, and workout videos. A website with online booking options and detailed information about your services can also facilitate contact with new clients.
  • Create high-quality video content: Videos are an excellent way to showcase your expertise and attract attention. Create exercise tutorials, full workout sessions, and nutrition advice in video format. Regularly post on YouTube and Instagram to engage your audience and attract new clients.
  • Offer free trial sessions or promotions: Offer free trial sessions or promotions for new clients. This allows potential clients to experience your coaching style without initial commitment and can convince them to continue with paid sessions.
  • Use tracking and management apps: Invest in performance tracking and client management apps. Tools like MyFitnessPal for nutritional tracking or Trainerize for workout planning can help you monitor your clients’ progress and adjust programs accordingly.
  • Network with other health and fitness professionals: Establish relationships with nutritionists, physiotherapists, chiropractors, and other wellness professionals. These relationships can bring you new clients through referrals and offer opportunities for collaboration and professional development.
  • Organize live events and workshops: Host live events such as nutrition workshops or outdoor group workout sessions. These events can attract new clients and strengthen the community around your brand.
  • Ask for and use client feedback: Don’t hesitate to regularly ask your clients for feedback on your sessions and programs. Use this information to improve your services and better meet their expectations.
  • Continue to educate and evolve: Continuing education is essential to stay updated with the latest trends and techniques in fitness. Attend seminars, take online courses, and read specialized publications to constantly enrich your knowledge.
  • Offer online and remote programs: Diversify your offerings by providing online training programs or remote coaching sessions via video conferencing platforms. This can help you reach a broader clientele, including those in remote areas.
  • Personalize your approach: Every client is unique, and a personalized approach can make all the difference. Take the time to get to know your clients, their goals, their medical history, and their preferences to create programs truly tailored to their needs.

Conclusion

It is certain that if you start from scratch, that you still have no experience in the field of sports coaching, the road will be long before you can live off it. But it is a challenge worthy of note, especially if sport is for you a real “way of life”.

According to my research on Google, the sports coaching market seems to be constantly growing. Several factors could explain this, but the first thing that comes to mind is the Instagram & Co. celebrity boom. Have Beyoncé’s buttocks, Cristiano CR7 tablets, Emma Watson’s silhouette, or Dwayne Johnson’s biceps… In my opinion, many are those who are willing to devote time and especially money to look like these modern icons. Trends are the opportunities.

Another phenomenon that is not new, but whose success has not declined over the years is the “Wellness” or culture of well-being. With a message such as “feeling good in body and mind”, it’s no wonder it’s gathering more and more followers. Moreover with the epidemic of obesity that rages in many countries around the globe…

In short, with all this, you may have work to do for a long time to come!

EcoTips

Environmental and climate change issues are more than ever at the heart of the concerns of this 21st century, which is why I am proposing a few ideas that will enable you to limit the negative impact that the implementation of this idea could have.

These solutions that I suggest are sometimes largely insufficient to compensate for these negative impacts, such as carbon offsetting. Unfortunately, there is not always an ideal and 100% efficient solution, far from it. And if you have others, please do not hesitate to share them in the comments below.

Nutrition is a crucial element when practicing a sport in a moderate or intensive way. If your body eliminates toxins during exercise, it would be a shame to feed it in a counterproductive way. This is why you should favour a healthy diet, but above all organic, local and seasonal. This will be good for both your body and the planet.

Frequent car journeys to customers’ homes contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. To limit this carbon footprint, consider using more environmentally-friendly means of transport, such as bicycles or public transport. You can also optimize your schedule by grouping sessions in close geographical areas to reduce the distances travelled.

The waste generated by the packaging of food supplements and sports nutrition products is also a source of pollution. As a coach, you can advise your customers on more environmentally-friendly alternatives, such as buying products in bulk or using reusable containers. Promoting a diet based on local and seasonal produce can also reduce the ecological footprint associated with food production and transportation.

Finally, the energy consumed by online sessions and videoconference consultations is not negligible. Although this method of coaching reduces the need to travel, it does require greater use of digital technologies. To offset this impact, consider using energy-efficient devices, and encourage your customers to do the same. What’s more, you can choose green energy suppliers to power your home and equipment.

Pros

  • A rewarding job because it is linked to well-being.
  • The satisfaction of bringing something to people and following their evolution.
  • Human Contacts.
  • Varied profession and far from an office.
  • Potentially high earnings.

Cons

  • Liability in the event of an accident (hence the importance of knowing well this job).
  • Sometimes we can find difficult customers.
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Legal and administrative aspects of the ideas you'll find on Sweekr are rarely discussed because they vary greatly depending on the country you live in. I would advise you to check with your local adminitration before starting any business. Keep in mind that if you make money, the state will ask for "its share" in order to guarantee the proper functioning of schools, hospitals and other public services. Therefore, you will probably have to acquire a micro-entrepreneur status, or any other similar.

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