Qualifications and Training

Swimming coach at poolside

If you are helping out by assisting a coach, you do not need a formal qualification to get started. A Level 1, sport-specific qualification will give you more confidence in your ability. Your club, centre or group may also require you to have knowledge of first aid and safeguarding children as well as a DBS check. Your club should be able to guide you.

To coach independently, clubs and governing bodies of sport usually require you to have a minimum standard of training - often leading to a Level 2 sports-specific coaching qualification. Most will help you to obtain this.

To progress in your coaching, you may wish to take a Level 3 qualification or deepen your skills in a particular area (such as coaching disabled sports people) by attending a training course.

University sports coaching courses can be found by searching the UCAS website.

Regardless of the sport or activity and the level at which you're coaching, the Code of Practice for Sports Coaches provides invaluable guidance on rights and responsibilities.


Generally, coaching qualifications begin at Level 1 and go up to Level 4.

Many governing body programmes are UKCC-endorsed – meaning that they meet an agreed set of standards. The UKCC – managed by sports coach UK – is a framework for developing, endorsing and continuously improving sports coach education programmes. UKCC-endorsed programmes provide a positive learning experience, focused on helping you coach safely and effectively at different stages of your coaching career.

There are currently more than 30 sports with UKCC endorsement. Each sport's programme varies, depending on the nature of the sport. For example, face-to-face ‘classroom’ element of a Level 1 course can take from two to four days to complete, with added time for assessment, putting your learning into practice and gaining experience.The cost and length of courses differs from sport to sport too.

You can be assured that your UKCC-endorsed qualification is nationally recognised against the government's skills agenda. This gives you a clear vocational pathway, which increases your opportunities for personal and career development.

>> Find out more and secure your place on a qualification by visiting governing body websites.

sports coach UK Workshops

We provide bite-sized workshops, designed to supplement sports-specific, UKCC programmes. All our workshops are designed to deepen your knowledge in a particular area and put your learning into practice.

>> More about our workshops


Recognising that people learn in different ways, we have worked with many partners to create a range of e-learning materials to support different programmes. You'll come across the ones relevant to your sport, but a great example is UK Anti Doping's Coach Clean, designed to help every coach understand your role in ensuring that we all enjoy clean sport.

Receive regular emails featuring blogs and practical tips.

> Sign up here

Add to My Folder 

Join the sports coach UK network

Get regular emails featuring blogs and practical tips from top coaches