Why children’s sports coaches are unqualified and underpaid (Part 1)

Millions of men, women and children play sport and physical activity every day. And around the world, sport coaches support them to reach their personal and collective goals. However, Coaching isn’t always an easy job, especially coaching kids.
It is estimated that around 70% of sport coaches is working with children although research shows that, the majority of them is not qualified, or hold very low level qualifications, let alone a qualification that specifically prepares them to coach this young age group.

So while children’s sport coaches accounted for the biggest workforces in the field, as a group, they are one of the least qualified group, least recognised for their contribution and least remunerated.

Part of the issue, is that children’s coaches are not as highly appreciated or valued in comparison to those coaching high performance athletes. In part, this is because the low social status and public value connected to coaches who choose to not or can not coach at the higher, more visible of elite sport. There is also limited investment in children’s coaching. This is despite the fact that coaches play a vital role in developing children as people, as well as athletes in terms of physical attributes as well as mental.

Underpaid and unappreciated
The good news is that things are beginning to change. The development of a more educated coaching workforce and the need to update and develop the ways that sport coaches are educated has been realized as a priority area at the highest levels of sport committees policy.

But the bad news is that tailored learning and development chances focused on children and youth sport for coaches are virtually nonexistent across the world. Typically, children’s coaches have the tendency to be beginners and are often less experienced coaches.So while in European, coaches are required to have a state-recognised diploma, certificate or license to coach, typically, there are no specific enforced minimum employment requirements to children’s coaches around the world.

Nor are there any specific mandatory qualifications or training needed to coach sports kids at a national level. So while some governing bodies or federations have issued their own licensing and regulation, as yet, there are no mandatory requirements at national level for children’s coaches.