It’s a running joke in our house that if you calculated the time spent coaching netball, planning sessions, debriefing games and just generally obsessing over the sport, the small sum you receive for coaching each season would work out to be less than the hourly rate that workers receive in Chinese sweatshops.
Money isn’t the reason we all pull on our polo shirts and rock up to take charge of 10 or more kids each week, of course. The reward comes from the love of the game, and the joy in helping a group of players come together, improve their skills and enjoy their sport is more than enough, or we wouldn’t be doing it. Any money that finds its way into your pocket at the end of it is purely a bonus.
But when one coach mentioned in passing that they were receiving $10,000 per year as head netball coach of a football-netball club, it did get us thinking about the financial side of coaching the game.
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For most of the last 10 years, coaching remuneration at clubs in many representative teams in our region has been in the vicinity of $500 per season, depending on qualification levels. Factor in all of the costs that come with coaching – petrol, time, the occasional prize or treat for the kids, uniform (if you have to buy it) – and there wouldn’t be much left at the end of the season. And that’s as experienced coaches at very financially stable clubs.
We also know of other representative clubs who are so desperate to secure enough coaches for all of their junior teams that they’re coughing up more than $1000 per season for novice coaches who are just starting out in the coaching caper.
On the flip side, there are also coaches who are receiving nothing (or close to it) for their efforts.
Meanwhile at State League level, we’ve heard of payments ranging anywhere from $1000 per season for an assistant coach, right up to $20,000 for a big-name head coach. Anecdotally, the average is probably somewhere around $3000-$4000.
And in Suncorp Super Netball, where the players are now better paid than ever before, there are whispers that the top-end coaches are nudging $150,000.
So should coaches at all levels receive payments? That depends on your outlook. $10,000 for coaching at a football-netball club might seem like a tidy sum for six months work, but compare it to what that same club’s head football coach is receiving and it’s probably a pittance.
There are commercial realities there, with football usually attracting more or larger sponsors etc, however netball’s growing popularity is worth consideration.
If you ask us (and we’re a little biased!) no coach should be left out of pocket at the end of a season. Even if that means simply covering a coach’s incidentals, like fruit, lollies or the occasional prize etc, it’s the least that could be done for someone who has likely committed anywhere between 50 and 100 hours to a team, on and off the court, over the course of a season.
And it’s not unreasonable for coaches to expect that the cost of any accreditation courses they undertake throughout the course of the year will be at least partially covered by their club. Think of it as an investment in your club’s players, as your coach will return with better knowledge and coaching skills that will be passed onto the team.
At representative level or above, coaches are ideally more experienced and should therefore be providing a standard of coaching that exceeds what players are likely receiving at their regular domestic game. Remunerating them accordingly is certainly something to consider.
If you’re a club deciding where to invest more money as you look to grow, investing it in your coaches through coaching courses and perhaps a little extra on the side could deliver some good bang for your buck.