Coaching a college sports team can be an immensely rewarding career. Along with helping young athletes develop their skills and achieve their goals, a dedicated college coach may inspire student-athletes to achieve their dreams in the professional leagues.
If you’re a softball fan thinking about career paths (and, ideally, if you have some experience playing softball), you may want to know how to become a college softball coach. This overview will cover the essential ways you can turn your vision of becoming a softball coach into a reality.
How to Become a College Softball Coach
It’s important to be aware that there isn’t one single way to land college softball coaching jobs or any major NCAA jobs, for that matter. Sometimes people fall into college softball coach positions in unique ways. In general, though, the answer to the question “How do I become a college softball coach?” is simple: follow these steps:
Know You Want the Job
Knowing how to become a college softball coach involves first confidently knowing you want the job in the first place. It takes passion to be an effective college softball coach. You need to truly be honest with yourself when determining whether you care enough about softball to make this job a career or whether it’s simply a job you’re considering because you don’t have any other ideas at the moment.
You also need to look into practical matters. For example, you should research the average softball coach salary, to learn if this job aligns with your financial goals. These may seem like obvious points, but many job-seekers, not just those interested in NCAA jobs, overlook the importance of examining their goals before they begin earnestly pursuing careers that may not be right for them in the long run.
Focus on Your Education
Although not every single college softball coaching job requires applicants to have college degrees, many require at least a bachelor’s. You can give yourself an advantage over the competition when applying for NCAA jobs if you’re also willing to get a master’s. Research indicates that close to a quarter of all college softball coaches in the United States have some form of master’s degree.
Ideally, you should plan to earn a degree in a relevant subject, such as sports medicine or sports management. You may also want to earn specialized certifications from college softball training programs.
Again, you’ll have a much better chance of becoming a softball coach if you can show you have substantial experience playing softball at a relatively high level for several years.
Relevant work experience can also help. When you’re a student, make a point of applying for jobs or internships with your college’s athletics program. If that’s not an option, consider jobs with minor leagues. You could even volunteer to support a small local league if that’s your only chance of getting work experience right now.
Having the right work experience doesn’t just help you demonstrate to potential future employers that you have a practical understanding of how athletics departments and softball leagues operate. These work experiences will also give you more opportunities to network with industry pros who may help you further your career.
Your eventual goal is to become head coach of a college softball team. However, even when you first get a job with a team, you shouldn’t expect to step right into your dream position. You need to accept that there will likely be a hierarchy. You have to work your way up the ladder by starting out in smaller positions, such as assistant coaching roles, doing all you can to demonstrate to your superiors that you have the drive to succeed.
When you first begin to pursue your career goals, you should also prioritize the value of developing skills and insights that will help you in your future position, even if they aren’t directly tied to the job of a college softball coach. For example, those who succeed in coaching and similar leadership-centric NCAA jobs have often developed strong interpersonal skills. Future employers may want to know you’re the type of person who can inspire others, mediate conflicts between players, and coordinate with all team members to reach a common goal.
Luckily, if you’re genuinely interested in becoming a college softball coach, the experience of working towards your dream career will be invigorating. From learning about coaching to working with athletes, you’ll likely enjoy nearly every step along the way.