How to Become a

Basketball Coach

The complete career guide to be a Basketball Coach: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $40,050
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 5.9%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Fast Paced Career
    Career Attribute

Basketball coaches train teams and athletes in the sport of basketball. They teach players how to improve their skills, how to work together for greater success, and how to win games against tough opponents. They may work at any level, coaching school-aged, college, or professional teams.

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What is a Basketball Coach?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in basketball coach roles:

  • Evaluate the skills of individual players to create plans for improving and refining player skillsets
  • Set practice schedules, come up with routines for practice, and provide training and guidance to team and players during practice to prepare for upcoming games
  • Oversee games, call plays, motivate players, and establish plans for defeating opposing teams
  • Teach players all needed skills and knowledge—such as game rules, techniques for offense and defense, and different passing, moving, and shot techniques

A Day in the Life

Basketball coaches oversee, train, and educate groups of athletes who specialize in playing basketball. They may work with teams of athletes at any age or skill level—from elementary schoolers to professional athletes. They train athletes how to succeed in games and how to improve overall skills as teams and individuals. They may coach players on topics like how to run the ball, how to run plays to overcome teams with good defense, how to make difficult shots, and how to handle the ball.

Basketball coaches are in charge of setting the practice schedule for their teams and establishing routines to be conducted during practice sessions. Some of the work a coach has a team do is simply to make the team more effective overall, and some requires the coach to analyze the skills of teams for upcoming games. For example, if a college team is participating in the NCAA tournament, the coach will watch multiple games for opposing teams to determine a specific plan for defeating that team.

During the game, the coach oversees play, determines which players start the game, and when to send in substitutions. They instruct players to call time outs when needed and call specific plays depending on the situation. They’re also responsible for motivating the team so that players do their best while on the basketball court. They encourage players before the game, provide instruction and motivation during game breaks, and keep players optimistic about the future, even after losses.

Typical Work Schedule

Basketball coaches that work with school-aged teams (preschool, elementary, middle, or high school) often work part-time; they hold regular full-time jobs and coach on the side for fun. Often, all of the work for these coaches is conducted in the evenings and on weekends outside of school hours.

Coaches at the college or professional level work full-time, and often work well over 40 hours a week. This is especially true during the basketball season. Additionally, while practice sessions may be held most commonly during the day, coaches frequently must work evenings and weekends for games, to support player class schedules, or to practice for upcoming games.

Basketball Coach Specializations

Basketball coach specializations are typically just the age level of teams. Generally, basketball teams start around 4th or 5th grade and continue from there, so coaches may oversee teams of elementary, middle, or high school athletes. Additionally, they may also oversee college basketball teams or professional basketball teams.

Career Progression

  • Early Career: Athlete, PE Teacher
  • Mid-Career: Assistant Coach, Sports Coach, Sports Scout
  • Late Career: Athletic Director, Head Coach

Typical Employers

Basketball coaches may work for either public or private elementary, middle or high schools. Other common employers include public and private colleges, and professional sports organizations.

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How To Become a Basketball Coach

A college degree may not be required to coach lower-level teams. Often, coaches of school-level teams are volunteer positions—potentially with small stipends—and are taken on by parent volunteers, community volunteers, or physical education teachers. Some coaches who aspire to coach at the college or professional level often get their start coaching school or community basketball teams. If they’re successful, they may be able to move into assistant coaching positions for higher-level teams.

However, to coach at the college or professional level, a bachelor’s degree is usually required. The specific type of degree pursued is not necessarily important, though many aspiring basketball coaches pursue related degrees in fields like fitness, nutrition, sports administration, sports science, or sports medicine. Others pursue unrelated degrees if they have ambitions beyond or in addition to coaching, and they utilize those degrees while coaching at the school level to earn incomes from those roles.

The most important qualification for a coach is that they know the game inside and out, and they’re adept at teaching athletes and teams how to succeed in basketball. Successful coaches will be able to take underperforming basketball teams and transform them into winning teams. Often, coaches were athletes themselves and transitioned to coaching when their athletic careers ended, and this experience allows them to work as successful coaches for basketball teams later in their careers.

Basketball Coach Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

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High Range


National Hourly Wage

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How do Basketball Coach salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Basketball Coach's can make an average annual salary of $40,050, or --- per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $20,140 or --- per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #530 Nationally for All Careers

Highest Education Among Basketball Coachs

  • 2.2%   Doctorate
  • 14.2%   Masters
  • 42.7%   Bachelors
  • 7.9%   Associates
  • 21.5%   College
  • 9.8%   High School
  • 1.7%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Basketball Coach job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 14,800 jobs for a total of 265,400 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 5.9% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #379 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Basketball Coachs

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Other schools and instruction; private 44,400 7,700 8%
Elementary and secondary schools; local 43,900 -2,000 -2%
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; private 31,000 2,400 2%

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