How To Become A Football Coach

Written By: Chris Haddad
Updated: April 19, 2024

What does it take to become a football coach? Football coaches must possess many skills to motivate and move the team in one direction.

Football coaches are often the center of their communities. They are often responsible for bringing the community together on Friday nights and leading over 100+ players to victory.

To become an impactful football coach, you must take certain steps. Not every coaching position is treated equally.

In this article, we’ll explain exactly what it takes to become a football coach and how you can achieve it.

How To Become A Youth Football Coach

Youth Football Coach

To become a youth football coach, contact your local youth league and talk to the directors. Most youth football coaches are parents who want to coach their children.

Football programs will encourage you to get certifications, such as the Heads Up Certification, which ensures that coaches know when players may have a concussion. It’s also important that coaches don’t put young players in drills or scenarios vs bigger players where they may get hurt.

Because football is a contact sport and the players are so young, each league may require additional certifications.

Youth football coaches are not paid. They donate their time to the team, which can be over 10+ hours a week: game planning, practice planning, and drawing up plays.

If you want to learn more about coaching football, we recommend checking out our Football Coaches Training Program.

How To Become A High School Football Coach

High school football coach talking to his team
High School Football Coach Talking To His Team

To become a high school coach, you must contact your local high school coach or athletic director. Explain to them your intentions (whether it be a paid coach or a volunteer) and how you can help support their current program.

Each state has different qualifications and certifications. For example, in Massachusetts, coaches are required to take a concussion certification test and a CPR test.

In Texas, coaches must be state-certified and complete the Atavus tackling certification, concussion certification, and more, depending on your district.

As you can see, certifications vary state by state. But ultimately, it’s up to the head coach and the athletic director to decide if they want to hire you.

How To Become A College Football Coach

To become a college football coach, you must start as a GA (Grad assistant). From here, you work your way up to a position coach, coordinator, and then a head coach.

The college coaching profession is much more corporate, and your expertise and coaching history matter when it comes to getting your next job.

Grad assistants are often paid 10-20k a year and work long, tiring hours. They are responsible for doing tiring work such as cutting up film, setting up drills, and making sure their position coach has everything he needs.

High school coaches who have worked hard may also move up to the college ranks, bypassing the grad assistant position and going straight to a position coach. While it’s uncommon, it does happen from time to time.

How To Become A Professional Football Coach

A young Sean McVay
A Young Sean McVay As An Assitant Coach

To become a professional coach in the NFL or any other professional league, you must start at the bottom and work your way up. Most NFL coaches start as ball boys, equipment managers, quality control officers, and assistants to the position coach.

Once they have worked their way up the ladder, quality control coaches are often promoted to position coaches, coordinators, and eventually head coaches.

It’s common for college coaches to make their way to the NFL and step right in as a position coach.

One thing to note about coaching football at the college and NFL level is coaches are quickly hired and quickly fired. Staff turnover is common, so new jobs often require moving to an entirely new state.

This is why coaching football for a full-time job is a high-stress job, mainly because families are constantly moving to accommodate the new job, which could only last a year.

If you truly love coaching football, it’s worth the chase for college and NFL coaching. There are great benefits such as pay, status, and the ability to coach some of the best athletes in the world.

If you have a great family and want to help out within your community, youth and high school coaching would be your best bet.

What’s Next?

Coaching football can be difficult and overwhelming. If you need guidance in the right direction, we recommend you check out our Football Coaching Training Program.

Inside, you’ll find everything you need to become a successful football coach.

If you need position courses or something to help you master the fundamentals, check out our store here.

About the author 

Chris Haddad

Chris Haddad is the founder of vIQtory Sports & high school coach for over 12+ years. He has been featured as an authority on Hudl, Bleacher Report and countless other football-centric platforms. Chris continues to study and provide valuable content for those looking to learn more about the game of football.