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How To Become A Successful Football Coach

Given football’s popularity it’s unsurprising that many people grow up dreaming of becoming a manager. Here you’ll learn about how to become a football coach

Pep Guardiola, Sir Bobby Robson, Sir Alex Ferguson. These are just a few examples of the greatest football managers of all time – coaches who transformed their teams and added elegance to the already ‘beautiful game’.

Given football’s popularity as a sport, it’s relatively unsurprising therefore that many people grow up dreaming of following the example they have set, becoming a football coach themselves and aspiring to be as, if not more, successful.

While I can’t promise you’ll reach the same standard as these greats, I can tell you how to turn your dream of being a football coach into a reality – whether you’re an experienced footballer or not. With no pun intended, let’s kick things off and learn all about how to become a successful football coach.

Step 1: Watch A LOT of football.

A fairly obvious point really – if you don’t already love football, you’re not going to do very well coaching it. In order to hone your skills, as with most things, the best way to gain experience is through learning on the job itself. That means you’re going to need to watch a lot of football, monitoring players, teams and determining which formations work best.

Ask at your local football club whether it would be possible to shadow the current manager, so you can learn from them. Not only will this offer you an insight into what life being a football coach might be like, but it will also let you see which coaching methods do or don’t work, so you can form your own coaching style accordingly.

Step 2: Get some health and fitness experience.

If you want to make football coaching your career, you’re going to need to know your stuff when it comes to health and fitness, and there’s no better way of doing exactly that than by getting some experience. Whether you work at a gym, or volunteer at your local sports team, all experience is good experience and will reassure you that a career in sports coaching is right for you.

You should also think about obtaining some relevant certification, teaching you the basics of coaching and how to be an effective fitness instructor. To learn about health and fitness generally, and gain applicable experience across all sports, the Level 2 Certificate in Gym Instruction could be a good, relatively inexpensive starting point. However, if you’d like to learn about football coaching specifically, a college course in one of the following three subjects will put you in good stead:

  • Level 3 Diploma in Sport with Football.
  • Level 3 Diploma Sport Development, Coaching and Fitness.

One important thing to note with these courses is you’ll need to double check whether the course includes the FA Level 1 Coaching Award and the FA Level 2 Certificate in Football Coaching Studies. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to train for this separately.

Step 3: Move up the FA ladder.

Once you’ve got some form of professional certification under your belt, and you’re still serious about becoming a pro football manager or coach, it’s time to move on into the big boy league.

The Football Association (FA) offer a number of additional coaching badges and awards in successive levels which, to become the best, you’ll need to work your way through. Once you’ve achieved the FA Level 1 and 2 coaching awards on your previous course, the next certificates include:

  1. FA Level 3 (UEFA B) in Coaching Football.
  2. FA Level 4 (UEFA A) in Coaching Football.
  3. The FA Advanced Youth Award.
  4. FA Level 5 (UEFA Pro) in Coaching Football.

Once you have gained each of these badges, you will have all the knowledge and experience you need to implement your coaching style and become the next greatest football manager.


You don’t need to be the world’s best footballer to be a truly great coach – you just need to have the right mindset, a high level of commitment, and a complete love of the game.

Just look at Andre Villas Boas if you don’t believe me. He had no experience of football whatsoever but, after shadowing Jose Mourinho at Porto, he hasn’t exactly done too bad for himself.

It all comes down to your mentality – if you really want it badly enough, your dream of becoming a pro football manager can become a reality much more easily than you think.

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