Coaching in Scotland 2015

This report represents the findings from the largest survey of coaches in Scotland (769 coaches), conducted across multiple sports. The results provide valuable evidence to support Sports Councils, Governing Bodies of Sport and other organisations in refining their workforce strategies, coach education and development.

sportscotland worked in collaboration with sports coach UK to deliver this survey in Scotland. sports coach UK have lead this research and alongside Coaching in Scotland,  a wider UK report is also available: Coach Panel 2015.

We plan to work with sports coach UK to deliver this Survey annually.

The key messages:

A more diverse workforce

Sports coaching remains a predominantly white, male activity. 68% of coaches in the survey were male which is consistent with other research from Household Surveys in Scotland. 93% were non-disabled and 95% were white.

70% of respondents were aged over 35. Of interest are the 10% of coaches who are over 65, this is probably higher than would be expected based on UK coaching figures.


Just over three-quarters of coaches in Scotland will volunteer some of their time to coaching. This consists of 57% of coaches who only volunteer and 20% who volunteer but also get paid for some of the coaching they do. The remainder of the workforce is made up of 13% part-time coaches and 11% full-time coaches.

The entry into coaching

Traditionally research has suggested two entry stages into coaching at 16-24 and 35-44. In Scotland the earlier age group appears much more significant for recruiting coaches.


If there was such a thing as a typical session it would last 90 minutes and involve three coaches working with twenty participants. The ratio of participants to coaches in Scotland is lower than the UK average which may be considered a positive figure.

22% of coaching sessions include disabled participants. In these sessions had an average of 13% of participants with a disability. This is similar to the UK coaching average.

Developing coaches

Of all the sources of learning available, coaching qualifications have the biggest long-term impact. The most frequently used sources of learning involve interacting with other coaches, reflection and feedback. After these the most common sources used are online (searching the internet and watching videos).

More appropriately qualified and skilled coaches.

The most common coaching qualification held by respondents was level 1. This is an unusual result for coaching research that tends to have a higher proportion of coaches at level 2 and above.

A better-supported workforce

Overall 88% of coaches feel supported by their governing body or other agencies such as sportscotland and sports coach UK. This is higher than the UK average of 83%.

Related documents

Date published: 19 June 2023
Date updated: 19 June 2023


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