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Coaching and Sports Training


Coaches and sports trainers guide people to help them achieve specific sports performance goals. Sports coaches and sports trainers work closely with athletes in elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities, and with professional sports teams. Coaches teach the basic skills required in individual or team sports for amateur or professional athletes. They may work full time during the day and coach part time, such as for Little League or soccer teams. Coaches create and manage practice sessions and drills, evaluating players and helping them to improve their skills, techniques, form, and stamina. They motivate and encourage individuals and teams to improve their performance. Their job also entails handling administrative tasks such as taking notes and keeping records on players and their performance. The Department of Labor reported that there were 290,100 coaches and scouts employed in the United States in May 2018.

The sports coaching industry is an $8 billion business, according to the market research group IBISWorld. From 2014 to 2019 this industry, composed of nearly 146,000 businesses, experienced growth of nearly 3 percent. The sports coaching field is expected to continue performing well in the years to come due to increased participation in sports for health benefits as well as to offset the high cost of college tuition through sports scholarships. Sports camps and academies are growing as parents seek sports coaches and programs to help their children stay active and improve their likelihood of receiving sports scholarships.

Fitness trainers work with people of all ages in health clubs, gyms, fitness or recreation centers, and in yoga and Pilates studios. They lead group classes, instructing students and demonstrating exercises. They also evaluate individuals for their strength and conditioning, and create exercise programs to help people improve their fitness levels. They teach strength training, stretching, and cardiovascular exercises, demonstrate how to use exercise equipment, and discuss other issues such as nutrition and weight control. Group fitness instructors teach group classes such as cardio kickboxing, dance, aerobics, core conditioning with weights, and more. Personal fitness trainers work with individuals to guide them during workouts, often creating workout programs for personal training sessions. There were approximately 356,900 fitness trainers and aerobics instructors employed in the United States in May 2018, according to the Department of Labor.

Athletic trainers are distinctly different from sports trainers in that their focus is on helping athletes recover from injuries through rehabilitation programs. They also help athletes avoid injuries and illnesses while maintaining peak performance. Athletic trainers are employed by professional sports teams, and they also work in fitness centers, hospitals, and physicians’ offices. In May 2018 there were 26,890 athletic trainers employed in the United States.

IBISWorld reported that the personal training industry is a $9 billion business that has been enjoying steady growth since 2014. From 2014 to 2019 it experienced annual growth of 1.0 percent. The rising incidence of obesity in the United States is expected to stimulate demand for trainers. However, at the end of the decade trainers faced competition for business from less expensive instructional alternatives.