A sports instructor is a person who is responsible for teaching a group or an individual the rules and techniques for playing a specific sport. These instructors may be hired by private companies such as gyms and fitness centers, training facilities, or recreational companies to provide instruction to customers who want to develop a specific set of skills. No specific level of education is necessary in order to become a sports instructor, but that person will need to have significant experience and skill within a certain sport. College degrees are usually not necessary, though many employers do prefer candidates who have earned degrees.
Most sports instructor positions are sport-specific; that is, the instructor is likely to teach skills and techniques for one sport rather than many, though some instructors are well-versed enough in a variety of sports to be able to instruct others efficiently. Additional training for all sports instructor positions will include first aid and CPR so each instructor is prepared in the event of an emergency. Some instructors may even need to be certified by specific governing bodies that regulate specific sports or athletic training, though others may not need such certification.
Some of the job responsibilities likely to be tackled by a sports instructor include preparing new athletes for a particular sport by developing training programs; instructing participants how to perform specific motions or actions relating to a sport; teaching about muscle building and recovery techniques; discussing healthy habits such as eating right, exercising, resting, stretching, and staying away from drugs and alcohol; and teaching participants about rules, regulations, safety procedures, and safety equipment. Generally, the sports instructor is responsible for the safety of participants of a sports workshop or lesson, and he or she must adhere to proper procedures to prevent injury to himself and participants.
Effective communication skills are extremely important for any person striving to be a sports instructor. That person must have a desire to work with different types of people, effectively convey complex ideas, and look out for the general welfare of others. The instructor must also have a passion for the sport that he or she instructs. A thorough knowledge of each game must be gained in order for the instructor to be effective; a cursory knowledge or sports is a good start, but the best instructors know the rules of each sport, the best procedures for performing well in those sports, and training methods that will improve a person's performance in the game.