The cost of Coaching for Coaches

There is a lot of talk about paying for coaching in athletics. To be clear, I am a volunteer coach in athletics. I have been a volunteer coach for over 20 years and don’t get paid for coaching. Also before people go jumping up and down it was my choice to get involved at my local club because my children wanted to do athletics. I am not sure that parents understand the commitment in time and also financial loss due to travelling to the track, traveling to competitions, also time sitting writing plans.

Just some of the skills needed to coach athletes.

Coach (seems obvious)

Coach assistant (again obvious)

Strength and conditioning coach

Physiotherapist (Unqualified but people think you just know)

Nutritionist (same as physio)

Soft tissue therapist

Sports Phycologist (essential skill)


Mentor (to both parents and athletes)

Agony Aunt

School teacher

This list is not exhaustive

Depending on the level your athletes compete at the above list can be more or less demanding. Although all athletes want to improve and that’s your job to set objectives for them. Go back to the list I forgot to add that one. (Spend time setting objectives,) writing training plans, Back to list forgot about that basic skill which is time consuming and essential.

Weekly diary


Meet with Physios and Strength and Conditioning (SnC) coaches for catch up to just make sure athletes are ready for the week ahead, 2 Hours, training session 3 hours. Total 5 hours Monday.


3 Hours possibly 4 if I’m going to observe some of the SnC session.


Session 2.5 Hours


2 Hours session both gym and track. Although possibly my free day.


3 hours technical session

Saturday morning

2.5 hours track session

Sunday Day Off

Just to clarify, this was all done whilst doing a full time job. (When did I have time to sleep, see my family, chill out).

Writing plans and setting objectives, really not sure how much time I spend on this.

I have not added in the meetings with the support teams because they can be adhoc I’m going to guess 3 hours on average over the week.

Thee is also warm weather training which is 10days a year. Attending comps to watch the athletes. competing.

Then adhoc 1–1s just coffees and catch ups.

Over 20 hours a week committed to improving my athletes.

So whats your hourly rate at work and times it by the hours above as an absolute minimum. A Squash coach charges £20 for 40 mins. SnC coaches charge between £30 to £60 an hour. In the USA coaches charge approx $11000 a year for coaching per athlete.

I believe that unless people pay for something they don’t appreciate it. Although there are some athletes and parents that do show appreciation for the work we put in.

I personally don’t like the hourly rate approach, although I don’t know what the right answer is.

Would you expect to get your driving lessons for free?

The argument is, not everyone can afford to pay. Athletes don’t earn footballers wages so how can you ask for money from what they receive if they are funded and if they are not funded then it’s likely they just wouldn’t be able to afford to pay a Coach. ( I’ve now confused myself with my own argument).

So what’s the answer, honestly I don’t know. I really just wanted to highlight the time commitment from volunteer coaches, the time they commit to help improve others at the cost of time away from their own family.